This week’s One Theatre World 2011 was just the energizing and encouraging experience I needed. The performances, workshops, and discussions really got my creative juices flowing, but it was the people who made the week so incredible.
Going to the conference alone was intimidating, but I was immediately put at ease within the first hour of being there. A smiling woman came up to me, and said, “Hi! I don’t think I know you. I’m Laurie.” Laurie Brooks: Influential TYA playwright and our community organizer for One Theatre World. We shook hands, and I introduced myself. Then she said, “I saw you standing by yourself, and I know exactly what it’s like to feel like you’re on the outside. But you’re not. We’re so happy to have you here.”
From that moment on, I wasn’t worried about having made the trip to Seattle on my own. I love traveling, and as an only child, I have been independent from a young age. But no matter how self-sufficient you are, we all want to feel like we’re a part of a community; like we belong. Laurie’s seemingly small action of reaching out set the bar for the kind of community I would be welcomed into over the next three days.
I am in awe of the incredible artists with whom I had the good fortune of spending three intensive days. I was surrounded by people with a profound respect for these young people that share my desire to create engaging theatre experiences.
About three years ago, I was in the office of my college professor/mentor for my weekly, “Cara, what am I going to do with my life?” conversations. After I’d gone through my laundry list of questions and options and wonderings, she smiled and said calmly and confidently, “Meredyth, you need to do theatre for young audiences. That is where you will find your people.”
I think it’s safe to say she was right.