Theatre is a profession requiring talent, knowledge, skill, and dedication. Employment depends almost entirely on demonstrated competence. Success is based primarily on work rather than on credentials. Experience tells us that theatre, though dependent on talent, inspiration, and creativity, requires much more to function as a significant spiritual and educational force. Talent without skills, inspiration without knowledge, and creativity without technique can account for little but lost potential.
The primary purpose of schools of theatre is to help individual students turn talent, inspiration, creativity, and dedication into significant potential for service to the development of theatre culture in its multiple dimensions. Therefore, the focus of NAST’s work is on issues of theatre content and educational substance as applied to the preparation and training of theatre professionals at the highest possible levels.
In order to assist educational institutions in fulfilling their responsibilities to students and the field of theatre, NAST is guided by the following values:
- Trust is critical to the success of the accreditation, institutional research, professional development, and policy analysis work of the Association. NAST does not promote personalities, careers, institutions, performing organizations, or otherwise engage in practices that would raise conflict of interest questions. Checks and balances are consciously developed and rigorously enforced.
- Service is at the core of NAST’s mission, goals, objectives, and attitudes. Service is directed toward various complex relationships among students, institutions and programs, the public, and theatre both as an art and as a profession.
- Autonomy balanced by mutual accountability is preferable to central control enforced by regulation. Peer governance and peer review are fundamental principles of NAST. The autonomy of institutions is a critical factor in educational excellence. Institutions volunteer to be mutually accountable under conditions that protect their autonomy.
- Common searches for wisdom provide the most effective bases for decision-making. NAST consults widely within and beyond its membership, and proceeds after careful analysis of multiple factors and ramifications.
- Results achieved and functions fulfilled indicate effectiveness more than the presence of means or the utilization of methods. NAST promotes creativity and individual approaches to artistic and educational decision-making; it does not promote particular artistic, educational, political, or management philosophies or methods. It judges resources in terms of results and not the reverse.
- Statements regarding scope of authority, operations, and decision-making must exhibit integrity, set reasonable limits, guide work, and promote the professionalism that engenders confidence. NAST embraces due process and a “laws not persons” approach to governance, policy development, and action.
- Excellence requires expertise sufficient to each task. Continuous development of competence in the Association and within member institutions is a primary goal.