SBMT Board Minutes
September 8, 2021
Board Members Present: Michael Hirsch, Doy Charnsupharindr, Barbara Heninger, Sharon Peng, Tipu Purkayastha, Steve Sammonds, Dan Singletary, Aly Suleman.
Not Present: Ed Hunter, Jennifer Maggio, Raiña Parks, Jay Steele.
Other members present: Sara Dean (ED), Jeffrey Henson (Facilities), Doug Hughes (Marketing)
Slide deck shared by Michael Hirsch
Marketing report from Doug Hughes
- Please note highlights of activities that Board can take, below. ?
Marketing report from Doug (see his report). Working on cross-promotional deals with other groups, including one with WVLO. Facebook and Youtube and Instagram accounts going up, bit by bit.
Facilities: Sets are all out to theater. Studio fine, cast moving into studio rehearsals.
CTO: Projectors still on backorder. Safety update postcards mailed to all who bought tickets before 8/9 with all vaccination and masking requirements. Legacy ticket sales dashboards resurrected. Training people to use Audience View for box office for SHOUT.
Scanners tested at Orchestra and Ice Cream. About 60-70% showed up.
Sales for SHOUT are coming in, but not as high as in past due to pandemic. People are cancelling some of the in-person tickets because they’re nervous about coming in.
Side note: Attendance for Live Theater overall is down. Sara: 76% return rate on subscriptions. But, will they come? Other theaters, like us, are having trouble selling tickets because people are nervous about participating in person. If it looks like we did not get enough ticket sales, we have the streaming rights and can stream the performance after the in-person shows.
Board Meetings: Discussed other alternatives for Board dates. Agreed that current date, second Wednesday of the month, okay.
Volunteer search: Deck crew and follow spot jobs filled for SHOUT. Ushers for first weekend of SHOUT filled. Looking for a backup for House Manager.
- Board members: find ways to help or encourage friends to help.
Board Retreat: Usually near the end of the calendar year. Agenda for this year suggestion: Look at what we do as a company, with a Post-COVID lens. What’s changed? How do we operate? What tasks need to be covered? Discuss our practices and see how to be more efficient in this new world. Share knowledge. Doy says his consulting services find their customers are discussing what they were doing differently than in the past. Suggests we talk about what we were able to achieve and incorporate going forward.
- Keep early December open for a potential in-person Board retreat.
- Orchestra and ice cream was very successful.
- Shout is coming along. Single tickets are not so great, however, due to COVID caution.
- Company in the design and casting phase. Hope to announce the cast by next week. Need to fill two more female understudies. Had more people turn down the offer than usual. Some of them turned it down due to long commutes.
- For On the Town, considering using tracks instead of live orchestra. Some concern about pushback from orchestra members. Consider having a ‘community discussion’ with the orchestra members about it. Could also split it where some of it is a recording, others are people.
- Updating chart of accounts with James (treasurer).
- Applied for NEA grant. Long shot. For eStudio and workshop staff member.
- Grant coaching class, took the first one, next on 9/15. Sara, Steve S, and Barbara attended.
- Grants received – see Sara’s slide in Michael’s deck.
Community, Inclusivity, & Accountability:
- Met, discussed casting director use. Maybe make the CIA chairs become the oversight personnel for casting?
- Concerned about equity in commuting – the people who declined Company did so because of long commutes. Is there something we need to do to help mitigate this, or is it just a COVID-based thing? Consider it during retreat.
- Use the film company method to send out offers but do not set anything “in stone” until all offers have been made and accepted. This is not typical for theater, so could cause mistrust in the company. Consider it for future?
- For new members, asked people to give their background in auditions, anonymously, so we can get better demographics.
- Suggest we translate and print show posters in small batches for targeted communities. Doug says he could do that now (would not change our cost) – so Sharon could provide Chinese, others different languages.
- Looking at co-productions with companies that serve other communities.
- Consider adding ASL to Company performances. Aly researched it; it may or may not be possible given the Company set design. Aly talked to someone about it:
- Need to communicate with the deaf community that this is happening. Relies on marketing.
- The ASL interpreters split the characters of the show between them, then they interact through interpretation. So they chairs, in audience line of sight, music stands and orchestra lights with scripts, they need to see the actors on stage.
- Got quoted amounts from two different ASL interpreters.
- Use the following logo to advertise:
- Will provide closed captioning for eStudio starting with Shout talkback.
Development and Fundraising: Met our goals for the latest drive. Meeting next week, September 17th for year-end campaign.
Organization and Development: Wrote up description of an Associate Manager, key part-time role to support ED. Developing succession plans for key personnel. Working on ED job description and compensation update.
- Board Members should help get the word out for the Associate Manager job, once Sara has posted it.
Vision & Planning: Did not meet since last Board meeting. Upcoming tasks: Continue planning 2022/23 season. 60th Anniversary is the “diamond” anniversary. What other themes? Dreaming?
eStudio: Only one event this month. 25 attendees.
Discussion for new Board members:
Sara gave some information about the history of the group (slides 9 & 10). Noted that finances are doing well because we were able to get a number of grants in 2020 and 2021. But we don’t know if those kinds of grants will remain, and ticket sales for this year so far have been poor (due to people being cautious from COVID). We’ve brought in an accountant so that we can ensure that all finances are tracked. We want to grow our staff, and grow our stipends, so where do we go with yearly target for income, and for what amounts we want to keep “in the bank”?
Discussed the committees created to help with issues such as inclusion efforts, production, workshops. And history of the organization’s production levels, from doing it all with individual ‘producers’ per show from the Board, to hiring Sarah as a part-time production manager, to her current role as ED.
Adjourned at 9:05pm.
Respectfully submitted September 9, 2021
Updated per input September 19, 2021