Rainforest Theatre Festival

Perseverance Theatre, Inc

Funding Received: 2013
Douglas, AK
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
November 14, 2013

Lenwood Sloan delivers keynote address at the annual Alaska Travel Industry Association conference

Planning and strategizing continues for our Artplace-funded project of a three- show repertory of plays next summer, plus a new play and artistic training component. Now that we have the program selected for the main festival, we’ve begun to think about the outreach and networking needed for Summerfest to have the impact and reach that we desire.

This month, our festival producer Bostin Christopher traveled to the annual Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) conference. The ATIA is the leading industry organization promoting Alaska as a top visitor destination, and communicates and promotes the Alaskan tourism industry as one of the state’s major economic forces. The ATIA is also the respected voice for the growth of the industry, while remaining attentive to environmental concerns, and recognizing the value of cultures and Alaska’s unique quality of life. This year’s conference was simpatico in that the focus was “The Fine Art of Tourism.” Much of the conference was concentrated on integrating the arts into the tourism landscape of Alaska and was partially sponsored by the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA). ASCA sponsored the keynote address by the renowned Lenwood Sloan, an expert in cultural tourism. His passionate keynote titled "The Magic and Chemistry of Placemaking: Formulas for Success” provided many ideas that are percolating around our offices as we move forward with our own project.

The conference also provided Perseverance with new contacts and networks. Everyone who heard about the plans for Summerfest got excited and was willing to discuss further potential partnerships and the mutual benefits that would be created.

Recent Wins
-- The festival now has a name: Perseverance Theatre’s Summerfest ’14. After much deliberation and many ideas for names, we wanted to brand Perseverance in the title as well as create a sense of fun and the festival-like component of what we want to do. It will also let those visiting Alaska know that something special is happening, and that we welcome their participation in the events.

-- Programming for the festival portion of Summerfest is complete. The rotating repertory of three production are: A remount of our world premiere production of "The Blue Bear," based on the book by Southeast writer Lynn Schooler; a world premiere production commissioned specifically for Summerfest about called "Warriors" by Alaskan playwright Dave Hunsaker; and the regional premiere of the 2013 Tony Award-winner for Best Play "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" by Christopher Durang.

-- Major contacts were gained at the annual Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) conference, especially those in the independent traveler market, which could have a deep impact on the reach we have with our potential audience. It is the independent traveler who, beyond our local reach, will make up a significant portion the audience. This was certainly confirmed by the research and contacts we made at ATIA and are learning more about as we follow-up with these contacts.

It’s always good to be reminded that partnerships are key. As Perseverance has learned recently within our other programming initiatives, partnering is a major key to success. With Summerfest, we look to continue this trend and find partners that will gain mutual benefit by working with us on this venture. We already are working with the University and the Juneau Arts and Cultural Center in a variety of ways and we look to find further partners in the travel industry after this month as well.

One question that comes up is how, why, and when should an organization look to partner? What signals a good fit? How do you negotiate these partnerships? And, how do you challenge the organization to work toward new and non-traditional partnerships and make them work? When approaching a potential partner who can’t see the same benefits as you do, what methods can be used to bridge that gap?