This weekend I attended an event for the International Amateur Theatre Association. It was an Assembly of countries in the European area.
It looks and sounds a bit dry and often these meetings are but this one was a game-changer for me. We were guests of the South Tyrolean Theatre Organisation and wow, they know how to look after their guests. But that’s not the point.
In the meetings I sensed a little bit of the world changing. Usually, there is an election of a new board every four years and they choose roles; usually a President, a secretary, and a treasurer.
This time the new board swept all that away. They didn’t want titles, they all wanted to do the job as a group.
Having served on many committees, including this one, I know there is a certain kind of person who wants to be a President. They like the grand title, but they can be all talk and no “do”.
This lot asked an interesting question. Instead of telling US what important work THEY were going to do, they said, “It’s about all of US. What are WE going to do to help?”
I like this approach because it reminds us that we all take responsibility for making things happen. I think the world could do with more of that instead of expecting one person or a small group to make all the decisions.
So, we split into smaller groups and I had to think. For a start, I told them about Theatretrain’s annual video competition. They seemed to think that would be an excellent way to bring young people across Europe together. It could be easy, inexpensive, and fun.
And then I went a stage further. Would any organisation like to join us in the choir for our next show at the Royal Albert Hall? We could make this work and we would find a way to host them. We’ve done this before with a youth hostel in London. For many years we have welcomed European guests to join us in our large-scale shows.
This is the new world after the pandemic – we find ways to come together by doing projects and making things happen rather than waiting for a hierarchy to do it for us!
It might never happen, but it won’t be for want of trying.