Be Bold and Resolute, Y’all

Last Wednesday, I hopped a little bitty plane with very tight seating from Grand Island, Nebraska to Dallas, Texas for the Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA) conference, where the theme was “Be Bold and Resolute, Y’all.”

Between the travel, the performances, and the three days of learning and conversation, I have so many thoughts kicking around in my brain.

Where do I focus first?
The exhausting nature of four days of extroversion?
The travel experience itself?
All the inspiration and aspiration stirring around in my head for the future of my/our work?
There’s just so much.

Let’s begin with generosity.
That’s a good place to begin, I think.

Over 70 Shakespeare companies from all around the country and across the world were represented at STA 2020. Some of these companies have a budget of $50,000/year and some have budgets over $2million/year. Some have 1-2 person staffs and some have large full-time staffs. Some have no building of their own, rent space, and offer their work free in public parks. Some have 20 million dollar facilities modeled after Shakespeare’s Globe. Some companies serve communities of 200,000 and some serve communities in the millions (NYC, Chicago, San Francisco…).

I was filled with aspiration and anxiety. It was overwhelming.

However, to a person, whether from an enormous long-standing company or a small, growing company, every conversation I had was blanketed with generosity.
Without a doubt, I know that I can contact anyone from STA and ask for help, advice, guidance.
They shared where they’ve been, how they’ve overcome and are overcoming challenges, where they want to go and how they think they’ll get there.
To a person–the generosity flowed.

Though I wish I had been more bold and approached even more people, I am leaving STA inspired by their work and aspiring to the work I want to do, to where I want to take our company.

Though I wish I had been more resolute, I was able to ask questions and got answers. I was able to walk up to these MASSIVELY successful directors and artists and ask them “How did you do that?”, and they would tell me.

We will find a way for Flatwater to be represented at STA every year. That’s goal number one coming out of this experience. The expertise and generosity of spirit is far too valuable to miss out on.

And, with one conference under my belt, the next experience will allow me to be MORE bold and resolute.

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