Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007 - 3:48 p.m.

Doing Something You Love

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Operating a community theatre is hard work.  Operating a community theater back in production after a two year hiatus, trying to increase an audience base, performer/director/volunteer base, trying to increase overall resources all on a very limited budget is even harder work.  You rely so heavily on the goodness of others to give of themselves, their time, and even the contents of their wallets that at times it seems like an uphill battle with no success in sight.  Word of mouth advertising, promotion and marketing, mass emailing, posts on forums, all used to get the word out about your upcoming productions, auditions and requests for financial assistance and underwriting.  Then there are those who are seemingly tireless volunteers who at times seem to single-handedly keep the organization running.  There are issues related to keeping those who perform, direct, run tech and other production duties happy.  Are we a theater that is easy to work with?   Do we have adequate resources?  Do we have a decent space to rehearse and perform?  Are board members easily accessible and responsive to the needs of each and every production?  Once someone works with us, will they want to do so in the future?  And in a nutshell, do we suck?  Today I am dealing with three major issues:  coordination of our first annual variety show and silent auction fund raiser, a four page letter of constructive criticisms from the director of our most recent production (most of the issues he raised are just a matter of us being "reborn" as it were and are organizational in nature and symptomatic of getting our theater back on its feet after two years), and the resignation of an extremely valuable board member.  

As the president of the board I am responsible for administrative and organizational aspects of our venture, which includes dealing with PR and image concerns.  Its allot of work, its difficult work, it can be very stressful at times, but in the end, it is very rewarding.  I take my duties very seriously as the image of UpStage Theatre in the Houston theater community is extremely important to me.  Are we the "best funded" theater in the city?  Certainly not.  Are we the most organized and efficiently run theater in the city?  Of course not.  We don't even have our own building and must rent a shared space with another performing group. Nor do we have that same space to rehearse in.  But what we DO offer is inclusiveness and open arms to all in the Houston theater community, a wonderful space to perform in, a sincere desire that all who work with us will want to again in the future, and a burning passion to perform and ensure that any experience with UpStage is positive and enjoyable for all involved, from the actors to the audience.  We pride ourselves on being audience and patron accessible.  We are even known to let those who are unable to pay come on in to see the show.  All WE ask is that you either pay us later, make a donation, or volunteer.  We want everyone who walks in our doors, to walk back out with a smile on their face and the intention of returning.

Song Virus du Jour: Guaranteed to put a smile on your face, I present to you "Manamana" as performed by The Muppets on the first episode of "The Muppet Show."


Useless Trivia du Jour:  Today is my wedding anniversary and I have been married for nine sometimes so, and sometimes not so wonderful years. But I love my husband utterly, and they have gone by very quickly.  I remember when I got married thinking that I couldn't wait for my tenth anniversary so we could have a vow renewal ceremony, and I still feel that way.  Interesting to note, Tarik and I met when we were 18-19 (20 years ago).  We are now both 38 and have known each other more than half of our lives.

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