It Takes a Village

Photo Credit: Lance Felton in rehearsals. Special thanks for Today’s Church Tampa Bay for rehearsal space!

As our second week of rehearsals has finished, I found myself fairly exhausted…mentally, that is.

For those who don’t know, my day job is also in the arts. I am the Associate Artistic Producer at American Stage Theatre Company. The theatre, now in it’s 45th season has continued to be an artistic anchor in St. Pete, Pinellas and Greater Tampa Bay. In my capacity as Associate Artistic Producer, I am responsible for Casting and Auditions for all of our production, overseeing our New Play Development programming and  essentially the second lead when it comes to artistically leading the organization.

During this process, I found myself yearning for the collective collaboration and resources that come from having a fully production team. Now, do I know artists to collaborate with? Absolutely! What it comes down to is simple: fair compensation. With my grant funding being limited, I’ve been strategic about my financial resources and how I can bolster them to ensure a quality production. I found myself pulling on skills, that I figured I’d never use again during my college and apprentice years. There I was in my prep for rehearsals and post rehearsal, researching information as a dramaturg, pulling audio as a sound designer, considering wardrobe as a costume designer…they are all skills I appreciate on others, but with me executing them I found myself chatting with my inner saboteaur. The iconic RuPaul, uses this term to describe that inner voice, sometimes small or big and booming, but always nagging and causing us to second guess and question: Do you see me, do you hear me…does my story matter?

Luckily, my artist energy is greater than my moments of self doubt and I’m pushing ahead, but it has me continuing to think about the artistic hurdles and mental challenges we navigate through the process and what resources are out there for us to thrive and push through? Who knows…maybe this process will reveal that very answer to me soon enough.

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