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 Notes from the last Community Theater Round Table
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Posted - 18 May 2001 :  3:26:32 PM  Show Profile
Community Theater Round Table
Meeting of April 29, 2001
Held at Theater Under the Stars
Subject: Volunteerism
Submitted by Leslie Potashner.

Attending: Elissa Strell (Moderator), Tommy Donaldson, Shariann Quirk and Leslie Potashner of Theater Under the Stars, Jeff Knapp of the Barn, Jeff Dworkin unaffiliated, Linda Gerdes of Iron Mountain, and James Curran of NJTheater.Com.

Community Development was the major theme running through the meeting. How do we get people into the theater, get them to fill needed jobs and keep them happy? Ideas came from various categories:

∑ Train someone to do your job as you are doing it.
∑ Keep a record of how to do your job so that someone else can pick it up.
∑ On work nights, let someone be a task manager so help does not get overlooked. He can have a list of every job that needs to be done at his fingertips.
∑ Make job lists with estimated time commitments.

Social Aspects:
∑ Make the theater a place where people feel they can just stop by.
o Keep an active Web Calendar so people can see when people are there working and rehearsing.
o Make it someoneís job to help keep the social atmosphere.
∑ Hold quarterly get-togethers.
∑ New volunteers need a personal touch from a member.
o Follow up on a new volunteer with phone calls by various different members. They will then feel like they know a number of people from the company. Perhaps a Volunteer Coordinator will call to follow up. Then a Stage Manager could call for work. A Managing director could call to see how their experience was.
o Make a fuss over a new volunteer.

∑ Emailing volunteers.
o Emailing is a quick and easy way to contact large groups of people. Getting the crew doesnít become the job.
o There was concern that a chasm was forming between the people who had email and didnít.
o Email doesnít always get checked and volunteers get overlooked.
∑ Mailing Lists
o Internal: Ask people on audition sheets if they would like to work. Check who on the list is not working and follow up.
o External: Newsletters to the subscribers and to people who request them. Interesting information and maybe a little gossip to keep people interested in reading it.

Audience Recruitment
∑ Have staff wear nametags at all events so audience members learn who does what at the theater. They will know whom to contact if they want to get involved.
∑ Curtain Speeches
o Let people know what is going on at the theater.
o Makes the theater personal.
∑ Special Audience Events
o An Afternoon with the casts after matinees to discuss the show.
o An Evening with tech people to discuss the workings backstage.
∑ Sign-up forms in the lobby.
o Follow up with a phone call to qualify the lead. You will know right away how dedicated they are.
∑ Schools
o Internships
o Public service requirements.

Ideas for the next Community Round Table were publicity and operations.

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