Minutes of March ExCom Conference Call on March 1, 2016
Prepared by Barbara Bannon, ATCA Secretary
Bill Hirschman called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. EST. The following Ex-Com members were present: Charles Giuliano, Lou Harry, Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Wendy Rosenfield, Ed Rubin, and Martha Steketee. Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary; Jay Handelman, ATCA Foundation president; and Mark Lowry, ATCA treasurer, were also present. Jonathan Abarbanel and Erin Keane were absent.
Barbara had sent the minutes from the previous conference call by e-mail. Ed Rubin made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to accept the minutes. The motion passed unanimously.
Barbara made a report on the Primus Prize. Sharyn Rothstein, this year’s winner, is planning on coming to Philadelphia to accept her award if she can arrange it with her rehearsal schedule at the McCarter Theatre. The call for applications for the 2016 award has been posted on the website, and the press release has been circulated. The deadline date is April 30. The committee will be the same as last year with the addition of Michael Howley, who was formerly a committee member but had to drop out last year because of his health. Charles suggested that we might want to include the press release in an e-blast so that members can help publicize the award information and deadline, and Barbara said she would pull the press release off the website and forward it to Bill so that he can send it out.
Lou reported on the New Plays Committee. The 19 committee members have selected the six finalists for this year’s Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. The voting was incredibly close this year so it will be interesting to see which three emerge as the final winners. Lou hopes to be able to contact the winners by the end of the week. The six finalists are Bloomsday by Steven Dietz, Clarkston by Samuel D. Hunter, The Dangerous House of Pretty M’Bane by Jen Silverman, Mississippi Goddamn by Jonathan Norton, Sweat by Lynn Nottage, and Vietgone by Qui Nguyen. There are also six possibilities for the Osborn Award.
Bill reported on Foundation ATCA. The foundation raised $4,500 last year, topping the previous year by $1,500. The annual meeting will be held during the conference in Philadelphia. Board members should let Jay know if they will be able to attend the meeting.
Mark made the treasurer’s report. ATCA currently has $28,891.13, a combination of $10,851.01 in the PayPal account and $18,040.12 in the bank. Bill said we need to have a budget for 2016; the board can adopt one at the Philadelphia conference. Last year we finalized the 2015 budget at the New Orleans conference. The budget last year was based on income of $17,500. Bill said committee chairs should think about how much money they need for their budgets. He will send the budget information to the Ex-Com, and everyone should look at the figures. He wants to start membership recruitment this summer, which should bring in more income.
Brad reported on the Professional Development Committee. Misha Berson is preparing a request for funding for an ATCA regional critics’ workshop in Seattle. The workshop will team up new critics with more experienced ones, who will act as mentors. The University of Washington’s School of Drama will host the workshop. The panel videos shot at the New York mini meeting are beginning to be posted on the website, and the quality is good. We need to let everyone know that they are there and how to find them. Professional Development will have a presentation at the Philadelphia conference. The middle panel slot at 2:45 on Friday will feature Doug Reside, the curator of the Billy Rose Theatre Division at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. He will describe the theater resources available and how to find and use them. Brad asked if ATCA could reimburse Reside for his travel expenses to come to the conference; round-trip fare on Amtrak from New York will cost a little more than $100. Brad made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to authorize ATCA to cover the travel expenses. The motion passed unanimously.
Bill made a report on upcoming conferences. Robert Sokol has agreed to chair the San Francisco conference. He has good contacts and experience to head the committee and is going to recruit others to help him. The board members should suggest people they think would be good. We also need to decide when we want to hold the conference. Robert said he will start investigating the schedule of theaters in the area and build the conference around an interesting selection of plays.
Bill then reported on the Philadelphia conference. There are 75 people registered for the conference so far; the deadline date for receiving the group rate at the hotel is March 11. Ten of those coming are new members, so the foundation will underwrite their registration fees. What methods can we use to entice more members to attend conferences? Also we need to find ways to publicize ATCA more and make the organization better known. There was discussion about opening up the panels so that the public can attend them. Ed suggested circulating a flyer to area schools so that students can attend one or more panels. We should also allow other interested people to attend and charge them a day fee.
Do we want to video the panels in Philadelphia the way we did in New York? We got a great deal in New York; is it possible to find someone in Philadelphia who is reasonable and can do a good job? We should be able to get the videos up more quickly on the website so that people will know about them and be interested in participating in conferences. Charles also suggested putting some teasers on YouTube; that may get people interested in the organization. We should try to video the panels and the Perspectives in Criticism presentation; we already have a text archive of Perspectives speeches on the website.
Mark would like to step down as treasurer, and Brad’s wife, Teddie, is interested in taking over the job. She has an MBA and has been treasurer of several organizations; she has also worked as a financial officer. The treasurer does not necessarily have to be a member, and the job requires special skills. In return for her work, Teddie would like ATCA to cover her travel expenses to attend conferences. Ed Rubin made a motion, seconded by Charles Giuliano, to appoint Teddie as treasurer. The motion passed unanimously with Brad abstaining from the vote.
Bill reviewed the vacancies for the board that have to be filled in Philadelphia. Charles and Bill are running for reelection. Jonathan is cycling off, and we need to fill Erin’s slot for her final year on the board since she is resigning. Several people have expressed interest in running for the board: Mark Lowry, Michael Howley, Susan Cohn, Kerry Reid, David Ritchey, and Roy Berko. Should we circulate their names in an e-blast ahead of time? We don’t want it to appear as if we are campaigning for specific people. We should do an e-blast soliciting interest in running for the board. We have to have a physical election in Philadelphia since we cannot do electronic voting until the bylaws are amended. Jay mentioned that this will be good preparation for electronic voting.
Do we need to print a new membership brochure? Several people have asked for something to give prospective new members when they are telling them about ATCA. We should have something either printed or electronically available on the website. The application form is on the website, but it would be helpful to have something in addition; perhaps we could just have some information on a business card to hand people.
Bill reported on the International Committee. We need to select a couple of delegates to attend the IATC meeting in Belgrade. Jeffrey will go to represent ATCA, but Bill will not be able to attend, so we need to pick two people. Several people have expressed an interest in going: Brad Hathaway, Marie Kilker, Misha Berson, Michael Howley, and Glenda Frank. It is important to send delegates since we are founding members of IATC and have always been part of the Ex-Com; Jeffrey is an officer currently. After a vote, Marie Kilker and Michael Howley were selected to go and represent ATCA.
Leslie has been doing a lot of work on the website. If you have suggestions that relate to the website, send them to her.
Russell Warne has agreed to be the election manager. We need to develop some procedures for electronic voting.
Bill sent a copy of the proposed bylaw changes to the board; people need to respond to him within the next couple of days if they have suggestions. Then Bill will send out the changes to the entire membership so that they can review them before the Philadelphia conference. He will try and do that by the end of February.
The Ex-Com needs to decide what to do about the code of conduct/ethics code in Philadelphia. We also need to decide about the location for upcoming mini meetings. There are a couple of possibilities:
- Spring Glen, Wisconsin—this would have to be in the summer;
- Jay has suggested the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, held each year in July.
It is probably not necessary to have another conference call before Philadelphia; we can do the preconference work by e-mail.
The business being concluded, Charles Giuliano made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to adjourn the meeting. The motion passed unanimously, and the meeting ended at 3:10 EST.