December 2021 Edition
• The State of Your Association

• Building the Professional Theatre Division in Illinois

• Entertainment Design & Technology Workforce Demographics Study

• What Drama Education Can Teach Your Child

• Sand SpringsVice Mayor Patty Dixon Receives State Arts Advocacy Award

• What My Time in Theatre Taught Me About Corporate Communication
The State of Your Association from the ITA President, Carmel DeStefano

Dear Members of our Theatre Community,

As another year comes to an end, I look back on our blessings and the obstacles we had to overcome during 2021. Although we in Illinois are still masked, we are not letting COVID keep us from meeting friends, going out to dinner, and attending LIVE THEATRE! Groovin’ in 60’s Shakespearean love, or cheering on a historic life or death dance competition, or dodging the craziness in a restaurant farce has transported me out of my isolation into the many worlds theatre creates. This heavenly feeling reminds me of the importance of the Illinois Theatre Association to advocate for all types of theatre and my role as president to make sure we fulfill our mission.

During this past year, the ITA Board has addressed many structural, financial, and social problems in the hopes of making the association leaner, but stronger. With the realization that centering the day-to-day business on the shoulders of one person was no longer workable, we hired a management company called Big Buzz Idea Group to fill that role. Over the past few months, our representative, Brad Ball, has converted all of the organization book keeping and our membership registration over to a company called Wild Apricot. This transition hasn’t been completely smooth, so please, if you’ve had a problem with member registration, contact me at president@illinoistheatre.org.

In an attempt to save money on an office space barely used for over two years, the Board decided to move out at the end of our lease by December 31st. I’d like to give an enthusiastic acknowledgement to Rick Arnold, for sharing his “mover” expertise and organizational skills to our relocation. Our financial and historical records have been organized and stored for easy access, and some of the furniture will be donated to those in need. Note: our new office address and phone number are listed at the bottom of this newsletter.

Although it seems like much has changed, our mission has stayed the same. We are dedicated to supporting and advocating for all-types of theatre across the state. The different divisions are busy planning workshops, seminars and/or performances. Events already scheduled are the Illinois High School Theatre Festival on January 6-8, 2022 at Illinois State University where we will celebrate "In the theatre, all are welcome," and "Take Ten, Playwriting and Performance Festival" in April sponsored by the Creative Drama & Theatre for Young Audiences Division. First session for the CD/TYA Festival will be on December 11th. If interested or have questions, contact Elisabeth Westphal creativedrama@illinoistheatre.org, or David Downing creativedrama2@illinoistheatre.org. Check our weekly Friday Finds for additional events sponsored by the Professional, Community, and College Theatre divisions.

After the long span of isolation, the ITA Board is instituting some policies to invite our membership to be more involved, especially our retired members. One of our first initiatives is to open our committees beyond the Board to include our members. Please, consider joining a committee that interests you. With the accessibility of Zoom, the few scheduled meetings will be easy to attend. I also invite our members to view our board meetings. The schedule will be posted in the Friday Finds.

This past year has brought struggles but also opportunities for change. May these obstacles make all of us stronger and more creative. Have a joyous holiday and a new year filled with LIVE THEATRE!

Take care and stay safe,

Carmel DeStefano
President, ITA Board of Directors
Building the Professional Theatre Division in Illinois
by Tracy Nunnally of the Illinois Theatre Association
ITA Professional Theatre Division Representative

Hello fellow members of the ITA. My name is Tracy Nunnally, and I represent the Professional Theatre members on the ITA Board of Directors. In brief, I am the Technical Director at the Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance and I also own Vertigo, a company that provides flying effects and a wide range of special rigging services to the entertainment industry.

I joined the ITA Board of Directors because I believe that the ITA can serve the professional theatre industry in Illinois while nurturing a strong relationship between the professional theatre community and the educational theatre community in our great state. As the structure of the ITA was recently rearranged, I find myself starting in this position without a blueprint of where to begin. Illinois has a vibrant theatre community and I know that the ITA has touched many aspects of that community over the years. As I begin to put together some ideas of where we can best target our resources this year, I would like to ask our members to share thoughts with me. I am looking for memories of events or activities that helped you along your path in your past, experiences that help bridge communities, ideas of programs or events you think would be beneficial, or even something that you think worked well in another state that would play well here. All input is welcome!

Please send your thoughts along to me at professionaltheatre@illinoistheatre.org. Be as descriptive as you like! I look forward to hearing from you!!

All my best.

Entertainment Design & Technology Workforce Demographics Study
from the USITT
Submitted by Steven House
ITA College Theatre Division Representative

USITT (Unites States Institute for Theatre Technology) has started to release the findings of a sweeping national study to better understand the
demographic makeup of the technical theatre workforce. This is the first study of its kind to
take an in-depth look at who is working in the entertainment design and technology industry.

It is being released in sections throughout 2021 and 2022. Looking at: the impact of COVID 19 on the industry, Gender, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation, Salaries, Disabilities, Age and Age by Role, as well as Race, Ethnicity, and National Origin in the Technical Theatre Industry. Please use this information as we reexamine theatre in the current day, changes we need to make and to see how current adjustments may or may not be working.
What Drama Education Can Teach Your Child
Submitted by David Downing
ITA Creative Drama/Theatre for Young Audiences Division Representative

Season's Greetings! As we enter this stressful time of the year, I thought it might be a good idea to share the following article. There are, no doubt, some days we say "I must be crazy - why am I doing this?" This article might remind us why what we do is so important. Feel free to share with parents and administration, too!
The Show Must Go On for Pec Playhouse Theatre
by Dylan Sroci of The WTVO Television

I first met a group from the Pec Playhouse Theatre in 2019 at the ITA Community Theatre Festival in Peoria. They were so excited to be there, enthusiastically participating in workshops and roundtable sessions, as well as presenting a mainstage production, Private Eyes, in competition. 
Like all community theatres, our friends from Pecatonica have faced numerous challenges. But as you’ll read in the article below, they’ve faced them with the same determination and dedication they’ve shown in bringing theatre to their community. After all, the show must go on! 
Sand SpringsVice Mayor Patty Dixon Receives State Arts Advocacy Award
by Sharon Bishop-Baldwin of The Sand Springs Leader
Submitted by Alka Sharma
ITA Community Theatre Division Representative

The Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education has honored Sand Springs Vice Mayor Patty Dixon with its Art Star Award for her arts advocacy work. The award honors a mayor who has demonstrated exemplary support for the arts in his or her community.
What My Time in Theatre Taught Me About Corporate Communication
by Monique Maley, of SmartBrief
Submitted by Deena Cassady
ITA Secondary School Theatre Division Representative

Have you ever had reluctant students in an Intro level theatre class? Maybe they didn't realize what the class would be about or maybe they weren't given a choice and HAD to take it. Often times students who don't necessarily want to perform do not see the value in theatre skills; they don't see yet how theatre skills transfer to so many other aspects of life. In the SmartBrief article, "What My Time in Theater Taught Me About Corporate Communication," Monique Maley explains the ways in which theatre has helped shape the kind of communicator she is in the workplace. As theatre educators we always make sure to take the time to make connections with our students and our casts; reading this article might open the door to help students make connections between theatre and the professional world. Perhaps reading this might spark some lesson plan ideas: Mock Interviews or Non-Verbal communication only for an entire class period? Maybe this article puts into words what we know to be true and would be beneficial to share with our non-theatre (muggle) parents or administrators. Enjoy!
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