Guide to the Agenda

TCG 2019: Guide to the Agenda

This year in Miami, we're trying a few new things, and continuing to work toward fulfilling the diversity of interests, professional positions, and personal identities represented at the National Conference. If this is your first Conference or your 21st, please see below for some helpful info to prepare you for your time with us, and keep checking back as we build out our agenda with new experiences.

A note for those of you who attend the TCG Conference regularly, and are used to it falling between a Thursday and Saturday with Pre-Conferences on Wednesday: this year's Conference will commence on Wednesday, June 5 and conclude on Friday, June 7, with Pre-Conferences (TBA) on Tuesday, June 4. Please plan your travel accordingly!

The TCG National Conference is a full and rich experience, with programming, theatre, and social opportunities throughout our three days together. Especially if you are a first-time attendee, we encourage you to read up on opportunities ahead of time, so that you’re prepared to take full advantage of what’s in store. Read on for a glossary of Conference agenda terms and programming descriptions.

These are all-attendee sessions featuring exciting artists, speakers, and performers from a variety of professional backgrounds, as well as award presentations and other programming. 

These 2.5-hour tightly-focused skills-building journeys are carefully designed for practitioners of different experience levels, budget sizes, and aesthetic interest. Part 1 occurs prior to lunch on Thursday, and Part 2 continues the same work after the lunch break. Please plan to attend BOTH parts 1 & 2 of the same workshop!

These are 75-minute small group sessions that can manifest in a range of formats, from panels, to roundtables, to interactive performances. There will be several rounds of breakouts at the Conference in Miami, occurring between Thursday and Friday.

At the Intersections (ATI) is a movement-building arc of Conference programming focused on advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) through affinity and allyship sessions around intersectional areas of identity. ATI will feature sessions focused on disability, gender, race & ethnicity, sexual orientation, and more. The arc begins with How We Show Up, a session for all conference attendees to develop a shared analysis of this approach; and ends with How We Move Forward, a gathering of all ATI participants, and any other curious attendees, to share findings, build solidarity, and identify opportunities for collective action. As the ATI arc continues to evolve, we are attempting to merge the “personal” and “professional” in each of our unique identities, which means removing divisions between our ED&I work and our professional development work at the Conference. We can’t effectively experience one without the other, and this dynamic will play a role in many other areas of our Conference programming. Sessions identified as "At The Intersections" will be marked as such in our final online agenda.

This arc relies on the following three principles (and the sessions and session types indicated below) to work toward its goals:

1) We need to come together before we work apart: 
All are welcome at one of our opening sessions on Wednesday called How We Show Up, which will lay the groundwork for the At the Intersections sessions, share best practices for all Conference attendees for making the most of our time together, and serve as an introduction to TCG’s ED&I Values. This session will repeat on Thursday to make sure to include those who could not attend Wednesday's session. TCG's strategic plan includes a comprehensive Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Initiative to transform the national theatre field into a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse community. Our Conferences are representative of this commitment, and much of our programming is dedicated to moving the needle in our field on these issues.

Anti-Racist Resources for White People, also on Wednesday, will offer multiple entry points for white people working against racism in their personal and professional lives. Stemming from the energy and size of our past white affinity spaces, we’re creating a space early in the Conference for continued learning, analysis development, and movement-building, led by white-identified facilitators whose anti-racist values are closely tied to their leadership style and decision-making. This session will be geared towards those who racially identify as white, but is open to anyone who would like to participate.

The Intergenerational Leaders of Color meeting, also on Wednesday, will gather all who identify as leaders of color for candid conversations about issues and challenges specific to this part of our field. In more recent years, the conversations have evolved and expanded to include a larger inter-generational group of leaders of color. This session will invite ongoing group discussion about pertinent questions, issues, and solutions for transferring information, experience, expertise, and successful models between the generations. This session is intended only for Conference attendees who identify as People of Color.

2) Lead with our whole selves: While it can be very effective to have conversations around specific areas of identity, we must always do so with the wholeness of our experiences in mind. That’s why we’re calling these sessions “At the Intersections”: we’re not just meeting each other at the crossroads of our identities, but acknowledging the complex identities within ourselves. At the Intersections will culminate with a town hall, How We Move Forward, on Friday that empowers all of us to share what we’ve experienced across these interwoven areas of identity, throughout the entirety of our Conference experience.

3) Every group is different: From figuring out content to deciding on structure to agreeing on the presence of allies in the room, there will be no one-size-fits-all for our Identity Affinity Groups, which are a fundamental part of the At the Intersections arc. For the 2019 Conference, we will work with attendees to build consensus around deeply-personalized sessions that meet the unique needs of each group. Affinity spaces are for people who self-identify as part of a particular group to discuss their collective experiences. Because members of oppressed groups are often asked to educate and protect the comfort of those with privilege, affinity groups are necessary in equity-based work to provide space for the conversations that cannot occur in the presence of those power dynamics. TCG typically creates space for both affinity and ally-inclusive sessions based on how attendees self-identify in four areas of identity: gender, disability, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity.

As in past years, we are also providing an opportunity for theatre people to meet based on their professional role in theatre. Each group is facilitated by one of your colleagues from the field, who will help guide a conversation around the most pressing issues faced by those who share your professional identity. The Professional Affinity Groups will meet once on Thursday, in the early evening, in case you want to take your group from the Conference space into a happy hour before all of the exciting Thursday evening programming!

These sessions feature expert speakers from various companies formally affiliated with TCG, and are each designed to address specific business needs of TCG’s membership. Past Trend Workshops have included sessions on audience and patron engagement, digital marketing trends, successful techniques for donor cultivation and retention, redesigning subscription systems, and much more. We also encourage you to use your break time to stroll the Exhibit Hall and speak with our Business Affiliates one on one about particular challenges you may be having in their respective areas of expertise and service.

This small selection of sessions, occurring for three hours on Wednesday morning and open to anyone in the Conference community, were piloted at the 2018 National Conference and proved both inspirational and incredibly. Designed for collective mobilization and movement building around a particular field challenge or set of issues, these sessions don't seek to provide definitive answers, but rather provide dedicated time for active strategy-forming and forward thinking.

Also on Wednesday morning, Conference attendees will have the opportunity to join excursions to various cultural sites and venues around Miami. These "field trips" generally include a touring element, along with an experiential component, and are designed and hosted in partnership with our Host Committee to create three-hour long adventures that are most evocative of Miami's culture and history. Field trips are generally attended by 20-30 people each, and the opportunity to sign up in advance will be announced in April, at which point you may return to your registration form and select the one in which you'd like to participate. There will also be opportunities to sign up on site in Miami, as space allows, but advance sign-up is encouraged as they do fill up quickly!

For those who feel lunch is a meal best enjoyed over even more programming, check out our Agenda (when it's available) for a small selection for 60-minute lunch sessions on Thursday.

Carefully curated by our Miami Host Committee, these are intimate dining excursions on Thursday evening, hosted by area artists and arts leaders at some of the most popular culinary destinations in town, and often paired with the experience of seeing a particular show in Miami that evening. Are you a foodie? Flying solo at the Conference? Sign up for a Dine-Around and meet your group after Thursday programming ends to travel to the restaurant together.

A few other things to note, that we hope will help make your Conference experience uplifting and unforgettable...

We use a Conference App on site (especially as we continue to cut down on paper materials as part of an increased effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the Conference), and we ask that you pay special attention to the agenda you create for yourself via that platform. For instance, some of our Skills-Building workshops will have capacity limits, and will indicate as such in their descriptions – please note this and only sign up for the workshops that you truly plan to attend! Instructions on how to sign-up can be found int he session description in the app. For workshops with caps, your opt-in will be taken as a formal sign-up, and may be sending another attendee to the workshop’s wait list.

Thursday’s Skills-Building workshops have been designed for the same group to participate in both the first and second part of the same workshop. This is to offer attendees a truly deep dive into one area of interest and to build more meaningful collaborative relationships with your fellow Skills-Builders. For these reasons, and for the sake of your session leaders, please try to stick to the plan!

TCG runs a family-friendly Conference! Attendees are welcome to bring children between the ages of 11 to 18 to all plenary sessions free of charge and to TCG-curated performances. Please sign them up at Registration for plenary sessions, and accompany them into the ballroom. This is limited to the plenary sessions and TCG-hosted performances only, and respectful audience behavior is expected. 

Parents who are nursing may also inquire at Registration about the privacy space that TCG has set aside for this purpose, which will be accommodated with amenities like electrical outlets, comfortable seating, and a mini-fridge for easy storage. For more information on family resources and things to do with kids, please check back to our Conference web pages in the coming weeks.

WellSpace is the manifestation of the TCG Conference’s commitment to self-care: not just as a band-aid, or a one-time event or purchase, but as an ongoing practice of healing, restoration, and reflection that must be cultivated over time. WellSpace is also an invitation to practice and share your own self-care strategies such as meditation, journaling, art therapy, and beyond. We welcome you to visit WellSpace at any point during your Conference week to take some time to personally invest in yourself, and in our community. We'll see you at WellSpace. We encourage you to read more here.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in Miami! If you have further questions, please feel free to direct them to