ATCA Meeting Minutes

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  • May 15, 2017 11:59 AM | Operations Manager (Administrator)

    Prepared by Barbara Bannon, ATCA Secretary

    Bill Hirschman called the meeting to order at 2:05 p.m. EST.  All of the Ex-Com members were present: Susan Cohn, Charles Giuliano, Lou Harry, Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Kerry Reid, Wendy Rosenfield, Ed Rubin, and Martha Steketee. Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary; Teddie Hathaway, ATCA treasurer; and Robert Sokol, ATCA operations manager, were also present. Jay Handelman, the ATCA Foundation president, joined the meeting briefly toward the end.

    Barbara had distributed the minutes of the January Ex-Com teleconference call by e-mail before this meeting. Charles Giuliano made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to approve the minutes. The motion passed unanimously.

    Lou made a report on the New Plays Committee. The committee has selected the winners of this year’s Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. The committee was very efficient and shaved two and a half weeks off last year’s schedule. The extra time will help guarantee that all the winners can attend the Humana Festival to claim their awards. The winner of the Osborn Award is still being determined; when that person has been selected, Lou will let the committee members know who all the winners are. Twenty-seven plays were considered this year, and there were 17 people on the committee. Lou said the new system of circulating plays electronically worked very well. Nobody on the committee requested the $40 supplement for printing out copies of the plays, so perhaps that stipend can be removed from next year’s budget. Lou feels the new system is much more effective. He will notify Jim Steinberg about the winners.

    Barbara made a report on the Primus Prize. She had a wonderful committee this year and a very interesting group of plays to consider for the prize. There were 26 applicants, and a couple of the plays prompted some heated discussion. The committee has finally reached a decision, and Lauren Yee is the winner of the 2016 Primus Prize for her play in a word. Since she is a San Francisco playwright, we are hoping that she can come to the upcoming conference to receive her award. Robert and the conference organizers would also like to have her participate in a panel with local theater people. (Unfortunately, we found out after the meeting that Lauren has a commitment during the time of the conference and will not be able to attend.)

    Brad reported on the Communications Committee. Jonathan Mandell has taken over from Wendy in retweeting members’ tweets. Since he began on January 24, more than 50 tweets from more than 20 members have been retweeted to ATCA’s twitter feed @ATCA_Member. The twitter feed address is https://twitter.com/ATCA_Member. Jonathan also tweets newsworthy items on theater criticism or ATCA on the twitter feed @Theatre-Critics. That address is https://twitter.com/Theatre_Critics. Jose Solis is now posting items to ATCA’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AmericanTheatreCriticsAssociation. He has created a draft Google-doc form that is being finalized for members to use to request coverage. Chris Rawson is maintaining the website front page and most of the other public pages. He would like to implement a new column called Members’ Milestones, recording transitions, achievements, major publications, and memorials. Bill commented that all of these improvements put us closer to where we want to be with social media. He said he will send an e-blast to members telling them how to access and use the digital filing system on the website.

    Teddie made a treasurer’s report. She has assembled the budget proposal for 2017. Within the next few days, the board can have an online discussion and vote on accepting the budget. If it needs to be tweaked, Teddie and Bill can revise it and run it by the board again. The income in the budget is based on 260 members at $100 dues apiece, so we will need to raise dues to meet that figure. Presently we have 241 members with 2 pending. Susan Cohn and Ed Rubin have been working hard to recruit new members.

    There was discussion about the two CDs that ATCA has. They are not generating any significant income. One is maturing on February 24 and the other in three months. Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to pull the CDs out and put the money in the checking account temporarily until we can figure out where to invest more advantageously. That will also give us access to funds if we need it. The motion passed unanimously.

    Robert reported on the upcoming San Francisco conference. He has been investigating possible hotels; the committee originally decided to offer a menu of different-priced hotels instead of a single conference hotel. However, thanks to Susan Cohn’s contacts, it looks as if the Hilton hotel in downtown San Francisco can come up with an acceptable rate. It would be $179 a night, $40 less than anywhere else the committee has checked, and $50 less than the hotel’s usual rate. Robert said the committee will also make information on other hotels available to those coming to the conference. One of the prospective panels, called “The Play’s the Thing,” will feature local San Francisco playwrights discussing developing new work and the critics’ role in that process. Robert intends to get some information on the conference out to members within a week or so. The committee is working on getting a speaker for the annual Perspectives in Criticism presentation. They are considering local options, but Charles Isherwood was also mentioned. Other features at the conference include a backstage lunch hosted by the San Francisco Theatre Critics Circle, which has 12 members from ATCA on it; and a moderated interview with Lilly Janiak, the incoming critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, and Robert Hurwitt, her longtime predecessor.

    Brad also reported on the Professional Development Committee. The critics’ seminar that Misha Berson hosted in Seattle was a great success. Misha will submit a report on the seminar, which can probably be duplicated elsewhere. Karen D’Souza and Charles McNulty also helped with the seminar. J. W. Arnold and Mark Lowry are heading an ad hoc committee to develop ways to recruit new members. They are brainstorming programs that may attract new members and retain older ones. Kerry said she would be glad to help with this.

    Bill reported on the International Committee. The IATC Ex-Com is meeting in May in Sweden; we need to send someone. Jeffrey Jenkins is going to be unable to attend because of his academic commitments and suggested that Brad can go in his place. The meeting will be held from May 24 to 28, and the airfare is not that expensive. Ed Rubin made a motion, seconded by Kerry Reid, that ATCA should send Brad Hathaway as its representative to the IATC Ex-Com meeting in Sweden in May. The motion passed unanimously.

    Although it will work out for Brad to attend the meeting this time, we should put together a list of members who are interested in attending IATC meetings in the future.

    Bill talked to Leslie Torvik; she has a new work opportunity and would like to retire from being ATCA’s webmistress. She plans to be finished with her ATCA work in early March. She has been training Brad to take over what she does on the website and will be available to help out if we need her. She wanted Bill to tell the board that she has enjoyed her association with ATCA. Robert Sokol said that he can certainly help out with work on the website.

    Bill said that we still do not have someone delegated to send out press releases and help with publicity. Bill is circulating press releases temporarily, but we need to find someone who can take over that responsibility.

    Jose Solis says that he needs a high-definition or medium-definition ATCA logo to use on the website for Facebook. We need to create one if we don’t have it. There was discussion of what exactly ATCA’s logo is; the Daumier illustration is an icon, not a traditional logo. It is very difficult to replicate it. We need a simpler logo that is more flexible and easy to use. The top of every page on the website has a stylized ATCA that we can use if we set it up correctly. Robert volunteered to take care of that.

    Bill said it is still unclear what caused Charles Isherwood’s departure from the New York Times. He will update the board when he knows more and also share the information with the Dramatists Guild.

    There was a discussion about raising the dues. It appears that we cannot balance next year’s budget without raising dues; we have discussed this previously and now have to make a decision about it. It seems logical to raise the dues before renewal time, which is May 31. Jay Handelman joined the meeting at this point. We do have reserves in the bank to cover any budget shortfalls, but it isn’t a good idea to depend on them unless it’s absolutely necessary. The present membership of 241 at $75 apiece will only generate $18,075 of income. The amount of income proposed in the 2017 budget is $27,500. Raising the dues to $100 will generate $6,025 more, which will still leave us a little short, but it’s much closer to the amount we need. Charles Giuliano made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, to raise ATCA’s membership dues to $100. The motion passed unanimously.

    There was discussion about the impact of raising the dues. If belonging to ATCA is going to cost more, we have to make sure that members get something for their money. One possible new addition that may help is regional meetings, which would make it easier for members to become more involved with the organization.

    Jay mentioned that we may want to think about a student membership, which would be less, but we will have to amend the bylaws to do that.

    There was discussion about having a monthly newsletter for the membership.

    Bill said he planned to conduct more business by e-mails instead of just depending on conference calls to get things done.

    There was a brief discussion of the election for the ATCA board. Wendy is cycling off the board this year; Lou’s term is also up, but he can run again and will probably do so. That means there will be at least one seat available on the Ex-Com. Bill said he will discuss the dates of the election process with Russell Warne, who is going to be supervising the election. The actual election will take place online after the annual conference so that people have an opportunity to meet the candidates at the conference.

    The business being concluded, the meeting ended at 3:30 p.m. EST.

    Respectfully submitted by Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary.

     

    Addendum

    The following motion was made and passed by e-mail.

    On February 28, Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to adopt the revised 2017 ATCA budget. The motion passed unanimously on March 1.


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  • February 14, 2017 3:21 PM | Brad Hathaway (Administrator)

    (Download Word .doc file)

    Prepared by Barbara Bannon, ATCA Secretary

    Bill Hirschman called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m. EST.  The following Ex-Com members were present: Susan Cohn, Charles Giuliano, Lou Harry, Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Ed Rubin, and Martha Steketee. Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary; Teddie Hathaway, ATCA treasurer; Robert Sokol, ATCA operations manager; and Jay Handelman, ATCA Foundation president, were also present. Kerry Reid and Wendy Rosenfield were absent.

    Barbara had distributed the minutes of the New York Ex-Com meeting by e-mail before the conference call. Ed Rubin made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to approve the minutes. The motion passed unanimously.

    Barbara has sent all the meeting minutes for the past year to Brad, and he is posting them in the Members Only area of the website so members can have access to them. Bill commended Brad and his team for their work on the website; they are doing a good job posting items and keeping the site active.

    Bill reported that right now there is no one designated to handle publicity or circulate press releases on the website. If someone has a press release, send it to Brad for the time being, and he will make sure it gets distributed. Wendy has the master e-mail list for press releases; Bill will get a copy of it from her. Bill can also put the information in an e-blast. Robert said it’s easy to set up a MailChimp account to circulate press releases. Bill said he will send him the contact list, and Robert will set up an account.

    Lou reported on the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. The committee has 27 plays to consider; they are waiting for the last 3 or 4. Lou is posting them on a Google doc site, and that process is working well for the committee members. So far no one has asked for the $40 that was offered to reimburse anyone who wanted to print out hard copies of the plays. Lou is going to work out the logistics of voting for the winners.

    Lou mentioned one problem: some playwrights claim that they have been “recommended” for the Steinberg/ATCA Award, and that hurts both the committee and the award. They have been asked not to say they have been recommended, and the theaters have been told not to publicize that plays have been submitted for the award. The language that should be used in “submitted for Steinberg/ATCA Award consideration.” Lou said he will be sure to use that wording consistently.

    Barbara reported on the Primus Prize. There are 26 applicants for the 2016 award. The committee got behind on their reading but have now finished and selected seven finalists for the award. They are Mia Chung for her play “You for Me for You,” Cheryl Davis for her play “Maid’s Door,” Laura Jacqmin for her play “Look, we are breathing,” Martyna Majok for her play “Ironbound,” Melissa Ross for her play “Nice Girl,” Stephanie Walker for her play “The Art of Disappearing,” and Lauren Yee for her play “in a word.”

     Barbara will draft a press release to circulate, and the committee will announce the winner within the next few weeks.

    There was some discussion on what to do if the same play wins both the Primus Prize and the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. This has never happened before, although often plays are under consideration for both awards. It’s unlikely this will ever occur, and if it does, we will have to discuss what to do about it.

    Bill reported that at present ATCA has 230 members, 6 of whom are emeritus members. Bill also said the board needs to decide on a gift to honor Barry’s stellar work as administrator. People can make suggestions to Bill.

    Bill reported on the San Francisco conference. Planning is under way, and the committee will soon have some updates. They have a tentative grid of the schedule. There will not be a single conference hotel; multiple hotels at different rates will be suggested. Jay was concerned about the logistics; the committee needs to let people know very definitely where they need to be and when, and they need to keep track of where people are staying to make sure everyone is included at all times. Robert said that conference attendees will all have maps and schedules. Also there are a large number of Bay Area ATCA members, and they are going to have a buddy system. Each Bay Area member will take responsibility for 6 to 8 visiting members. Also all the hotels are in the Union Square area, which is fairly compact, so they will be close together. The committee didn’t feel they should dictate to people where they had to stay because San Francisco is expensive.

    Brad reported on the Professional Development Committee. Misha Berson is doing her critics seminar in Seattle in January. Nine or ten people have signed up. The seminar will involve hands-on mentoring. It intends to be a pilot program that can be replicated in other parts of the country. Foundation ATCA is underwriting the seminar. We are going to be working on more localized events in the future. Bill commended Misha and Brad on their work in organizing the seminar. Brad said he would get the list of attendees to give to Jay for the Foundation’s records.

    Russell Warne attended a young critics’ seminar in Wroclaw, Poland, last October; he has written a report on his experience, and it is posted on the website.

    Teddie made the treasurer’s report. We ended up with a slight deficit for the year. However, she still doesn’t have the final figures from the New York mini meeting, and that may make a difference. According to the report that Teddie submitted to the board, the loss for the year was $3,081.38. That figure is offset by conference profits of $1,444.72, which reduces the overall loss to $1,636.66. The board needs to review the figures for the 2017 budget.

    There is presently no mini meeting scheduled for 2017. Sherry Eaker is willing to plan another meeting for New York, but she needs to have a committee to work with so she can get input from other people, especially now that Ira is no longer available to help her. The board also should have some input into planning the mini meeting.

    The idea of regional conferences is interesting, but the logistics need to be worked out. J. W. Arnold has suggested a weekend during the fall in Miami or West Palm Beach. The hotel prices tend to be high at that time, but they are even higher in January or February, which is the other time we have often scheduled mini meetings. Susan Cohn suggested a mini meeting at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in October; that has the advantage of having a preset schedule, and Ashland is usually very happy to host us. Lou suggested a regional gathering at the Humana Festival in Louisville since a number of our members already attend; the weekend for industry and press this year is April 6–9. Again this would have the advantage of having a preset schedule, and we could just add a couple of extra meetings. Jay again mentioned the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; the problem is that the dates are very close to our conference in San Francisco, but a regional meeting might be a possibility for those in the area. Also the discriminatory and controversial HB2 amendment has not been repealed.

    Robert suggested that we should set up a template for a regional conference and let members know that ATCA is working to create an event in their area of the country.

    Looking ahead to 2018, Anne Siegel and Jonathan Abarbanel are working to put together a conference at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

    Bill reported that the New York Times is cutting back on its arts coverage outside of New York City. The Dramatists Guild is very concerned and wants to draft a letter expressing its concerns about theater coverage by qualified critics. Doug Wright has asked ATCA to collaborate on a joint statement that applies to theaters across the country. First, we need to find out why the Times is reducing its coverage. Is theater advertising down? Charles said we should get the information on why this is happening and post it and any statement we make on our website and circulate them to other media outlets.

    Many of our members don’t participate in the ATCA Facebook or Twitter accounts; perhaps they don’t know how to use these accounts. We need to circulate information on how to use Facebook or Twitter. We also need to check with Jonathan Mandell to find out how the system is working at this point. Can it be automated? Should we be retweeting members’ work? Do we need two Twitter accounts? These are all questions that need to be addressed.

    Bill said that the expense of making videos of the panels at the Philadelphia conference and the New York mini meeting is what produced the deficit in the 2016 budget. Should we ask the Foundation for underwriting support to videotape the conference panels? Should these videos continue to be available only to members on the website, or should they be posted where everyone can have access to them? Jay clarified that the Foundation could offer support even if the videos are only posted in the members-only area.

    Susan mentioned that the San Francisco panel discussions will be open to the public, so the public should have access to them. We have to be sure to get permission from the participants for the panels to be broadly viewed. We should also find a low-cost way to get the videotaping done.

    Bill is very interested in the organization making a concerted effort to recruit new members. He has sent out questions to about 30 ATCA members to get their feedback on how to go about this. During the next conference call in February, we need to focus on how to go about attracting new members. Bill will also talk to Anne Siegel about a deadline for the Membership Services Committee to come up with suggestions for some new membership categories. Ed pointed out that there are no ATCA members in 14 states.

    We are in the process of making the transition from Barry Gaines to Robert Sokol as ATCA administrator. Barry is sending all his records to Teddie, and she and Robert will sort through them and determine who will take responsibility for the various tasks.

    The business being concluded, Ed Rubin made a motion, seconded by Brad Hathaway, to adjourn, and the meeting ended at 2:40 p.m. EST.

    Addendum

    The following motion was made and passed by e-mail:

    On January 31, Ed Rubin made a motion, seconded by Lou Harry, that ATCA treasurer Teddie Hathaway, administrator Robert Sokol, and ATCA Chair William Hirschman be authorized to have signatory authority on ATCA’s checking account at Bank of America. The motion passed on February 1.


  • October 27, 2016 3:08 PM | Brad Hathaway (Administrator)

    (download Word .doc file)

    Prepared by Barbara Bannon, ATCA Secretary

    Bill Hirschman called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m. EST.  The following Ex-Com members were present: Lou Harry, Bill Hirschman, Kerry Reid, Ed Rubin, and Martha Steketee. Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary, and Jay Handelman, ATCA Foundation president, were also present. Susan Cohn and Wendy Rosenfield joined the meeting by phone. Jack Lyons sat in on the meeting. Charles Giuliano and Brad Hathaway were absent.


    The minutes from the June teleconference call had never been approved, so Kerry Reid made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to approve those minutes. The motion passed unanimously.


    Bill made a report on membership. We presently have 255 members; we have gained 30 new members but lost about 15. Thanks to Susan Cohn, who has been responsible for recruiting several new members. Six people are not renewing their memberships because of professional changes.


    Robert Sokol is hard at work on organizing the San Francisco conference. He is meeting regularly with Susan Cohn and Brad Hathaway to plan the conference. They are not planning on having a conference hotel; instead, there will be a list of hotels to choose from.


    The Professional Development Committee is working on several projects. Misha Berson has scheduled a critics seminar in Seattle for the weekend of January 20. It will be a daylong seminar. She is received some funding from the ATCA Foundation to underwrite the seminar.


    There was no formal report from the International Committee, but Bill mentioned that Russell Warne, Marie Kilker, and Jeffrey Jenkins have all attended international conferences in recent months.


    Lou reported on the New Plays Committee. He has vetted 18 recommendations for the Steinberg/ATCA Award from members. He has also notified members of his committee that no hard copies of scripts will be provided this year. The electronic copies of the plays will be stored in one place on a Google drive for easy access. Four are already ready to be read. ATCA will reimburse $40 to members who wish to make hard copies of the scripts. The committee has decided that rolling world premieres will be considered in the final year of their productions.


    Barbara reported on the Primus Prize. Currently the committee is reading the submitted plays. There are 26 applicants. The committee hopes to have a winner announced by the end of the year.


    Brad Hathaway has agreed to be the chair of the Communications Committee. Chris Rawson will help him post items on the website; Brad will be the gatekeeper. Jose Solis is taking care of Facebook, and Jonathan Mandell will handle Twitter. Leslie will continue to make technical changes when they are needed. There is a definite interest in making the website more active. We should find a fourth person to handle publicity and outreach. Also we need to figure out how to coordinate postings because some items need to be listed in more than one place.


    Bill gave a treasurer’s report. We have $49,500 in the bank. He distributed budget sheets. The estimated income for 2016 without conference income is $16,138.04* The projected expenses are $17,365.50. However, the Philadelphia conference netted $2,693.08, which means that we will not have to compensate for a deficit budget this year. The overall balance is projected to be $1,465.62.*


    Bill reported on the search for an administrator since Barry Gaines is stepping down. Five people originally expressed interest. One did not have the requisite skills; another got too busy and is a music critic. Tim Dodson, who is currently the administrator for the ATCA Foundation, is the third, and we cannot really afford him. Two possibilities remain; they are Robert Sokol and Lisa Lyons.


    There was discussion about how much the administrator should be paid. The job entails about 50 hours of work per month according to Barry with some months peaking at 80 hours. Right now the administrator gets $300 per month, which is certainly not enough. We will probably have to pay the new administrator at least $500 per month and more realistically $750 to $1,000. It was suggested that we should start with a one-year contract so that both sides can assess that the administrator and the board are a good fit. The board should appoint a search committee and conduct telephone interviews with the two applicants. Bill suggested he, Brad, Lou, and Martha could comprise the committee. (The search committee eventually consisted of Bill, Kerry, and Martha.) 


    There was discussion about upcoming conferences. Anne Siegel and Jonathan Abarbanel have proposed a 2018 conference at the American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin. It would be a summer conference. The theater focuses on productions of the classics and runs during June, July, and the beginning of August. They have brought some materials on the theater to distribute at this meeting.


    Jay has suggested doing something in conjunction with the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Caroline. This would probably be a mini meeting or perhaps a small regional meeting. The problem is that it is only scheduled every other year, and the 2017 dates from July 31 to August 5 are very close to the San Francisco conference. We could certainly think about it for 2019, however.


    Then we still have the Alabama Shakespeare Festival on the back burner, probably also for a shorter-duration meeting, although it could possibly be expanded to a full-length conference.


    Jay Arnold is interested in having a conference in Miami. It would include West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The problem is that the South Florida region is a big area—about 90 miles—so transportation would be an issue. It would definitely not be a summer conference because the best theater is not available then.


    We should also ask Chris Rawson about the possibility of a mini meeting in Pittsburgh. There is a lot of theater, and we could tap into his knowledge of August Wilson and do a tour of sites.

    There was discussion about the possibility of some regional meetings, instead of mini meetings. They might be a good way to increase visibility for the organization. 


    Membership issues were next on the agenda. What do we do about members who don’t pay their dues or are consistently late paying them? We should have a cutoff date of September 1 and let them know about it so they can make timelier payments. We can think about an increase in dues but will put that off for now. We also need to think about possible new membership categories. The Membership Services Committee is supposed to be working on this. We need to give them a deadline to come up with possible new categories of membership. February 1 was suggested as the deadline date.


    There were several suggestions about ways to recruit new members. Some of those were the following:

    • Get membership lists from other organizations
    • Use a personal approach to people we know who would make good members
    • Contact past students at the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center
    • Offer a discount to members for magazine subscriptions and books


    Sylvie Drake has proposed that ATCA honor the Pasadena Playhouse in a special way on its 100th anniversary. She thinks we might even suggest an honorary Tony Award. It was decided that ATCA offering special recognition might set a precedent that we don’t want to follow. The best thing is for Sylvie to recommend the playhouse for the Regional Tony Award and let it go through our usual process of members voting.


    There was a question about electronic voting: can it apply to issues as well as electing candidates to the Ex-Com? 


    The final thing discussed was rewriting the code of conduct, which is still up in the air. We still have two basic questions to address about the code:

    • Should it be a specific, prescriptive code or provide general guidelines?
    • Should it apply just to ATCA or be intended for the entire journalism profession?

    One thing that would be very helpful would be to have a presentation or panel on ethics at our conferences; it could include a roundhouse discussion to various issues and questions. It was decided that the board should form a subcommittee to address rewriting the present code of conduct. We can use what was proposed earlier and modify it as needed. Then we can submit the rewritten version to the Ethics Committee for its approval. Barbara said she would send all the board members a copy of the current proposal, including Jonathan’s wording on another amendment advocating inclusiveness, as a basis to work from.


    Jay made a report on the ATCA Foundation. The Foundation will underwrite Misha’s seminar in Seattle for up to $2,000. It is intended as a pilot workshop for 10 or 12 people. There was discussion about the Foundation picking up the conference fee for new members attending their first conference. Jay is wondering how many people that will involve. It didn’t seem to be that many for Philadelphia because all the new members did not attend. We need to make clear that the fee is only covered for the first conference after the new member joins ATCA; the privilege cannot be used for a subsequent conference. Jay is planning on passing the hat for donations as usual at this mini meeting.


    Jay also reported that he investigated the possibility of using some of the Helbing fund to underwrite an anthology of critical LGBT articles and was told by publishers that the anthology would probably not sell well enough to justify the expense.


    The business being concluded, the meeting adjourned at 3:50 p.m. EST.

    ADDENDA

    Three motions were voted on electronically during October and December:

    1. Bill Hirschman drafted a description of the duties of the ATCA administrator as formulated by Barry Gaines to use in hiring a new administrator. He also spelled out the duties of several other ATCA offices and committees. The board unanimously accepted the document on October 1.
    2. Sherry Eaker requested permission to have the panels at the New York mini meeting taped so they could be put on ATCA’s website. The taping will cost about $750. The board voted on October 18 to go with the videotaping this time but look for less expensive ways to do this at future conferences and meetings. The majority was in favor with one opposed and one abstention.
    3. On December 10, Martha Steketee made a motion, seconded by Lou Harry, to hire Robert Sokol and his company as the new ATCA administrator for one year at $750 per month starting on January 1. Any budget shortfall for the administrator’s salary will be covered by surplus funds in the ATCA account. The motion passed unanimously

    *There are problems with these figures. The budget sheet shows the actual income as of September 30 as $17,009.84 so how can the projected total for the year be $16,138.04, which is $871.80 less? Also Bill announced the resulting balance with the conference overage included as $1,808.31, which is $342.69 too much according to the figures on the sheet we received.

  • June 24, 2016 3:02 PM | Brad Hathaway (Administrator)

    (download Word .doc file)

    Prepared by Barbara Bannon, ATCA Secretary

    Bill Hirschman called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. EDT.  The following Ex-Com members were present: Susan Cohn, Charles Giuliano, Lou Harry, Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Kerry Reid, Wendy Rosenfield, and Martha Steketee. Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary; Barry Gaines, ATCA administrator; Jay Handelman, ATCA Foundation president; David Siegel, Robert Sokol, and Jose Solis were also present. Ed Rubin was absent.


    Barbara had distributed the minutes of the May conference call and the ATCA Ex-Com meetings at the conference in Philadelphia by e-mail before the meeting. Because she could not attend the first conference meeting, there were a few unresolved questions. Those questions were discussed and answered at the beginning of this conference call. Then Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Kerry Reid, to accept all the minutes. The motion passed unanimously.


    Barry reported on membership. Some new membership applications are coming in and being considered by the Membership Services Committee. Currently we have 234 members. The majority of members have paid their membership dues; about 95 membership fees are still outstanding. Six or seven new members are being considered by the committee.


    Brad made a brief treasurer’s report on behalf of Teddie. She and Barry are creating a QuickBooks system for ATCA. Teddie needs to get access to the bank account records to be able to finish. She also has some questions about whether ATCA or the Foundation is responsible for certain fees connected with awards.


    Bill reported that Barry Gaines is going to have to step down as ATCA administrator. Teddie will take over the financial responsibilities, and membership questions will be referred to the Membership Services Committee. We need to find a new administrator; Barry will continue until we find someone else. Bill mentioned three current possibilities:

    1. Tim Dodson is willing to take over. Currently he is the administrator of the ATCA Foundation, so he is familiar with the organization and how it operates.
    2. Robert Leninger, who is a classical music administrator, is someone else we might consider.
    3. Robert Sokol, who is chairing the upcoming San Francisco conference, and his business partner do similar work.

    Bill said if board members know of any other options or would like to recommend anyone, they should let him know.  Once the board knows what the possibilities are, the members can have a phone meeting and select someone.


    Barry needs to make a list of his job responsibilities; then the board will know the right questions to ask candidates for administrator. Bill commended Barry on all the fine work he has done; the job requires a lot of detailed attention, and Barry has handled that extremely well. He also did a great job cleaning up all the problems that he inherited from his predecessor.   

    Taking care of membership questions and applications will have to be transferred to the Membership Services Committee, and the logistics need to be worked out; Teddie will take over the financial end of Barry’s job, and Barry will continue to keep the checkbook for the present. Kerry Reid made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to approve this new arrangement until we find a new administrator. The motion passed unanimously. 


    Sherry Eaker has agreed to host another mini meeting in New York this fall. She already has some ideas for panels and is working on them. Ira Bilowit can help some, but he has been ill, so Sherry is assembling a committee to help her. Scott Bennett and Jonathan Mandell have already offered to be involved. Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, for ATCA to hold a mini meeting in New York in late October or early November. The motion passed unanimously.


    Robert Sokol has the survey for the San Francisco conference done and ready to post on Survey Monkey. Susan Cohn and Brad Hathaway have been helping him. The survey covers the following topics:

    1. What are the preferred conference dates?
    2. How many rooms are needed? Will people be sharing rooms?
    3. What is the acceptable range of room rates?
    4. Are people interested in coming earlier or staying later?
    5. Are there mobility issues? How far can attendees be expected to walk?
    6. What are people’s production and panel priorities?
    7. Do people have suggestions about what they want to have included in the conference?

    Robert just needs to get contact information from Barry so he can send an e-mail to ATCA members telling them about the survey. He plans to pass the survey by the board members before posting it. He would like everyone to respond to the survey within two weeks.


    Lou made a report on the New Plays Committee. He is proposing some changes to make the process more efficient and take some of the burden off the theaters that have to submit scripts. Currently nine committee members want to work from hard copies of scripts, which causes expense for the theaters and a time delay in getting the materials. Lou is suggesting that the theaters submit scripts electronically and the committee members who want hard copies can pay to have them made. If the committee members can’t arrange to get copies made or pay for them, ATCA can underwrite the cost. Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Wendy Rosenfield, that ATCA reimburse members of the New Plays Committee up to $40 to cover the expense of making hard copies of submitted scripts. The motion passed unanimously. Brad also mentioned that the figures in the budget may have to be adjusted to cover this expense.


    Several issues connected with the website need to be addressed. Leslie Torvik says she needs help maintaining the site and doing the posting that she does. She would like one or two ATCA members to be trained on using the software so that they can assist her. Brad said he was willing to be one of the people, and Teddie is also interested. Robert Sokol said he can be involved as well. Chris Rawson, who has been doing all the postings on the front page, is also not going to be able to continue to take care of all of it. Chris said he is willing to keep the data updated. The website also needs some reorganization. Leslie has said that she is willing to train Brad, Teddie, Robert and any others who would like to help. Can ATCA pay for Leslie to come and do the training?


    Jay wondered if the administrator’s job can include some of that. Susan asked if we should pay someone to maintain the website. Wendy suggested combining handling social media and managing the website.  

     Because of her new job responsibilities, Wendy is not going to be able to continue handling social media. Jose Solis is going to take over for her, and Jonathan Mandell also said he will help. They are excited about expanding the social media presence. Robert pointed out that maintaining the website has a double focus: original content written by members needs to be posted, and items that come off the Internet need to be aggregated. We need to be much more organized about who does what on the site and make sure that all the tasks are covered. 


    There was discussion about the Theater Hall of Fame. ATCA members are the primary voters, but Terry Hodge Taylor, who is in charge of the organization, is unhappy about ATCA’s commitment because he thinks the voting percentage is too low. He would like ATCA to pay to mail the ballots to its members. Robert Sokol suggested that ATCA or Taylor pay for a subscription to Survey Monkey so that all the voting can be done electronically.


    Bill reported that Anne Siegel surveyed the new members who attended the Philadelphia conference. They all said they felt welcomed by the ATCA members who were there. She also said that the committee is making a list of members who they feel should receive emeritus status in ATCA. 


    The business being concluded, Kerry Reid made a motion, seconded by Lou Harry, to adjourn, and the meeting ended at 3:00 p.m. EDT.

  • May 04, 2016 2:53 PM | Brad Hathaway (Administrator)

    (download Word .doc file

    Prepared by Barbara Bannon, ATCA Secretary

    Bill Hirschman called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. EDT.  The following Ex-Com members were present: Susan Cohn, Charles Giuliano, Lou Harry, Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Kerry Reid, Ed Rubin, and Martha Steketee. Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary; Barry Gaines, ATCA administrator; Jay Handelman, ATCA Foundation president; Anne Siegel, and Robert Sokol were also present. Wendy Rosenfield was absent.


    Bill announced that Lou won an award as the best theater critic in Indiana from the Society of Professional Journalists and congratulated him. Lou said that the Steinberg/ATCA and Osborn Award presentations at Humana went well and the playwrights were very pleased with their awards.


    Barbara is still compiling minutes from the preliminary Ex-Com meetings in Philadelphia since she was not able to attend them. Barry and Jay took notes, and she will assemble the minutes from them and circulate them by e-mail. Then they can be posted on the website.


    Bill and Chris Jones attended a preliminary meeting with Doug Wright and some other playwrights; they are investigating having some joint meetings that will enable the Dramatists Guild to interact more with theater critics and continue the dialogue that was started in the panels at the past two New York mini meetings. What this will involve is still in the process of being organized; another meeting is planned in the fall.


    The winner of the Regional Tony Award was announced, but there was no mention of ATCA’s involvement. Paper Mill Playhouse was the overwhelming choice of ATCA members, and ATCA should get credit for recommending theaters for the award. There was discussion about the right way to react: should we complain to the American Theatre Wing? Brad suggested instead that we notify the winner and make sure that ATCA is included in the theater’s acknowledgment of winning the award.


    Barry has just returned from attending the IATC meeting in Craiova, Romania, which was held in conjunction with the International Shakespeare Festival there. He participated in a panel on writing about Shakespeare and will submit a report on the conference.


    Barry made a report on the financial status of the Philadelphia conference. The income was down slightly from what was originally anticipated because several people withdrew at the last minute and were issued partial refunds. The total income is $10,761, which amounts to a slight profit of about $295.


    The videos of the conference panels and presentations are done and look very good. They should be up on the website within the next week or two. We need to pull out some segments to use for a promotional trailer. Lou also suggested that articles written about Philadelphia and the conference should be posted on the website.


    Wendy has a new job that is taking up much of her time; she needs to cut back on the amount of time she spends handling social media on the website, so we should find someone who can help her. Bill and the Ex-Com commended Wendy on the great job she has done with social media on the site.


    Brad discussed an initiative that will be coordinated with Foundation ATCA. We want to make a study of what has occurred in theater criticism during the past few years—all the changes and the new forms that criticism is taking. The study will take a look at the past, present, and future of criticism. What are the questions we want to ask? Brad, Ed, and Martha have expressed interest in being involved.


    There was a discussion about whether Richard Christiansen should be made an emeritus member of ATCA. He is now retired and was once an active member of the organization. He also did a Perspectives in Criticism presentation. Kerry Reid made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, to give emeritus membership in ATCA to Christiansen. The motion passed unanimously.


    Anne Siegel said that the Membership Services Committee will consider suggestions for emeritus membership in ATCA if people think there are those who deserve it. The committee needs to come up with a clear definition of an emeritus member.


    Robert Sokol made a preliminary report on the upcoming conference in San Francisco. Susan Cohn, John Angel Grant, and Brad Hathaway are already members of his organizing committee. They have come up with some possible dates: February 22–25, March 15–19, May 17–21, and June 14–19. He said the May and June dates are the two he thinks will work best. He will send out a questionnaire to ATCA members to poll them about their choice. Members will have two weeks to respond. He reviewed the questions that members will be asked:

    • What dates do you prefer for the conference?
    • How much do you want to pay for a hotel? Is there a range in the price?
    • Do you want to share a room?
    • What should the conference fee be?
    • Are you interested in coming earlier or staying later?
    • Can you walk to some events?
    • Do you have theater or play suggestions?
    • Do you have any other ideas or suggestions for conference organizers?


    There was some discussion about whether it would be helpful to schedule the annual conference at about the same time every year.


    There was discussion about a 2017 mini meeting. Where and when should it be held? We probably have to settle on the San Francisco conference dates before this can be decided. Jay reminded everyone about the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem in 2017. He is waiting to receive more information from the organizers. They are interested in having us come.


    What about regional mini meetings? Should we consider possibly having some of these in the future? Lou also suggested having an Ex-Com meeting in New York if there is not an actual mini meeting.


    We have adopted an anti-discrimination statement. Do we have to add anything else to it to focus it on LGBT issues? The feedback we have received on the statement has been positive.


    There was discussion about recruiting new members. What kind of outreach do we need? The following suggestions were made:

    • Contact lapsed members and see if they want to rejoin; if they are no longer writing, they can become associate members.
    • Offer student memberships; we can contact theater departments at universities and see if they can have any student critics who would like to join.
    • Contact various theaters and see if they have any educational programs that involve critics.
    • Contact theater organizations and see if any of their members would like to join.
    • Approach people we know personally who are actively writing and tell them about ATCA. This has turned out to be the best approach thus far.
    • Contact former students at the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Critics Institute.
    • Invite people to attend a panel at one of our conferences or mini meetings.


    We need to find ways to raise our national profile and let people know we exist and explain what we do. Attracting younger members is definitely a priority. Bill mentioned that several new members attended the Philadelphia conference and said they felt very welcomed by the group. He thanked everyone for going out of their way to make these new members feel comfortable.


    The business being concluded, the meeting ended at 3:15 EDT.

  • April 10, 2016 2:48 PM | Brad Hathaway (Administrator)

    (download Word .doc file)

    Prepared by Barbara Bannon, ATCA Secretary

    Bill Hirschman called the meeting to order at 9:07 a.m. EDT.  The following Ex-Com members were present: Susan Cohn, Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Kerry Reid, Wendy Rosenfield, Ed Rubin, and Martha Steketee. Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary, was also present. Charles Giuliano and Lou Harry were absent.


    The order of business consisted of electing officers.


    Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Susan Cohn, nominating Bill Hirschman for Ex-Com chair. The motion passed unanimously.


    Susan Cohn made a motion, seconded by Kerry Reid, nominating Brad Hathaway as vice chair. The motion passed unanimously.


    Bill Hirschman suggested that Barbara Bannon be reappointed as secretary, and Martha Steketee made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, reappointing her. The motion passed unanimously.


    Martha Steketee then made a motion, seconded by Kerry Reid, to appoint Teddie Hathaway as ATCA treasurer. The motion passed unanimously.


    Bill read the draft of the suggested statement about discrimination that had been written the previous evening in reaction to discriminatory legislation targeting LGBT people in North Carolina and other states. The organization will vote on accepting the statement and publicizing it during the regular membership meeting that follows this one. He also said there will be a conference call meeting in two or three weeks.


    The business being concluded, the meeting adjourned at 9:15 a.m.

  • April 06, 2016 2:37 PM | Brad Hathaway (Administrator)

    (download Word .doc file

    Prepared by Barbara Bannon, ATCA Secretary

    In the absence of Ex-Com Chair Bill Hirschman, Vice-Chair Brad Hathaway called the meeting to order at 2:08 p.m. EDT on April 5.  The following Ex-Com members were present: Lou Harry, Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman (arrived at 3:45), Wendy Rosenfield, Ed Rubin, and Martha Steketee. Barry Gaines, ATCA administrator, Jay Handelman, Foundation ATCA president, Teddie Hathaway, ATCA treasurer, John Angel Grant, Anne Siegel, and Howard Shapiro were also present. Jonathan Abarbanel, Charles Giuliano, and Erin Keane were absent.


    Barbara had distributed the minutes from the March conference call by e-mail on March 30. On April 1, Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to approve the minutes with one correction—the spelling of Teddie Hathaway’s name. The motion passed unanimously by e-mail.


    Barry made a report on membership. We currently have 233 members, including 30 new ones and 3 still to be processed. Barry and the Membership Services Committee recently rejected an application because of substandard writing skills. Barry spoke to the applicant who then sent him a letter with writing samples.


    Howie Shapiro reported on the upcoming conference. Things are going well and the conference officially starts tomorrow. He asked the board to help organize people on and off buses. He said he has received really good support from the theater community.


    Teddie Hathaway gave the treasurer’s report. ATCA is currently financially healthy. There was a surplus of $4,173 from 2015 due to the success of the conferences.


    Wendy reported for the Communications Committee. She has the press releases for the ATCA new play awards and the Primus Prize. Chris has been maintaining the website; Martha complimented his work. Brad commented that the website “has turned the corner; Bill really raised our game.”


    Lou reported for the New Plays Committee. He said that the Steinberg/ATCA and Osborn award winners are very excited about their awards. He will go to Louisville to present the awards at Humana, and ATCA will cover the expense. He is trying to make the committee’s work more efficient. There are currently delays caused by the need to have printed copies of the plays for some of the committee members. It might be more efficient to have a subcommittee do an initial screening of the submissions. The plays could be submitted electronically and the subcommittee could recommend or reject them. That would eliminate the plays that don’t receive any support. It would also be more efficient and economical if committee members who want to work from hard copy could print their own and save the theaters having to send them. Lou said there are now 19 members on the committee, and he wants to include everyone who would like to be involved. Erin Keane is helping him with the logistics.


    Barry reported on Primus Prize submissions. Applications have begun to arrive; the cutoff date is April 30. Eventually there were 26 submissions.


    At this point, Bill Hirschman arrived and took over chairing the meeting. He thanked Brad for filling in.


    Charles Giuliano cannot attend the conference because of recent eye surgery but is interested in running for the Ex-Com. He is completing the remaining one-year term vacated by Myrna Petlicki.


    Robert Sokol and Susan Cohn are planning on doing a presentation on a proposed conference in San Francisco. We need to find a good date for that.


    There was discussion about where and when to schedule a 2016 mini meeting. Jay has been communicating with the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but that won’t be held again until 2017. Should we even try and have a mini meeting in 2016? Chris Rawson has mentioned Pittsburgh in the past. Brad suggested a possible mini meeting in Seattle. Misha Berson is trying to organize a young critics’ seminar in Seattle, and there could also be a mini meeting there. The University of Washington can furnish rooms for the seminar. The charge would be $50 a room, and the seminar will cost about $2,500. Misha is planning on asking Foundation ATCA for funding; Jay suggested she should get some local funding for the seminar. He has sent a two-and-a-half-page proposal, and there can be further discussion at the Foundation ATCA board meeting. Also there was a question about whether Foundation ATCA brainstorming should be part of the next ATCA conference?


    Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, that ATCA will not have a mini meeting in 2016. The motion passed.


    There was a discussion of elections after we implement electronic voting. We need a budget and software to manage the elections.


    The meeting tomorrow will consider marketing and member outreach. Also do we need to print a new brochure? And what about a new logo? Some people do not like the present one. We also need to discuss electronic voting and website changes.


    There was a question about how to pay for videotaping conference panels. Does ATCA pay for this or should the funds be part of the conference budget? The Perspectives in Criticism speaker receives an honorarium of $500, but this comes from the Foundation.


    Ed Rubin made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, that ATCA use the spelling “theater,” instead of “theatre,” except where it is spelled that way by organizations or theater companies. The motion passed.


    Brad and Wendy stated that the Ex-Com endorses the proposed bylaw changes. 

    The business being concluded, Martha Steketee made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, to adjourn the meeting. The motion passed unanimously, and the meeting ended at 4:45 EDT.


    Respectfully submitted by Barry Gaines in the absence of Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary.


    The meeting resumed on the afternoon of April 6. Bill Hirschman called the meeting to order at 1:42 p.m. EDT. The following Ex-Com members were present: Jonathan Abarbanel, Lou Harry, Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Wendy Rosenfield, Ed Rubin, and Martha Steketee. Jay Handelman, Foundation ATCA president, Teddie Hathaway, ATCA treasurer, and Chris Rawson were also present. Charles Giuliano and Erin Keane were absent.


    The discussion began with electronic voting. Does ATCA want to base the Ex-Com elections around the annual meeting or hold them at a set time every year? Jay suggested that the elections be held right before the end of the membership year, which occurs in May. Chris suggested combining electronic voting with actual voting at the annual meeting. Jay thought it was not a good idea to try and combine the voting; all the voting should be online and conducted at the same time every year. There was discussion about a good date for the elections. Then Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Lou Harry, that the annual elections should be held 30 days prior to the end of the membership year. Jonathan wanted to amend that to 60 days before the start of the next annual meeting or 60 days before the end of the membership year, whichever is earlier. The motion passed with one abstention.


    Do we need to have nominations and seconds for candidates? That’s not necessary since the process relies on self-nominations.


    How do we handle a quorum for the elections? The present bylaws state that a quorum at a membership meeting is 25 members. There was a suggestion that the online quorum should be 50 percent of all eligible members. Some people thought that was too many. Jonathan suggested it was more important to have a lower limit: the election should be invalid if fewer than 25 members participate. Brad explained that if 25 members attend a business meeting at a conference, only 20 of those have to vote. With electronic voting, all the association members are theoretically present, so 20 ballots would equal the 20 votes cast in a meeting where a quorum is present. It seems, then, that no quorum number is necessary in an electronic election. The election should just depend on plurality.


    Will it be necessary to amend the bylaws further to activate electronic voting? It was decided to leave any decisions on this issue until later.


    Chris gave a brief report for the Communications Committee. He is responsible for maintaining the front page of the website while Wendy takes care of social media—Facebook and Twitter. Brad asked if there are any statistics documenting page views or hits; it would be good to know how many people are visiting the website. Since we are now posting the videos of the conference panels and presentations, it would be great to get some feedback on how many are viewing those as well.


    There was discussion of the 2016 budget. It is no longer balanced. The total expenses are projected to be $23,950, so we will be short $4,350. How should we deal with the deficit? We can try and reduce some of the expenditures or spend some of the reserves we have from conferences to supplement it. Brad said he supported this idea because we need a budget that reflects the needs of the organization. In the past, we had a budget that ran in the red for three years and then one that ran in the black for four. The consensus was that a deficit budget is acceptable. Jonathan Abarbanel made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, to approve the 2016 budget as amended. The motion passed unanimously. 


    Down the road, we need to discuss membership and recruitment. We should come up with some concrete, specific plans on ways to increase outreach and membership and promote the visibility of the organization. Charles has already come up with some ideas, and other people on the Ex-Com should also think about the issue and make suggestions.


    Bill commended Barry Gaines, Anne Siegel, and Robert Sokol for their extensive work on putting the new directory together. It turned out to be much more difficult and time consuming than they expected.


    The business being concluded, Ed Rubin made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to adjourn. The motion passed unanimously, and the meeting ended at 3:32 p.m. EDT.

  • March 01, 2016 2:27 PM | Brad Hathaway (Administrator)

    (download Word .doc file)

    Prepared by Barbara Bannon, ATCA Secretary

    Bill Hirschman called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. EST.  The following Ex-Com members were present: Charles Giuliano, Lou Harry, Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Wendy Rosenfield, Ed Rubin, and Martha Steketee. Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary; Jay Handelman, ATCA Foundation president; and Mark Lowry, ATCA treasurer, were also present. Jonathan Abarbanel and Erin Keane were absent.


    Barbara had sent the minutes from the previous conference call by e-mail. Ed Rubin made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to accept the minutes. The motion passed unanimously.


    Barbara made a report on the Primus Prize. Sharyn Rothstein, this year’s winner, is planning on coming to Philadelphia to accept her award if she can arrange it with her rehearsal schedule at the McCarter Theatre. The call for applications for the 2016 award has been posted on the website, and the press release has been circulated. The deadline date is April 30. The committee will be the same as last year with the addition of Michael Howley, who was formerly a committee member but had to drop out last year because of his health. Charles suggested that we might want to include the press release in an e-blast so that members can help publicize the award information and deadline, and Barbara said she would pull the press release off the website and forward it to Bill so that he can send it out.


    Lou reported on the New Plays Committee. The 19 committee members have selected the six finalists for this year’s Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. The voting was incredibly close this year so it will be interesting to see which three emerge as the final winners. Lou hopes to be able to contact the winners by the end of the week. The six finalists are Bloomsday by Steven Dietz, Clarkston by Samuel D. Hunter, The Dangerous House of Pretty M’Bane by Jen Silverman, Mississippi Goddamn by Jonathan Norton, Sweat by Lynn Nottage, and Vietgone by Qui Nguyen. There are also six possibilities for the Osborn Award.


    Bill reported on Foundation ATCA. The foundation raised $4,500 last year, topping the previous year by $1,500. The annual meeting will be held during the conference in Philadelphia. Board members should let Jay know if they will be able to attend the meeting.


    Mark made the treasurer’s report. ATCA currently has $28,891.13, a combination of $10,851.01 in the PayPal account and $18,040.12 in the bank. Bill said we need to have a budget for 2016; the board can adopt one at the Philadelphia conference. Last year we finalized the 2015 budget at the New Orleans conference. The budget last year was based on income of $17,500. Bill said committee chairs should think about how much money they need for their budgets. He will send the budget information to the Ex-Com, and everyone should look at the figures. He wants to start membership recruitment this summer, which should bring in more income.


    Brad reported on the Professional Development Committee. Misha Berson is preparing a request for funding for an ATCA regional critics’ workshop in Seattle. The workshop will team up new critics with more experienced ones, who will act as mentors. The University of Washington’s School of Drama will host the workshop. The panel videos shot at the New York mini meeting are beginning to be posted on the website, and the quality is good. We need to let everyone know that they are there and how to find them. Professional Development will have a presentation at the Philadelphia conference. The middle panel slot at 2:45 on Friday will feature Doug Reside, the curator of the Billy Rose Theatre Division at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. He will describe the theater resources available and how to find and use them. Brad asked if ATCA could reimburse Reside for his travel expenses to come to the conference; round-trip fare on Amtrak from New York will cost a little more than $100. Brad made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to authorize ATCA to cover the travel expenses. The motion passed unanimously.


    Bill made a report on upcoming conferences. Robert Sokol has agreed to chair the San Francisco conference. He has good contacts and experience to head the committee and is going to recruit others to help him. The board members should suggest people they think would be good. We also need to decide when we want to hold the conference. Robert said he will start investigating the schedule of theaters in the area and build the conference around an interesting selection of plays.


    Bill then reported on the Philadelphia conference. There are 75 people registered for the conference so far; the deadline date for receiving the group rate at the hotel is March 11. Ten of those coming are new members, so the foundation will underwrite their registration fees. What methods can we use to entice more members to attend conferences? Also we need to find ways to publicize ATCA more and make the organization better known. There was discussion about opening up the panels so that the public can attend them. Ed suggested circulating a flyer to area schools so that students can attend one or more panels. We should also allow other interested people to attend and charge them a day fee.


    Do we want to video the panels in Philadelphia the way we did in New York? We got a great deal in New York; is it possible to find someone in Philadelphia who is reasonable and can do a good job? We should be able to get the videos up more quickly on the website so that people will know about them and be interested in participating in conferences. Charles also suggested putting some teasers on YouTube; that may get people interested in the organization. We should try to video the panels and the Perspectives in Criticism presentation; we already have a text archive of Perspectives speeches on the website.


    Mark would like to step down as treasurer, and Brad’s wife, Teddie, is interested in taking over the job. She has an MBA and has been treasurer of several organizations; she has also worked as a financial officer. The treasurer does not necessarily have to be a member, and the job requires special skills. In return for her work, Teddie would like ATCA to cover her travel expenses to attend conferences. Ed Rubin made a motion, seconded by Charles Giuliano, to appoint Teddie as treasurer. The motion passed unanimously with Brad abstaining from the vote.


    Bill reviewed the vacancies for the board that have to be filled in Philadelphia. Charles and Bill are running for reelection. Jonathan is cycling off, and we need to fill Erin’s slot for her final year on the board since she is resigning. Several people have expressed interest in running for the board: Mark Lowry, Michael Howley, Susan Cohn, Kerry Reid, David Ritchey, and Roy Berko. Should we circulate their names in an e-blast ahead of time? We don’t want it to appear as if we are campaigning for specific people. We should do an e-blast soliciting interest in running for the board. We have to have a physical election in Philadelphia since we cannot do electronic voting until the bylaws are amended. Jay mentioned that this will be good preparation for electronic voting.


    Do we need to print a new membership brochure? Several people have asked for something to give prospective new members when they are telling them about ATCA. We should have something either printed or electronically available on the website. The application form is on the website, but it would be helpful to have something in addition; perhaps we could just have some information on a business card to hand people.


    Bill reported on the International Committee. We need to select a couple of delegates to attend the IATC meeting in Belgrade. Jeffrey will go to represent ATCA, but Bill will not be able to attend, so we need to pick two people. Several people have expressed an interest in going: Brad Hathaway, Marie Kilker, Misha Berson, Michael Howley, and Glenda Frank. It is important to send delegates since we are founding members of IATC and have always been part of the Ex-Com; Jeffrey is an officer currently. After a vote, Marie Kilker and Michael Howley were selected to go and represent ATCA.


    Leslie has been doing a lot of work on the website. If you have suggestions that relate to the website, send them to her.


    Russell Warne has agreed to be the election manager. We need to develop some procedures for electronic voting.


    Bill sent a copy of the proposed bylaw changes to the board; people need to respond to him within the next couple of days if they have suggestions. Then Bill will send out the changes to the entire membership so that they can review them before the Philadelphia conference. He will try and do that by the end of February.


    The Ex-Com needs to decide what to do about the code of conduct/ethics code in Philadelphia. We also need to decide about the location for upcoming mini meetings. There are a couple of possibilities:

    • Spring Glen, Wisconsin—this would have to be in the summer;
    • Jay has suggested the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, held each year in July.


    It is probably not necessary to have another conference call before Philadelphia; we can do the preconference work by e-mail.


    The business being concluded, Charles Giuliano made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to adjourn the meeting. The motion passed unanimously, and the meeting ended at 3:10 EST.

  • January 07, 2016 3:46 PM | Brad Hathaway (Administrator)

    (download Word doc file)

    Prepared by Barbara Bannon, ATCA Secretary

    Bill Hirschman called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. EST.  The following Ex-Com members were present: Jonathan Abarbanel, Charles Giuliano, Lou Harry, Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Wendy Rosenfield, Ed Rubin, and Martha Steketee. Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary; Barry Gaines, ATCA administrator; Jay Handelman, ATCA Foundation president; and Mark Lowry, ATCA treasurer, were also present. Erin Keane was absent.


    Barbara had sent the minutes from the previous conference call by e-mail. There were several corrections that were noted and made to the minutes. Ed Rubin made a motion, seconded by Martha Steketee, to accept the minutes as amended. The motion passed unanimously.


    Barry reported on membership; we have 227 members, and all of them have paid their dues. There are 36 new members; they will get registration subsidies for the Philadelphia conference.


    Mark made the treasurer’s report. We currently have $18,244.88 in the bank and $3,579.61 in PayPal. The PayPal figure includes $670 donated during the end-of-the-year fund-raising appeal by the Foundation, so the corrected PayPal figure is $2,909.61. Available funds therefore total $21,154.49.


    Lou made a report for the New Plays Committee. The committee has 17 plays in hand for the Steinberg/ATCA Award with 3 additional ones in transit. Lou is currently following up on 9 additional plays; 3 plays were disqualified because they didn’t meet the criteria. He is expecting a pool of 29 plays. The committee will take its first ballot on February 6.


    Barbara made a report on the Primus Prize. She has notified this year’s winner, Sharyn Rothstein, and she is very excited about receiving the prize. The other five finalists have also been notified and sent congratulations to Sharyn. Sharyn thinks she will be able to come to Philadelphia to receive her plaque since her latest play will be in rehearsal at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton at that time. The five finalists will also receive certificates. The committee received 39 applications last year for the Primus Prize, and it was difficult for everyone to be able to read all of them in an efficient time period. If that number applies again this year, the committee may divide the entries up so that each member doesn’t have to read all of the plays. Then everyone will read the plays that get through the first round. The committee will discuss the logistics by e-mail and in Philadelphia. Barbara mentioned that it was a great idea to have six finalists this year and that there was a lively e-mail exchange among the finalists and her; they are very supportive of each other’s work. It’s exciting and encouraging to see the quality of the plays being written by the women who applied. The Ex-Com members said they would like to be able to read the winning play, so Barry volunteered to e-mail By the Water to all of them.


    Brad had sent the Professional Development Committee report to everyone prior to the conference call. He asked everyone to let him know if anyone is aware of any development resources or opportunities.


    Bill made a report on the printed directory. He has talked to Robert Sokol, and he expects to finish up his work on the directory next week. There should be copy to edit by the middle of January, and he, Barry, and Anne Siegel hope to get the completed directory out by the end of the month. Bill said he would circulate it when he gets it to review so that the Ex-Com can look at it.


    The next item on the agenda was the upcoming Philadelphia conference. Howard has to present a more detailed budget; he will try to have that ready within the next week. He is anticipating expenses of a little more than $12,500, but he is trying to trim those. There was discussion about what we should charge for the registration fee for the conference. We can’t advertise the conference online until we determine the figures for early and late registration. Howard anticipates that 75 to 85 people will attend. Figures ranging from $145 to $165 were discussed. Michael Grossberg has suggested that the amount of one night’s lodging makes a reasonable registration fee. Barry wondered if we could subsidize the conference slightly from the general fund if necessary. Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, to set the conference fees at $150 for the early bird registration and $175 for the late registration fee. The motion passed unanimously. Jonathan complimented Howard on planning such an interesting-sounding conference.


    Bill said that he is trying to get a speaker for the Perspectives in Criticism presentation.


    Bill said that the proposed San Francisco conference has encountered some problems. Robert Sokol thinks it will not be possible for him to be the chair. Susan Cohn says she will be happy to help organize the conference, but she needs help. Brad says he knows some people who can be on the committee. Bill said he will talk to Brad, Susan, and Robert and decide in the next few weeks whether that conference needs to be postponed.


    Bill said that the website is looking great. Leslie Torvik is going to rework the front page of the Members Only section to make it more user friendly. She will also post the videos from the New York mini meeting and set up a way to post the minutes from Ex-Com meetings. Bill asked if we want to get some software so that we can discuss issues on the website. It could be an adjunct to electronic voting or help to get discussion going on important topics before annual meetings. It would be used only to conduct specific discussions on central issues. Members can be contacted and told to watch the website so that they can participate.


    Bill said the Ex-Com needs to think about replacements on the board for Jonathan, who is cycling off, and Erin, who is going to be unable to complete her term. Susan Cohn is interested in running. Charles only has a one-year term, and he is interested in running for reelection. Mark Lowry wants to step down as treasurer and may be interested in running for the Ex-Com. He has volunteered to remain as treasurer until we find someone else.


    Jay made a report on the ATCA Foundation. The Foundation received 22 donations plus 6 right at the end of the year; that is about 10 percent of the fund-raising requests, which is about average. The annual meeting will take place in Philadelphia. We need to decide about doing something with the Helbing fund. Wendy has some ideas, and we can use some of the money to underwrite the transgender workshop at the Philadelphia conference.


    Bill reported on the International Committee. Brad, Marie Kilker, Misha Berson, and Michael Howley have all expressed interest in attending the World Congress in Belgrade. Jeffrey Jenkins will attend to represent ATCA and would like to have Bill go, but Bill thinks he won’t be able to attend and would like to give his spot to someone else. Marie Kilker is a very good candidate, especially because she speaks French. We can send three representatives.


    Bill also reported on the Theater Hall of Fame. ATCA members make up the majority of the voters, but there is not very good participation. Only about 30 to 40 ATCA members actually vote, and Terry Hodge Taylor would like to add other critics to the voting bloc. Also ATCA makes no financial contribution to the Hall of Fame. It is uncertain whether Terry will do anything about this, but Bill wanted to make the Ex-Com aware of the problem. Barry suggested that ATCA can pay to mail the ballots to its members; we should definitely encourage our members to vote since it is one of the advantages of membership.


    Bill reviewed issues that will be discussed in Philadelphia. One is expanding the membership criteria as the Ex-Com has discussed. How will we set that up, and when will it begin? The membership must also vote on the bylaw changes. How will we circulate information about that in advance of the conference?

    In regard to electronic voting, Russell Warne has expressed some interest in being the election manager.


    The business being concluded, Martha Steketee made a motion, seconded by Lou Harry, to adjourn. The motion passed unanimously, and the meeting ended at 3:00 p.m. EST.


  • November 12, 2015 10:00 PM | Deleted user

    (download Word .doc file)

    Prepared by Barbara Bannon, ATCA Secretary:

    Bill Hirschman called the meeting to order at 9:40 a.m. EST.  The following Ex-Com members were present: Charles Giuliano, Lou Harry, Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Wendy Rosenfield, Ed Rubin, and Martha Steketee. Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary, and Barry Gaines, ATCA administrator, were also present. Chris Rawson joined the end of the meeting. Jonathan Abarbanel and Erin Keane were absent.

    Bill said he is hopeful this meeting will bring real progress in setting up the protocol for electronic voting and establishing guidelines for changes in the bylaws. The Membership Services Committee has submitted a proposal for membership criteria; the full membership will have to sign off on that because it will result in a bylaw change.

    Barbara had distributed the minutes of the last conference call by e-mail before the meeting. She read the addendum to the minutes to make sure that everyone had received it. Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, to accept the minutes. The motion passed unanimously.

    Bill had e-mailed a number of reports to ATCA Ex-Com members in advance of the meeting. The first one was Chair Anne Siegel’s report on the Membership Services Committee. The new printed directory is in progress. Robert Sokol is laying it out and has all the copy. He and Anne and Barry are hoping to mail the directory out by the end of the year; we will change the title to 2016–2017. A PDF of the directory will also be posted on the Members Only section of the website and will be updated as changes occur. The printed directory will have a note that it is only a snapshot in time and that the updated version can be accessed on the website.

    Next the Ex-Com reviewed Mark Lowry’s treasurer’s report. Mark will make a formal report in Philadelphia with a spreadsheet tracking income and expenses. Mark said he does not feel comfortable being the treasurer and will step down in Philadelphia; he feels the job requires more financial expertise. We should be thinking about appointing or electing someone to replace him.

    Lou Harry made a report on the New Plays Committee. So far the committee has received 16 nominations for the Steinberg/ATCA Award from 12 ATCA members. Lou has requested eight scripts and has received three. He will send them out to the committee members. So far only one of the 16 nominated plays is ineligible because it has had a New York production. Three of the nominated plays are musicals. There are currently 23 people on the committee, which is open to anyone who is interested. Lou feels that a large committee gives more people a chance to be involved; there may be a top number for logistical reasons, and he can monitor that. Lou said the committee has determined that if a play is having several rolling world premieres from the National New Play Network, it is the last play in the series that will be considered for the award. However, the play can be recommended earlier and considered in the following year.

    Barbara made a report on the Primus Prize committee. The committee has selected six finalists for the award and will be choosing the winner from among them within the next few weeks. There were 39 applicants for the award this year, and there were many good plays, so the deliberations have taken longer than usual. Barbara will post a press release with the names of the finalists on the website within the next week. The winner and the theater where the play was produced always receive a plaque, and Ed Rubin suggested that all the finalists should receive certificates.

    Bill made a report on the International Committee. The next IATC world congress is in Serbia; we can send three representatives, one of whom will be Jeffrey Jenkins, chair of the committee, and Bill will not be able to attend, so we need to find someone else to replace him. We can publicize it on the website, and Bill will send out an e-blast informing members that they can apply to attend the congress. We need to formulate some criteria, and it would be good to pick someone who is not on the Ex-Com.

    There is also a spring meeting in Craiova, Romania, connected with the International Shakespeare Festival there. Barry seems like a logical choice to send to that meeting, but we should also publicize it on the website to include all ATCA members in the pool. We can pay $1,000 toward the person’s traveling expenses. Glenda Frank attended the recent IATC meeting and seminar at Novi Sad, Serbia, and presented a paper. Barbara said she would ask Glenda to make a report at the Sunday morning meeting on her trip to Novi Sad.

    Brad Hathaway made a report on the Professional Services Committee. The committee is trying to put together information on educational resources available to critics around the country. Martha Steketee said she was one of the founders of a program at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago; Kerry Reid is still involved with it. Misha Berson is assembling a workbook from the two seminars she was part of in Seattle and Salt Lake City. Brad asked everyone to send him any information they had about seminars or other resources for professional development.

    Bill reported that the ATCA Foundation will not meet in New York; the annual meeting will take place in Philadelphia. The foundation will send out its year-end annual contribution letter soon.

    Bill reported on conferences. Philadelphia is the next conference in April 2016. Brad said that a conference in San Francisco is in the planning stages. Robert Sokol will host, and a committee will be formed. Miami is a possibility sometime in the future, but transportation will be a major issue because the theaters are so spread out.

    Bill reported on the upcoming Philadelphia conference. Howard Shapiro has submitted a schedule for the conference. Some members will have already seen some of the shows on the schedule, but Wendy said there will be at least one alternative show. She also reported that the conference is planning a seminar on transgender theater. There is a lot of interest in the subject currently. The seminar will discuss correct terminology in referring to transgender people and theater.

    Bill mentioned that the dates of the Philadelphia conference—April 6 through April 10—may be problematic for some New York critics because that’s during the last few weeks of eligibility for the Drama Desk and Tony Awards. Also it’s industry week at the Humana Festival in Louisville. Bill told everyone to look over the Philadelphia agenda and give him feedback on potential problems. We need to find a Perspectives in Criticism speaker well in advance of the conference; there was a discussion of some possibilities. Also someone has to make the Steinberg/ATCA Award presentation at the Humana Festival on Saturday night. Lou is the logical choice to do that since he heads the New Plays Committee. ATCA can send him; he can attend the beginning of the Philadelphia conference and then go on to Louisville. Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, that ATCA will pay the transportation cost to send Lou to Humana from Philadelphia as well as his hotel bill while he’s there. ATCA will also cover his registration fee for the conference. The motion passed with Lou abstaining from the vote.

    A professional videographer is taping all the panels on Friday and Sunday at the New York mini meeting. He will also do all the postproduction work, and the videos will be posted on the Members Only section of the ATCA website. We need to make sure the sound quality is good. These videos are a membership perk. We can see how this process goes and then decide what we want to do for the Philadelphia conference.

    There was some discussion about whether we want to start archiving our materials and which of them can be used for membership perks or in marketing strategies to attract new members. We could possibly use the videos on the website to get educational grants for ATCA. We need to set up an ad hoc committee to discuss these issues. Charles said he would spearhead the committee, and Martha agreed to help. Bill also mentioned that we need to formulate a proactive recruiting plan for new members.

    The next issue discussed was electronic voting. We need to evolve a separate process for elections and dealing with bylaw and other changes. Leslie Torvik says she can create a discussion area on the website. We should deal with the elections process first, and that will create a work in progress for the rest of the issues. First we need an elections committee or preferably an elections manager. Bill said he will send out an e-blast asking who is interested in serving as the elections manager. The manager will work closely with the ExCom chair and the ATCA administrator.  Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, to authorize the Ex-Com chair to appoint an elections manager who will serve with that chair and report to the executive committee. The motion passed unanimously.

    The board went through the proposed electronic-voting-process description and made changes in the wording of various sections. The final version is attached to these minutes.

    The new electronic voting process will require bylaws changes. These will have to be voted on in Philadelphia to take effect. Brad has formulated some wording changes for the present bylaws, which Bill read. They all pertain to Article III of the present bylaws:

    1.       In Section 2, strike “present and voting at the annual meeting.”
    2.       In Section 7, strike “until the next annual meeting” and replace it with “by appointment from the general membership by the Chair until the next election, when a member will be chosen to fill the rest of the unexpired term.”
    3.        In Section 8, strike “annual meeting” and substitute “election.”

    Martha Steketee made a motion, seconded by Brad Hathaway, to submit these amendments to the bylaws to the general membership for approval in Philadelphia. The motion passed unanimously.

    There was discussion about a quorum for elections with the new process. It was decided that it would be difficult to determine a quorum, so Lou Harry made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, that there would be no quorum required for online elections of Ex-Com members.

    There was discussion of new possible categories of membership in ATCA:

                    Young and beginning critics

                    Theater writers who are not critics

                    Academics who study and write about theater

                    Arts editors

    Any change will also require a bylaws modification. The following rewording of Section 2 of Article VI, which defines eligibility, was proposed:

    “Membership is open to any writer who regularly publishes substantive pieces reviewing or otherwise critically covering the American theater.”

    Young or beginning writers and arts writers are now included in this new definition. The board decided to eliminate consideration of arts editors. Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Martha  Steketee, to put this modification before the membership at the Philadelphia meeting for a vote. The motion passed unanimously.

    Wendy suggested that we should create a specific emerging or young critics category of membership that includes people writing for collegiate publications and give them a discounted membership rate to encourage more young people to join ATCA. The board will discuss membership categories further during the next conference call.

    Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Wendy Rosenfield, to give complimentary ATCA membership to Lorraine Trainor for her contributions to ATCA as well as regional theater criticism in the Washington, DC, area. The motion passed unanimously.

    Doug Wright, who is helping set up the Friday panels at this meeting, is writing the book for a new musical on Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. It will premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

    Discussion turned to the code of ethics. Should it be just a code of conduct for ATCA members or a stand-alone, disconnected code of ethics for the entire profession of theater critics, or try to combine both? Should language sensitivity be part of either code? Barbara reviewed the history of the current proposed code of conduct. The Ethics Committee formulated a code and sent it to the Ex-Com, which considered it too detailed and pejorative and returned it to the committee for revision. The committee submitted a revised version, which the Ex-Com modified again to make it more general and less pejorative, and this version was presented at the New Orleans conference and tabled because there was insufficient time to discuss it. Charles Giuliano made a motion, seconded by Ed Rubin, that ATCA should create a code of ethics for the entire theater-critics profession. The motion was soundly defeated.

    Bill read through the present proposed code of conduct and also reviewed Jonathan Abarbanel’s suggested language proposal. He asked the board members to review them after the meeting and suggest any changes or things that need to be discussed at the next conference call. If possible, e-mail Bill before the meeting with proposals or suggestions.

    The business being concluded, the meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

    Respectfully submitted by Barbara Bannon, ATCA secretary

    Addendum:

    The following motion was made and passed by e-mail.

    On Wednesday, December 16, Brad Hathaway made a motion, seconded by Erin Keane, to designate Barry Gaines as ATCA’s delegate to the IATC seminar in Craiova, Romania, connected with the International Shakespeare Festival in April 2016. The motion passed unanimously.


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