Systems new and old
** Edits have been made to reflect the current Artistic Director **
Some Updates, some new News and some old News you may not have known!
One of the strange upsides to big internal changes – like bringing our new Artistic Director on board and up to speed – is having to explain our systems and what they’re meant to do.
It gives us a rare chance to stop and look at many of the systems we’ve put in place over the years, take a really good look at how we do things and ask ourselves if they still make sense or if there’s a better way to handle show proposals, communicating with artists, the flow of information to producers and more.
We also uncovered some areas where we’ve put systems and internal policies in place that aren’t flashy or newsworthy on their own, but artists (or other theater companies – some of whom ask to use our policies as a template) might like to know about!
One of the most immediate changes is whom to contact about things!
THEN: Butch had been a frequent point of contact for artistic matters only because he is one of the only full time staff and is always online to field questions more quickly.
NOW: Becky is the person to contact about all artistic matters – show proposal questions, auditions, ideas you would like to discuss, changes to your show proposal or upcoming run of shows – Basically, if it appears on stage or is part of getting your idea ready for the stage : Becky.
Butch will still head up logistics questions and production support – things that require revisions to the website, about staffing or technical needs for your shows – Basically, the building, staff, website, ticketing system or all the invisible bits of production support would go to Butch.
If you’re still not sure where to send your question, idea, concern, etc – please feel free to email both Becky and Butch and we can help!
Always feel free to ask
Becky@hugetheater.com – and / or – Butch@hugetheater.com
Show Proposal changes
The Show Proposal system has changed!
THEN: The show proposal form stayed open at all times to capture the fully-formed pitches for productions looking for a stage, crazy new ideas that might need some help to bring to life and everything between – which created a constant backlog and left lots of people waiting and we sometimes ended up following up on ideas that people had moved on from, forgotten about or from groups that no longer existed.
NOW: The form will open twice per year to cover the upcoming “season” with enough time to get shows booked and confirmed, schedule auditions (if needed) and make sure artists and HUGE have enough time to properly promote upcoming shows
Every proposal will get a confirmation email from Becky and the seasonal schedules will be posted when they are booked and confirmed – shows will need to re-submit each season they would like to be considered, which will give HUGE a clear idea of which shows are active and ready for the season ahead and give producers and artists a clear, timely answer so they aren’t left waiting on HUGE when they could be looking at other venues or opportunities.
:: One system that we’ve had in place for years is designed to manage conflicts of interest and avoid nepotism in our pipeline process, being an artist-led company we knew this would be an issue early on – which is why no member of the HUGE management is allowed to book their own groups or shows for our stage. Those productions must be approved independently by another member of the management team.
This policy remains in place and extends to shows by/featuring any performer currently or previously in a relationship with HUGE staff – to make sure our process is serving our community with an even hand as well as protect artists by preventing anyone from being able to extend or withhold consideration inappropriately ::
Info to/from producers and casts
This is an area that many people may not know about as well as something we’re working to expand – As part of our efforts to make sure we’re hearing from the artists we serve about their experiences at HUGE, we’ve had a policy of asking for feedback from shows.
:: we ALWAYS encourage everyone to reach out and contact us if there is a concern, question or something that just doesn’t feel right – please – at any time, using whichever channel you feel most comfortable using ::
THEN: After the close of a show, Breanna would send a Google Form to the director/producer/point of contact for the show and/or Facebook group about the run of the show – those answers would be collected and shared with the Artistic Director and Executive Director and show directors.
NOW: We now ask for names and emails for all cast members so we can send the feedback form directly to cast and follow up directly if needed.
We’ve also added another round of feedback to HUGE productions (and are trying to find a good way to coordinate with outside productions as well) in an effort to hear concerns sooner so we can have conversations and make adjustments while the show is open rather than waiting until it is too late to hear about things that could’ve been addressed – that will be collected toward the end of the rehearsal process so we can hear about rehearsals and how the cast is feeling heading into opening of a run and then again at the close of the show.
All the feedback is seen by the Artistic Director and Executive Director – feedback that is meant for the Directors will be compiled and shared with them via email and/or in person to ask any follow up questions to help us all improve the process and experience of performing, producing, directing and being directed at HUGE.
Reporting from Directors: We’ve added language to make sure directors are letting HUGE know about issues within their casts, even if matters are discussed and handled to the satisfaction of everyone involved.
Every complaint from a cast member about another cast member, regardless of severity or outcome, must be documented with theater management.
We are looking for patterns of behavior across shows and over time.
Auditions and Casting
One of the most sensitive areas there is – also one we’ve quietly made some changes and put systems in place and continue to look at for ways to make the experience more welcoming, rewarding and transparent.
The biggest changes over the past years have been focused on inclusion. We have been making sure (as best we can based on scheduling needs) the auditioning groups are more diverse by making sure no one is ever “the only” in an audition group, i.e. the only female-identified performer in a group of men, or the only person of color with a group of white performers.
Likewise, the expansion of the audition panel to make sure we have a variety of eyes and ears and voices included in the process of casting – In addition to increasing representation among the decision-making in an audition process, we hope this increases the chances that an auditioner will see someone who looks like them “behind the table” in theater jargon.
We hope this representation means there will be someone in authority to help recognize and call out problematic situations that come up in audition scenes, in hopes of removing the burden from the auditioned.
:: Our conflict of interest policy explicitly covers auditions as well – not only are HUGE staff prohibited from making casting decisions about someone that is a conflict of interest (anyone in a current or previous romantic or business relationship), they will not be present for those auditions – this has been the case for some time and has worked invisibly and silently as audition rosters list conflicts and staff members remove themselves from the audition space for the duration without any action required from the person auditioning ::