Well, here I am, the end of the alphabet, the end of the year, the end of our program. I cannot begin to fully formulate what the last two semesters have taught me and meant to me. I will be digesting and processing the information that I have taken in over the last two semesters for the rest of my life. I am extremely grateful that I went on this journey. I have learned so much about myself as a professional, as a leader, and as a person. I am walking away with an incredible number of tools, some of which I’m not sure I know how to use yet. But I’ll figure it out, because that’s what I have been learning how to do the last nine months. I think it’s kind of interesting that the length of the program is 9 months, it’s almost as if a new version of us is emerging from the program. Wow, that was cheesy. But I mean, that’s kind of how I feel. My reason for taking this program is that I am a 44-year-old professional who has been working in and around theater for 30 years. I have done big shows, I’ve done little shows, I’ve taken shows to New York, but I’ve never had “formal training” in how to do the things that I’ve been doing.
I think forward to what happens after graduation. What happens next week. I’m not planning on leaving Madison, this is my home and I have been working here for quite a while. Ultimately, I want to assist in changing the landscape of the Madison theater space. A few years back, a good friend wrote a monologue, and she talked about the tectonic plates shifting within. That metaphor has resonated with me since I heard her speak the words. I feel like the tectonic plates of our culture are shifting. And we can either fall on the right side of history or not. We can be part of that positive move forward or we can sit back quietly and watch things not change. I worked on two major projects this year. I worked on a multi-faceted evaluation of my job which I am super excited to show my bosses. And I worked on a cultural initiative with a local nonprofit organization to help create inroads to representation. I am a white administrator and I have been part of the problem. I have contributed to the voices who say there aren’t enough people of color who wanted to do theater. I have contributed to keeping the table small. It is a self-reinforcing behavior that crosses sectors. We hire people who look like us because we surround ourselves with people who look like us. I want to break that cycle. I am so grateful that I have had the time, support, resources, and energy of my professors and cohort this last year to demonstrate what action steps need to be taken.
An old bio says something about me wanting to use the arts as a tool for social change. And that’s still true. I find myself drawn to organizations, people, and performances that have a goal of cultural awareness. Theater is, and the arts are, remarkable tools to assist in learning and growing as a community. I am looking forward to getting back to work and implementing all of these strategies and ideas to everything I touch.