Cardinal Stage, a Bloomington-based professional theater company, is launching an Artistic Advisory Committee to increase community input on shows and incorporate diverse perspectives into its programming, according to Artistic Director Kate Galvin.
The committee will brainstorm plays and musicals for the 2022-2023 Cardinal Stage season and later recommend potential artists to work on the shows.
According to the Cardinal Stage press release, the committee aims to include BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, Millenial and Gen-Z theater enthusiasts in order to gain a variety of perspectives on each show.
The committee will consist of 10-12 people, Galvin said. People can apply on the Cardinal Stage website until July 16th.
The idea of an Artistic Advisory Committee stemmed from Cardinal Theater’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, Galvin said.
“It was something that our DEI committee talked about as a way to open the door to more community engagement in the actual programming process and to make sure that we are doing everything possible to program seasons that speak to our community here,” Galvin said.
Galvin said she wants to ensure Cardinal Stage is culturally competent by hiring people who represent the various content presented on stage.
“There's just been a huge industry-wide reckoning going on about who's on stage, who gets to tell their stories on stage, who is making those decisions off stage,” Galvin said. “So we thought it would be a great idea to sort of open the door and be more transparent about our processes.”
The Artistic Advisory Committee will meet three times per year. According to the Cardinal Stage website, the first meeting will take place in September and focus on brainstorming ideas for shows to be presented in the For Your Consideration showcase.
Galvin created the FYC showcase as a way to gauge the community’s interest in shows before deciding the programming for the next season. The FYC showcase features short excerpts from plays and musicals she is considering, Galvin said.
“That was our first step towards getting the community involved with programming decisions because it allows me to sort of take their temperature in real time on pieces by showing them scenes and songs from these different shows that I'm considering producing,” Galvin said.
The second committee meeting will take place in January, after the FYC showcase. The committee will discuss the FYC audience survey results, share their opinion on scripts and rank their favorite potential shows, according to the website.
Galvin said she will have decided the line-up of shows by the final committee meeting in March. This meeting will allow committee members to recommend potential actors, designers, choreographers or other creatives for the shows, Galvin said.
Galvin, who is entering her fourth season as Cardinal Stage Artistic Director, moved to Bloomington for the job. She said the hardest adjustment was determining which shows would resonate with the Bloomington community.
“When I first got here I knew a lot about how to do my job in terms of what the roles and responsibilities of an artistic director are but getting to know the community was the biggest learning curve for me,” Galvin said.
The Artistic Advisory Committee is a way to get the community’s input on which shows they want to see and to ensure there is a show for everyone, Galvin said.
“Not everyone's gonna like every single thing we put on stage. But our hope is that there's something for everyone over the course of the season,” Galvin said.
Local committee members will receive two free tickets to each show of the season and invitations to private readings while non-local members will be paid $300, according to the website.
Galvin encouraged people to apply not only for the compensation, but also because she said the committee will be a fun, creative environment.
“If you are passionate about theater, if you want to get some insight into the producing process, if you want to have influence on what work is going on stage, if you want to meet other theater lovers, if you want to have great discussions about art you should apply,” Galvin said.