I had a fantastic time at the SETC Conference two weeks ago. It has to be the best theatre conference in the world.
The place was teeming with theatre people of every stripe: students, teachers, actors, designers, tech people, administrators - and there were new opportunities for all of us there. I know that hundreds of the students did auditions for many of the great theatres around the country. And a lot of the high school kids got to speak to colleges who were recruiting theatre students.
There were booths for all kinds of theatre arts (my friends at Samuel French had one of the best booths in the place). There were workshops and demonstrations and master classes and speeches. It was like being at the best state fair in the world, all of it devoted to the theatre.
I was there to get an award and give a speech, but I also got to give a Shakespeare workshop, which was the best fun of all. I taught the kids and adults who came a passage from Twelfth Night - the one that starts “Make me a willow cabin at your gate ...” I had everybody memorize the whole speech, and we talked about how it changes everything in the play in just 10 lines. Sheer fun.
I also got to meet the great people who run SETC so amazingly well: Jack Benjamin, Betsey Baun, Mike Hudson, to name just three. How on earth they can organize a conference of over 4,000 people spread over 5 days with literally hundreds of events every day and not miss a step is beyond me.
I came away from the convention thinking about how wonderful it is to be in the theatre, especially when there are students around. The kids there were remarkable. They were making new friends every minute - just as we all do in the theatre, creating families overnight. And everybody who attended - from students to adults to 50-year veterans of the theatre - were so full of energy and joy that I returned home simply invigorated.
Here’s a photo of the award they gave me at the banquet. You can imagine how touched I was.
And I LOVE Louisville, by the way. I’ve never seen so much art on the streets of any city in the world.
And of course they are justly proud of the Kentucky Derby. This was in front of our hotel.
The long and the short of it is, if you ever have the chance go to the SETC convention. It's amazing.