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You mean it’s not 2018 yet?
Here at QCT, it can be very difficult to remember what year we are in. When January hits, we start the planning for the following year. By the time January comes around again, it’s hard to believe that we haven’t even started the shows that we had been living with for a year!
One of my top duties as QCT’s Artistic Director is to select the slate of shows for the Main Stage season, and I’d like to share with you how that process is accomplished. Thankfully, I don’t do it alone. We have the play reading committee. First I select a chairperson, and together we select committee members that we think reflect of our clientele: young, old; male, female; conservative, non-conservative; volunteer, audience member.
The committee usually meets for the first time when the first production of the year is in rehearsals. The committee members typically don’t know each other; therefore, we begin with a round of introductions. Then I proceed to ask the committee the following questions:
The answers to these questions help me understand our audiences and volunteers and direct the show selection process. Our shows should be FOR the community. What will excite them, what will make them laugh, what will make them think, what will be relevant?
Once we understand for whom we are selecting the shows, we begin to read….and read…. and read….
I break down the season into genres that we need to fill. They could include a contemporary musical, a classic musical, a comedy, a drama, a mystery, etc. I suggest titles and then we read the scripts. We usually read three scripts between meetings. Everyone reads the same three scripts, and then at our next meeting, we discuss them. It’s like Oprah’s book club! We encourage everyone to share his/her opinion, regardless of what the others say. When we go around the table, asking for opinions, you might hear this: Loved it, loved it, loved it, hated it, loved it, loved it, I’m with you I hated it, loved it.
It’s fascinating. Every taste is different. Once in a blue moon we read a script that is unanimously loved by the committee. (The title of that particular script for 2018 will surprise you. Ask me after the season announcement which one the committee unanimously loved.)
We read many options, then ultimately, I need to make the final decision. It’s about balance. Do we have something challenging, something new, something classic, something funny? We know we won’t please everyone. It’s impossible, as the world is filled with many different people who like different things (thank goodness). We can’t guarantee that you will like every show that we do, but what we will guarantee is that every show was selected with care and consideration and will be presented with great artistic integrity.
I hope that this month’s Thomsen Talk gave you insight into the process. You are always welcome to ask to sit on the committee or to suggest a show…. but wait till January.
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