CONTEXT: Developing a Perspective
Theatre administrators face difficulties every day. At any given time, typical challenges are blended with tremendous problems arising from external situations and ensuing responses. Together these challenges and problems have produced complexities unprecedented in recent times. What happens from here is all but impossible to predict. We have come to learn that the facts do not always speak for themselves and information presented may or may not be complete, accurate, or current. How long present realities will last and with what intensity remains unknown. Whether today’s realities will be replaced by tomorrow’s uncertainties remains unknown. And therefore, we find ourselves in uncharted waters. However, we do hope and believe that current realities will not last indefinitely, and that our individual and collective efforts and work can and will lead us through these challenging times.
Current and associated realities produce at least one instructive conclusion – for the most part, challenges and problems being faced by local institutions, schools, and programs cannot be addressed by a single national answer. Local situations may share commonalities and mutual concerns with others, but without question, detailed decision-making at the local level is an individual undertaking and must be aligned with and customized to local conditions. More than ever, the way forward for each institution and program involves careful information gathering, thoughtful consideration, prudent planning, and calculated action – all built on thorough knowledge of one’s own situation – a foundation of patience, a readiness to be flexible, and faith in the eventual arrival of greater contextual stability than we are experiencing today. It may be helpful and comforting to recall historical challenges faced and surmounted by predecessors at your institution. They too managed and weathered unpredictable storms.
It remains imperative that we, as individual theatre administrators and collectively as a field, not only recall and recommit to our institutional and shared visions, but continue rallying our wills, our efforts, the resources necessary and available to sustain our work, and our efforts to address the complex and challenging issues we face each day.
The ideas, information, and tools offered herein are provided to assist theatre administrators in individual institutions to reach conclusions and make decisions given local and existing realities and resources available, and in doing so, to assist each institution to advance its initiatives and those of the field, particularly as this work is shadowed by the current national crisis. Definitive and specific information is offered within these pages as it pertains to the responsibilities of NAST accredited institutional members, particularly to NAST protocols, procedures, and the application of standards – and the flexibilities inherent in each. With respect to the current national crisis, there is no attempt or intention on the part of NAST to suggest an answer, a particular methodology, a way through, or a solution. It remains imperative that theatre administrators consider the challenges faced by their own institutions, review information pertinent to these challenges, gather and order ideas as they pertain to and align with institutional mission and initiatives, and embark upon decision-making processes that address current and unfolding institution-specific circumstances. Although the outcome of institutional activity may result in the creation and implementation of policies, processes, and/or procedures, the process of discovery which results in such conclusions as guided by strategic thinking and planning remains of paramount importance as the results may assist institutions not only to address immediate and short-term issues, but as well, lay a solid foundation for future initiatives.
Please note: Information will be added to this page as it becomes available. We ask please that you return to the page with regularity and remain abreast of its contents.