December 18, 2020
NAST continues to monitor national events and remain cognizant of the challenges faced by its members, and the impact these events and challenges could, may, and will have on its ability to conduct the onsite aspects of its 2021 Annual Meeting slated to take place in St. Louis, Missouri during the fourth week in March of 2021.
Although substantial information has been released since the onset of the outbreak, some of which is assisting us to learn how to address and adapt to current realities, much remains unknown and uncertain at this time—such as the path the coronavirus will take during the coming winter months, the ongoing effects of the virus, resultant actions of federal and state governments such as imposed quarantines, the success of safety measures taken as they relate to national commerce, institutional operations including the availability of funding to support travel, institutional permissions that will allow representatives to attend the Annual Meeting, the disposition of each individual as it pertains to personal safety, and the like.
Therefore, and after careful and thorough consideration of all issues before the Association, the NAST Board of Directors voted to cancel the onsite aspects of the 2021 Annual Meeting of the National Association of Schools of Theatre, including all onsite professional development sessions, pre-meeting workshops, Board of Directors meetings, and Commission on Accreditation meetings scheduled to take place March 20–27 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch.
The depth of our collective disappointment cannot be measured. The NAST Annual Meeting is a critical aspect of the ongoing work of NAST. It provides an opportunity to stretch our intellectual curiosities, advance our art form, and develop and cultivate relationships and conversations vital to our work. The decision of the Board of Directors was reached after deep and careful deliberation, and with great attention to and respect for the health and well-being of each individual involved in the work of NAST.
Provisions found in the NAST Handbook enable the Association to conduct its business via electronic means. Therefore, NAST will conduct the business of the Membership, Board, and Commission through these means, maintaining as closely as possible the calendar of events planned for the March 2021 meeting. Please note that the NAST Commission on Accreditation will meet as scheduled March 20–24, 2021 and therefore all submission deadlines published by NAST as they pertain to Commission reviews in 2021 remain unchanged.
Continuing efforts begun shortly after the onset of the coronavirus, NAST will offer during the spring of 2021 topic- and accreditation-focused professional development sessions through electronic means. Information regarding sessions held in 2020 may be found on the NAST website. Planning is underway to present sessions focused on topics relevant to the membership as they pertain not only to the impact of COVID-19 on the academy and its work, but the importance of the education and training of students interested and enrolled in theatre study. In addition, several sessions with a focus on the accreditation responsibilities of member and potential member institutions will be offered. NAST will provide notice of all professional development sessions in the coming days.
Thank you for the patience you have extended during these challenging and uncertain times. Thank you also for your heroic efforts to advance the field under the most trying of circumstances.
The staff joins me in offering gratitude and good wishes for a peace-filled, restful, and healthy holiday season. As always, the staff of NAST welcomes any inquiries and stands ready to provide assistance to individuals and institutions.