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Consistently Connected: Inspiring the Future of Barnstorm Theatre Company

  • Author(s): Frisenda, Veronica
  • Advisor(s): Cuthbert, David L
  • et al.
Abstract

One company, one program, one class, one barn, has been such a huge inspiration to many students at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and continues to be a focal point for projects and performances. Despite being the subject of multiple individual research projects, the Barn Theater endures an evident lack of consistency in leadership execution and vision. The Barnstorm Directors sign on for one year and one year only. Although this salutes new visions and skill sets each year, it can contribute to the inconsistency. As a Barnstorm Director, I asked myself, “what can I achieve in a timely manner that will leave a lasting, beneficial impact on Barnstorm that will aid both the future barn directors and the undergraduate students enrolled?” By analyzing previous Barnstorm theses, including Leah Gardner (2004), Paul Rossi (2015), and Benjamin Chau-Chiu (2019), I synthesized their conclusions and put together an updated Barnstorm handbook that can be accessed digitally by future directors. Updating and adding new information to the handbook gives the next Barn directors a tangible tool to help guide them on their journey in this student-ran theatre company. As the final for the 2020 winter quarter of Barnstorm, I re-administered a refined version of the survey that Chau-Chiu created for the 2019 winter quarter; I was able to compare my results with Chau-Chiu’s and see where the consistencies and inconsistencies lie just one year later. This survey gathered input from the students involved in Barnstorm about their experience and personal development as theatrical practitioners. The idea is to maintain the educational aspect of Barnstorm and to use past Barnstorm programs and features to shape future ones. This included changing the syllabus from fall quarter to winter quarter to better reflect our current goals. Two changes we implemented were bringing back workshops and slightly adjusting the requirements, which tied into my goal of making the Barn more organized and manageable. I conducted separate interviews with three local, professional theatre arts practitioners to explore possibilities of managing a theatre company and maintaining a strong sense of connection and organization. By continuing this research, implementing some changes, and aiding with the consistency of policy and programming, I discovered manageable ways to maintain communication and organization. A stronger sense of past, present, and future communication, and organization for the sake of time, energy, and overall performance satisfaction will aid in the growth of Barnstorm.

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