Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A Roundtable on Richmond

By Carolee Mason

What happens when you fill a room with a group of seasoned theatre professionals, who all serve as Theatre Ontario adjudicators? When everyone sitting around the table is used to having the floor, giving opinions and guiding the discussion, you might think dialogue impossible.

On September 13, Anne Mooney and Bruce Pitkin played hosts to the annual Theatre Ontario Adjudicators’ Symposium. The day’s focus was on sharing best practice, and refining the standards for our adjudication process. With attendees running from novices to veteran Talent Bank members, all with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, the group enjoyed a full day of valuable discussion.

Anne’s focused agenda, along with her cookies and Bruce’s bottomless coffee pot, facilitated a warm and lively exchange throughout the day. We readily came to agreement around the standards for our adjudication work. We are keen to ensure that our shared practice throughout the province meets the needs of our community groups. At the same time, we hope to deliver feedback, facilitate dialogue, and offer ongoing education around all aspects of production with consistency and clarity.

Participants at the annual Symposium always represent a rich variety of experiences. Since the practice our craft is a solitary pursuit throughout the season, It’s important to have the chance to talk over some of the questions that confront us in our work.

This year, for example, we once again enjoyed a lively debate around copyright concerns. We broke free of our often circular discussion about the confusion around SOCAN, Re:Sound, and the obligation of artists and producers to secure rights, and if required, pay royalties for the use of music within a production. We’d been down this road before.

Caroline Smith pointed out the concept of “Grand Rights” to us all, and explained that securing them can be a process both lengthy and costly. Lindsay Price suggested that we might all consider looking at music that is openly shared under new Creative Commons licence. As I had doggedly spent hours telephoning and faxing rights holders over the years to secure permissions, I found these suggestions intriguing! That sent me off in search of some answers to the inevitable questions I had after the meeting. Let me share with you these websites! I found some VERY useful information:

Several of us chimed into the discussion with the reminder that groups can seek out  composers and commission original music. That had long been my practice in Perth, Ontario. Working with the fabulous composer and teacher Jack Hurd ( shout out to Jack in Perth!), I was able to involve many more artists in the productions - inspiring us all in the process, and heightening the theatrical experience for our audiences.

You have to believe that the Symposium is well loved by the Adjudicators. If it didn’t offer such worthwhile professional development, the Theatre Ontario office wouldn’t be so popular a Saturday destination once every Fall.

Find out more about Theatre Ontario's Adjudicator Symposium

The 2013 Adjudicators Symposium

No comments:

Post a Comment