The blog is an extremely powerful tool in ensuring freedom of information, to ensure that everyone is aware of the processes at play and feels included. It is vital that important documents and drafts be shared by this medium. To this end, it would be beneficial for minutes to be taken of any meetings and for these to be made available on the blog. Not only will such minutes provide us with templates for running meetings (and highlight cultural differences in how they are managed?!) but they will ensure that when we speak for the rest of the group - we speak in the knowledge that we know what we are saying on each other's behalf. Sound possible? Work intensive I know, but everything is complicated by our distance...
It struck us in London that there seems to be some confusion over the nature of our group. We are not a theatre company but a collective. We are a community rather than a producing company. If this is not the case, then there are many, quite complicated issues to process. Where do we see the company as based? WIll we be following international company laws or the laws of the country in which the company has it's main base? How will that work for the other countries? This then goes into many issues of finance etc. which we can't ignore indefinitely...!
If we see ourselves as a community we will be able to stall those questions for a little while, although they probably do need answering. Like any community (or company) however, we still need to create the bylaws by which we can function. We need a means of creating those laws, and a means of making those laws accessible to the community. Without them, aren't we in danger of creating dictatorships?! (melodramatic analogy I know, but I hope that this makes sense!)
Which leads us to the first of our four suggested topics of conversation and questions to be solved:
1) Creating a management structure
- how as a group can we make decisions? Can we post ideas on this and start discussions on this?
Do we want to follow Anne's suggestion and invite more people to join or do people feel that we need to lay foundations first?
Is there worth in getting Anne to help us develop this management structure? Do we need help creating it?
2) Developing our mission statement
- this seems a crucial step in the conceptual phase of our process and necessary to have undertaken and canned before we proceed any further. Are we all on the same page on this? Are we agreed that our collective success and collaborations will bolster our individual success rather than the internationalists being predominantly a means for us to promote our individual work and agendas? Getting the right wording of our mission that meets our different cultural contextual needs is key to selling ourself internationally. How wonderful to present a paragraph of our vision and ideals to theatres and funders, that has been translated into all our languages, from Deutsch to Mandarin Chinese and that we all agree with? At present there is a working paragraph: "The internationalists was formed expressly to build a network of venues under one alliance in order to promote the exchange and collaboration of trans-continental theatrical ventures and to develop an international collective environment of new work across the globe." This was taken from the Ashley and the Esther's blog and reduced to one sentence by Tamilla. Not an easy task! Is it clear? Does it encapsulate us?
3) Branding ourselves.
- we need to choose how we market ourselves and to ensure that we are internationally attractive. This must involve international feedback on our ideas regarding -
1. Name of the company (Agree with Tamilla should basically be something that describes who we are and to which the consumer and donor community respond positively. Are we happy with Internationalists?)
2. Logo (needless to say having a visual symbol is advantageous. Symbols are important and powerful (and often have different cultural connotations). Should we be getting ideas and then finding graphic designers to develop them? - a global competition of sorts?
3. Press releases - we need to think about how we want to launch ourselves onto the global stage - how do we sell ourselves on a local and global stage? Again - there will be a need to tailor this to our specific countries and get local expertise - but it will be so much more powerful if the press is blitzed en mass. Also, how do we strategise the release of information to the press?
4) Can we start posting models of how productions are run and budgeted in our various countries? If we start to share our systems, we will have a clearer understanding of the collaborative possibilities. Additionally - if people have collaborative project ideas, perhaps it is time to start posting them?
It is necessary to have a more detailed and immediate conversation about these topics. Would everybody be able to arrange access to a skype conference call? If we each post 3 options of preferred dates and times and take it from there...?
Hoping that this is clear and sending much love (and reaffirming my joy and admiration!)
Missing NYC a whole whole lot on this rainy London morning and looking forward to hearing from you.
Pia and Athina