Skip to content

Burgundy’s Blog – Professional Development Edition 

Near the end of June, I attended the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) Conference in Chicago thanks to a scholarship from the Illinois Arts Council. TCG supports nonprofit theatres all over the country to communicate and collaborate to further the art form. Through presentations and networking events, I had the chance to learn from and meet experts in the field and geek out about our shared passion for the performing arts. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend, and I wanted to share a few of my takeaways.  

Takeaway 1: A sense of renewal Events like this allow me to step back, take a 20,000-foot view, and ask big questions. They give me a chance to think more strategically about the organization away from the demands of the day-to-day.  

In one keynote address, we heard from Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, the current chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. She spoke so eloquently about the power of our work, and she and so many others offered so much inspiration. I also saw several beautiful theatre spaces around Chicago (and even saw SIX the Musical at the Nederlander). And I have to admit, it was incredibly energizing to be able to brag about our work to other passionate theatre professionals. 

I am incredibly proud of our journey and believe our future is bright. Which leads me to… 

Takeaway 2: The future of American Theatre – This was a significant area of focus for the conference this year. It’s a promise that I was a little skeptical of going in. How can a group of professionals figure out the future of an ever-evolving industry over three days? Spoiler alert: we didn’t, not exactly. But we did figure out a lot. 

The industry is constantly changing and facing new challenges every day. At QCT, we contend with rising prices of literally everything, the constant need to recruit new volunteers and audiences, capacity limitations, and the desire to create a positive working environment for staff and volunteers. All of this, while keeping our product accessible to all. Our challenges are not unique.  

QCT’s current strategic plan covers 2022-2024. It has been invaluable in guiding us through our post-pandemic return to “normal,” but it is quickly coming to an end. As we start to think and have big-picture conversations to create another three-year plan, we are all asked where we want QCT to be by 2027. (And just as importantly, where do we want it to be in another 15 or 50 years, and what do we need to do now to get there?)  

Side note: We want you to be a part of that strategic planning conversation, but more information on that another day…. 

As we look ahead, we (and many other theatres) are finding that more and more the old playbook doesn’t work, at least not as effectively as it could. We have to be open to looking at things differently and finding creative solutions. I’m not suggesting change for the sake of change but instead giving ourselves the freedom to leave behind the things that no longer serve us.  

QCT has a long history of already doing this. As you look through the past 100 years, we have evolved to meet the needs of our community time and time again. And we continue to do so as we think about our budget and season for 2025. Things may look a little different. We are creative people who think outside the box every day to make magic happen on our stage. Theatre is many things, including an exercise in making it work. We are not just a fair-weather friend. We live by the adage, “The show must go on.”  That mentality has carried over into all facets of the organization. We continue to find a way. And I believe that QCT is especially uniquely placed for this because… 

Takeaway 3: Community is everything – The professionals I talked to were amazed to hear about QCT. It’s easy to forget how unique our organization is. Most of the theatres at the conference were in large urban areas with multiple entertainment and education options. The League of Chicago Theatres serves more than 200 organizations in the Chicagoland area alone. To have a theatre of our size, scope, and quality offering such a wide variety of programming is very uncommon. To have that theatre in a community our size and location (relative to major urban areas) is unheard of. And the fact that we engage the community both onstage and off, well… it just doesn’t exist quite like this anywhere else. It is the commitment of our community that sets us apart. 

A quote from the article announcing the formation of QCT in 1923 continues to be top of mind: “Realizing that Quincy is in no way inferior to other cities in its dramatic talent the idea of joining the Little Theater movement to produce plays of the highest standard has been met with much enthusiasm.” – Quincy Whig-Journal, Sunday, September 9, 1923 

In some ways, it has become a guiding light for me in this role. QCT was founded on the mentality that Quincy deserves this kind of art, and we will make it happen regardless of limitations. With that in mind, we cast a wide net to meet a lot of different needs for our community.  

QCT was my first experience with live theatre. I likely would not have been exposed to the arts if this organization hadn’t existed, certainly not at the quality and frequency that QCT offers. 

Our work is for you and possible because of you. Our staff and board cannot do it alone. You are also not just a fair-weather friend. You show up and make it happen. You help set us apart. And I am so incredibly humbled and grateful for that. I am grateful for the conference for giving me the chance to reflect on that. 

Thank you to TCG for creating the space for important conversations and IAC for granting funding so I could attend. And thank you, for making our work possible every day. 

Connect with us

Follow us on social media to stay up to date on all the new things we’ve been up to! Get a full detailed newsletter by signing up today!

Shop Our Amazon Wishlist

Support Quincy Community Theatre by shopping our Amazon Wish List and getting us the office and backstage supplies we need.

Shop Amazon