I recently had the opportunity to visit Cedar City, Utah -- my second favorite city in the US of A. The inspiration for Shakespeare in Detroit was the Utah Shakespeare Festival -- some of you who have followed our journey may already know this. I met some of the most genuine, incredibly talented people in the theatre business. And to make the trip that much sweeter, I was able to attend the inaugural conference for a wonderful organization for women in theatre by the name of Statera. I was able to sit in a room for two days with dozens of women that I respect and admire and tell them exactly what was on my mind and in my heart. It was freeing for me because I don't really get that opportunity here at home. Typically, I am answering a bunch of questions or requests, which is awesome. It's nice to be asked but sometimes you want to just be. The only request I got in Utah was to be myself and let go (let go of what? Well you had to be there :-)) . And that is exactly what I did. If you are a woman in theatre, I highly suggest you look into this organization and follow them on every social channel they have. Then spread the word to other women in theatre. We need each other.
Check out this snippet from the conference via my friends at The Shakespeare Standard:
I also had the chance to go to Miami, drink a few margaritas, take a few naps on the beach, play in the water and just chill with one of my best friends. I needed that because I hadn't taken a vacation since I started Shakespeare in Detroit.
I feel refreshed and ready to move forward with the next season. I'm excited again.
Shakespeare in Detroit is celebrating its second year this month and I feel truly grateful to every actor and artist and audience member who has shared this journey with us. Seven shows in two years is not easy but we have been able to do it with grace and authenticity because I think that, for the most part, all of us believe in the mission of the organization and what it means to Detroit. We are all very excited about the possibilities.
|Photo credit: Talented Ladies Club|
I promised myself that I wouldn't work too much in August. I am recuperating from a small procedure and just enjoying some me time. I have been able to do some traveling, enjoy my friends, partake of some good wine, open my mind and heart to dating again, read a few books and reflect on all of the beautiful blessings that have happened to me and for those around me. I feel so filled with love and my creative cognitions are flowing again and I am super excited to bring Julius Caesar and Merchant of Venice to life in 2016. We'll also have a few cool surprises in store -- hopefully, experiences that are unique here in Detroit. I always want to think ahead and, hopefully, inspire thought and stir excitement in the ether here in my hometown.
I've learned so much the past two years about theatre, about Detroit and about myself. I've made a lot of mistakes and made some really awesome choices as well. I have learned from both. I can share three very important things that I learned that I believe might help anyone who is reading this and trying to start a business -- of any kind.
1. Passion for the mission trumps everything. I am not saying that talent doesn't matter. OF COURSE, talent matters. What I am saying is that you have to surround yourself with people who can see beyond the immediate product or show or experience. You want to surround yourself with passionate folks who are visionaries and can see the benefit of whatever you are producing and how it can impact others in a long-term and meaningful way.
2. Get used to descent. It usually means you are doing something right (one of the pointers I got from Statera). Everyone isn't going to agree with you all the time and that is fine. It's a good thing. Know who you are and what your business stands for. Keep your mission close to your heart and on top of mind. Listen to everyone, but at the end of the day remember those who are impacted the most by your work. In my case, it is the kids, and adults, who are from neighborhoods like mine that come to our free summer shows and who otherwise wouldn't engage with Shakespeare.
3. Quality > Quantity. When I first started I just wanted to produce as much good work as possible. I am more interested, as we go into our third season, in producing great work, high-quality productions. That's the goal. Quality brings longevity.
But more than anything, if you are my theatre brethren out there or my sisters in theatre (or just a human, navigating your way in the world), remember (and I am telling you this because I learned the hard way) that you can't take care of anyone if you don't take care of yourself first.
Getting offline now to plan my trip to Saugatuck, Mich. with my other best friend.
Enjoy the rest of your summer, friends. I'll talk to you in September. xo