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News & Press: Message from the President

From ATHE President Josh Abrams, October 2019

Monday, October 14, 2019  
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Dear ATHE Members,

Happy Autumn! The Governing Council and staff are working hard to ensure that ATHE is well positioned in terms of organisational stability. It’s going to be a challenging year for us, financially, as we seek to recover from the transition costs, as well as some ineffective historical systems and reduced membership numbers. However, we’re confident that in working together, we will come out strong.

I know that one of the major concerns expressed to me in Orlando was the organisation’s communication within the Focus Groups. We’ve worked to update the internal mailing lists (for the Governing Council, Focus Group Reps and Focus Group Conference Planners) and can generate lists of members who have registered interest in each focus group. We will circulate these to FGRs, with a plan to send regular updates as well. (Please note that we are aware of privacy concerns, so will be working with the FGRs about how these lists can be used in generating mailing lists). On that note, we will research various platforms for Focus Groups, so that your communications can be effectively used and useful. We’re also aware that many Focus Groups are using social media channels for communication (Thanks to Design, Tech, Management FGR Elena SV Flys for helping collate a list of those), and we’re working on getting ATHE’s organizational social media structures in hand.

The transition to our new Executive Director Aimee Zygmonski continues, and she is quickly getting a handle on the organisation. She and I speak regularly, and I’m delighted with her organisational focus and skills. We’ve put a regular schedule of meetings for the Governing Council and Operations Committee on the calendar, so if you have issues that you’d like us to discuss, send them along to me or to the relevant Governing Committee officer, and we’ll aim to put them on an upcoming agenda.

Finally, I will be at the ASTR conference in Arlington, Virginia in early November and will be participating as ATHE President on a Field Conversation at 2:15 p.m. on Friday, November 8 entitled “Theatre/Performance Studies Associations and Their Members.” This is a follow-up to the initial summit of organizational presidents that ATHE hosted last January and is a chance to think about the ecosystem of theatre and performance studies organizations in and around higher education. I hope that for those of you attending the conference, you’ll be able to join us. Once again, I look forward to hearing from you with your ideas for ATHE as an organization and the ways that we can support you and the field. Please feel free to write to me at president@ATHE.org.

All my best,



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