2017.05.11 | ATCA Executive Committee Conference Call

2017.05.11 | ATCA Executive Committee Conference Call

ATCA Executive Committee Conference Call | May 11, 2017


Bill Hirschman called the meeting to order at 2:05 p.m. EDT.  All of the Ex-Com members were present: Susan Cohn, Charles Giuliano, Lou Harry, Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Kerry Reid, Wendy Rosenfield, Ed Rubin, and Martha Steketee. Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary; Teddie Hathaway, ATCA treasurer; Robert Sokol, ATCA operations manager; Jay Handelman, the ATCA Foundation president; and Anne Siegel, chair of the Membership Services Committee, were also present.

Barbara had distributed the minutes of the February Ex-Com teleconference call by e-mail before this meeting. Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, to approve the minutes. The motion passed unanimously.

Teddie Hathaway had already sent a report on finances.

There was discussion about the number of members ATCA has at this point. Anne Siegel thinks it is 250, but Brad Hathaway said that there are 233 paid members according to the Apricot database plus 6 emeritus members and 2 honorary members. Brad and Anne said they will try and reconcile those figures. We gave Lorraine Treanor an honorary membership a year ago; should we continue her membership as honorary or ask her to pay dues? Brad said she will be happy to pay for her membership, so Ed Rubin made a motion, seconded by Kerry Reid, to ask Lorraine to convert her honorary membership to an associate one. The motion passed unanimously. Anne said she will make sure that Lorraine knows about the change.

Bill said that membership renewal will be in July this year, instead of June, because of the San Francisco conference.

There was a discussion about printing a new member directory. Should we print a new one this year? Should we wait until next year and then print a new one? Should we do away with a printed directory and just list the members on the website? Anne is in favor of keeping the printed directory and doing a new one this year. She said that 30 people have joined ATCA since the last directory was printed. We are about to raise the dues, and the directory is a resource that members get for their money. It helps create community and is very useful. It’s also relatively low cost.

Brad suggested printing the names of the new members as an addenda to the present directory and sending them out. Anne said that does not solve the problem of dropping members who have left out of the directory. She also suggested having more phone numbers in the directory so that people will be easier to track down when they are at conferences.

Those opposed to having a printed directory pointed out that the website has a list of members along with their phone numbers. Photos could also be added to the website listings, and members could print a PDF out and make their own directory. The organization’s bylaws are also posted on the website. Robert suggested including a membership directory in the conference schedule each year. It would also make a useful marketing tool.

Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Lou Harry, not to print a new directory this year and to delay the decision on doing a printed directory in the future. The motion passed with one abstention. Bill said he will appoint an ad hoc committee to determine whether to continue printing directories.

Robert gave an update on the upcoming San Francisco conference. There are 83 people registered for the conference, including 19 guests and 10 new members attending their first conference. He is expecting about two additional registrations. The preliminary schedule for the conference will be available on May 15, and no one will be able to register after May 20. The deadline for material for the printed program is May 25. Highlights include an evening at the California Shakespeare Festival for a performance of “As You Like It” along with a day at the San Francisco Playhouse, where a panel entitled “The Play’s the Thing” will discuss the influence of critics on new work. The opening reception will take place on Thursday night. Everyone will not be seeing the same shows; there will be a signup process on a first-come, first-served basis. One of the shows on the schedule is Jen Silverman’s “The Roommate,” which was submitted for this year’s Primus Prize. There will be a full schedule of activities from Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon.

The Perspectives in Criticism presentation will be done a little differently this time. Karen D’Souza will moderate  a conversation between Lilly Janiak, the incoming critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, and Robert Hurwitt, her longtime predecessor. Bill commended Robert, Susan, and Brad for their work in putting the conference together.

Bill said we are still thinking of having the 2018 conference at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Jonathan Abarbanel, Anne Siegel, and Lindsay Christians are working on organizing that conference. It will take place in late July or early August when the highest number of plays are in rotation at the theaters. Bill said he will get information on American Players out to the membership so that members can vote on that conference in San Francisco. Anne said we can book all the rooms at the resort, which is called the House on the Rock. Every room is a suite, and it is located only two miles from the theaters. There are also B&Bs available. People have asked about taking a side trip to Ten Chimneys, as we have a couple of times in the past from Milwaukee. However, it is too far for a day trip during the conference; it would have to be scheduled either before or after. Transportation to Spring Green is still an issue that needs to be addressed. The theater schedule is heavy on Shakespeare and the classics under the stars, and there are no musicals. Possibilities for mini meetings are the Colorado New Play Summit in Denver, the Humana Festival in Louisville, or the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Bill has talked to Sherry Eaker and Jonathan Mandell in New York, and they are willing to organize another late fall or early winter meeting. Do we want to do that? Sherry said she can put the luncheon at Sardi’s together; she needs help organizing and scheduling the panels on Friday, which are focused on professional development. Martha said she will help with that, and other New York members can help.

Susan mentioned that the New York meeting is a different type of conference, and that needs to be made clear to members. Attendees are on their own to arrange hotels and shows. It would be nice to provide a list of shows and hotels that are available. Jay said the meeting just needs to be presented in the right way, and that should solve any problems with misunderstanding.

Another interesting idea is a midpoint mini conference in Chicago focused on critics who live in that area. We need to have further discussion about regional conferences. Lou mentioned that he and Rick Pender are working on putting together a one-day event in Cincinnati in the spring of 2018. It will consist of afternoon and evening shows and a couple of panels and will give 20 to 25 people a conference experience. Misha will report on her Seattle seminar for newer critics at the Foundation ATCA meeting in San Francisco; it can serve as a model for future seminars.

Bill mentioned that New York critics are having trouble getting press tickets to plays. Should we query the Broadway League about the best way to go about this? Perhaps we can get some guidelines from press agents and producers that can be posted on the website to help regional critics who are also hoping to get tickets. Martha suggested that people can perhaps share information on how to interact with press agents on the Members Only section of the website.

Anne said she thinks Dan Sullivan should be made an emeritus member of ATCA.

The business being concluded, the meeting ended at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Bill said additional business will be conducted by cyber meeting within the next couple of weeks.

Respectfully submitted by Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary.


The following motion was made and passed by e-mail.

On May 27, Lou Harry made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, that all expenditures made on behalf of ATCA exceeding $250 must be preapproved by an officer (chair, vice chair or treasurer) except for individual expenses of any amount that are part of a preapproved project or event budget. Any individual expenditures of more than $250 that have not been preapproved will not be reimbursed. The motion passed unanimously on May 29.

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