From June 14-16, 2018, the TCG National Conference took place in St. Louis, MO, a city whose political and cultural narratives have in recent years been amplified on the national stage. In an era of media saturation, sound bites, and “fake news,” theatre makers continue to reflect the many nuances and complexities of the human experience in the stories we tell. In a widely watched TED talk, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said: “I’ve always felt that it is impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person.” How do we use our art form to uncover the deep (and often, messy) truth of people, places, and identity? How do we go beyond the single story?
With St. Louis as our inspiration and our gathering place, attendees engaged in discussions about authenticity in our artmaking, examining and improving the ways we prepare and support a generation of new leaders, developing organizational cultures that are ever more inclusive and forward-looking, and elevating the cultural legacy of those that came before us. Over 800 theatre makers also benefitted from professional development about the persistent challenges that threaten the vitality of our field, and engage with thought leaders from within and beyond the performing arts.
From June 8-10, 2017 TCG National Conference, Full Circle, welcomed 1,000+ theatre practitioners from across the globe to Portland, OR, for peer connection, professional development, and inspiring thought-leaders from within and beyond the field. TCG built on the success of the 2016 DC Conference by strengthening core programming like our Skills-Building Workshops and At the Intersections arc, as well as conducted bold new experiments like our community Field Trips. Full Circle will also draw inspiration from our host city of Portland’s central role in the “Maker” culture--a network of artisans and hackers dismantling industrialized systems through a return to a more local, human scale. In a region renowned for its commitment to sustainable ecosystems, could our most local and human of art forms be a natural partner in these movements? This was also our first major gathering after a contentious election process that featured profoundly different visions of our country’s past, present, and future. As storytellers and community-builders, how can we bridge the divisions of our country and world? How can we create ‘virtuous circles;’ feedback loops where our vision for a better world for and because of theatre reinforce each other?
Theatre-makers far and wide joined us in family-friendly, sunny San Diego and online in our growing Conference 2.0 community, and we reprised the use of programmatic arcs that honed the Conference content into four main areas of exploration.
Hundreds of theatre people assembled across the beautiful Dallas Arts District, and in our now robust Conference 2.0 online community, for this annual gathering of model sharing and peer connection. TCG also unveiled a new Conference structure, with the use of four programmatic arcs to create several "conferences within the Conference" to further focus our time in Dallas together.
At the 22nd TCG National Conference: Model the Movement in Boston, we concluded our year-long celebration of TCG's 50th Anniversary, and continued the momentum to begin transforming our field into a movement for the digital age.
Over three days at Boston's Park Plaza Hotel and Emerson College's Cutler Majestic Theatre, and in our newly expanded Conference 2.0 online community, we began changing the system of how we share, measure and adapt what works — one new model at a time — to make the theatre of our next 50 years thrive.
The 2011 TCG National Conference: TCG at 50: What if...? took place June June 16–18 in Los Angeles, CA. Kicking off a year-long celebration of TCG's 50th Anniversary, TCG's 21st conference saw 1,100 attendees, 212 sessions, 3,662+ tweets, and countless new ideas and connections.
Taking place over three days at the Millenium Biltmore Hotel, the Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and Central Los Angeles High School #9 for the Visual and Performing Arts, this historic convening brought together the theatre community to explore the field's achievements, challenges, and visions for the future.
Last year, we examined the landscape within which we now work. We looked at some of the major challenges facing the theatre field: changes in leadership, economic uncertainty, a diversity of aesthetics, technological advances, the possibilities of the future and the evolving nature of global relationships. This year, we dug even deeper, rolled up our sleeves and got our hands dirty. The 2010 TCG National Conference, Ideas into Action, was an opportunity to explore bold new solutions, cultivate a community that strengthens and nourishes work and hear from theatres, artists and other thought leaders who inspired strategic thinking that leads to action.
Roots, Renaissance, Revolution: Defining the New Landscape, TCG's 2009 National Conference, was held in Baltimore, Maryland on June 4th, 5th, and 6th, 2009, with a pre-conference in Washington, D.C. on June 3rd. The convening set out to examine the ROOTS of our field, strategize for a much-needed RENAISSANCE, and look for the REVOLUTION of tomorrow! We enjoyed a wide selection of sessions that focused on the past, present, and future and heard from such noted speakers as Writer/Director John Waters, Futurist Andrew Zolli, Gen Y Journalist Nadira A. Hira as well as a public conversation between two of the field's most respected artists, Anne Bogart and Bill T. Jones.
Theatre at the Center, TCG’S 2008 National Conference was held in conjunction with the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention: Taking Action Together in Denver, Colorado, from June 10-14, 2008. At the Denver Center Theatre Company and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, there were distinct sessions for theatre professionals. These included inspiring speeches by London-based African-Caribbean playwright, actor and director Kwame Kwei-Armah; Dr. Alexander MacDonald of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; playwright Paula Vogel and Kinney Zalesne, co-author of the book microtrends: the small forces behind tomorrow's big changes. Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz and other members of UNIVERSES welcomed TCG at a party at the Curious Theatre Company and many more field leaders shared their expertise and insights in breakouts and workshops.
In addition, TCG attendees joined with the rest of the performing arts field at the Colorado Convention Center in an exploration of the strength of the performing arts sector and its place in American culture. The National Performing Arts Convention worked towards building an effective national performing arts community by identifying the issues which unite us and the goals we can strive for together. TCG registrants mingled with those from Dance/USA, Chorus America, Early Music America, OPERA America and the League of American Orchestras to align resources and share ideas, strategies, and experiences in order to gather best practices, build cross-disciplinary networks and ultimately strengthen our individual disciplines. Using the highly effective AmericaSpeaks methods and tools for public deliberation and dialogue, the week-long convention culminated in our participants voting on the priorities and best strategies to establish a strong and vital nonprofit performing arts sector with an important place in the lives of Americans.
The 2007 TCG National Conference, Artistry in a New Century, hosted by the Twin Cities theatre community, was held in the new Guthrie Theater facilities from June 7-9, 2007 with a pre-conference day at Penumbra Theatre on June 6th. A new world, a new country, a new audience, new art - the 2007 TCG National Conference turned its attention to creating theatre for today and tomorrow with Artistry in a New Century. The conference engaged master artists and creative thinkers in the quest to craft theatre that resonates in our communities - locally, nationally and globally. The two and a half days of the conference investigated the creative process, new models of developing work and the artist as a catalyst for social change.
The 16th TCG National Conference, Building Future Audience, was hosted by the Atlanta theatre community at the Woodruff Arts Center, home of the Alliance Theatre, from June 8-10, 2006. The conference began with Blue Ocean Strategy, a strategic planning pre-conference workshop led by Ralph Trombetta. The conference built on previous conversations about the widening polarization in American society and turned more specifically to issues of social organizing and connection.
The conference’s plenary speeches included Anne Bogart’s “The Role of the Audience,” Colin Greer’s “The Politics of Belonging,” Kevin McCarthy’s “Understanding Arts Participation as a Behavioral Process,” a panel entitled “Who is the Audience of the Future?” with Guy Garcia and Wendy Puriefoy, moderated by Susan Booth and a closing address from TCG’s former executive director, Ben Cameron.
The 15th TCG National Conference, the only nationwide gathering of the not-for-profit professional theatre community, was held in Seattle, Washington, from June 16-18, 2005, jointly hosted by ACT Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre. It focused on Creating the Future: Theatre in a Polarized World. Over 800 theatre professionals from 15 countries and 38 states gathered in Seattle for three days of plenary sessions, breakouts and vital conversation.
Also, Leadership for Artistic Directors, a joint program of Theatre Communications Group, Dance USA and National Arts Strategies, was presented as a preconference event June 15-16, 2005.
Over 600 theatre professionals—artistic and management leaders, trustees, artists and others—from across the country and around the world, gathered in Milwaukee from June 11-14, 2003 to explore Courage, Creativity and Change.
Compelling speakers, performances, TCG awards, a wide array of breakout sessions, late night gatherings and the lively Milwaukee theatre community, all contributed to an extraordinary event.
Over 670 theatre professionals—artistic leaders, management leaders, trustees, artists and others—explored The Role of Live Theater in a Digital Culture in Philadelphia from June 20-23. Speakers, special presentations, performances, conversation, late night gatherings and Philadelphia's lively theatre scene all contributed to the conference experience. New additions to the conference program included a vendor fair and the open space meeting approach. The conference also celebrated TCG's 40th anniversary with videos, special guests, and the introduction of the TCG Awards.