Rainforest Theatre Festival

Perseverance Theatre, Inc

Funding Received: 2013
Douglas, AK
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
January 9, 2014

Perseverance Theatre Summerfest ’14 has moved from the planning stages into implementation. In the past month, we contracted the major artists who will be involved in the design and production of the festival. We’ve also began to contract directors, designers, and other artisans. Now that there are directors, casting can begin and the word is getting out about Summerfest and the work we will be doing.

Also, the outreach continues. We’ve now begun to think about the mid-stage marketing and PR we will need to do before the full stage marketing kicks in closer to the summer. We will be offering a discounted festival pass to our current subscribers as one way of engaging them in the ongoing work and to encourage them to bring those who may visit them this summer in Alaska to the festival.

We’ve been spending time talking with people who may have further insight and advice for us as we move forward. We’ve been learning about new play development programs at other institutions; other festival organizers and the challenges and opportunities they face, and other local tour operators who have offered valuable advice as we look to bridge the gap between outdoor adventure travel (which is what is predominant in Alaska) and the cultural offerings the festival will bring into being.

And finally, the production team is busy looking at ways of making a three-show repertory work at the space we’ve chosen for the festival. The space, in downtown Juneau, which isn’t our main home, will need some work to make it into a useable performance space that can support the production and performance needs that the festival will require.

Recent Wins
-- Creation and feedback from the Staff on the performance calendar. We have many variables in scheduling and working toward consensus within the departments and with what will work production-wise is a major step.

-- Hired directors and a design team that will be a major creative force behind the feel of the festival.

-- The program for the workshop portion of the Summer has been designed with dates and designs about who and what will take place during that portion of the festival.

Bringing a major new cultural program into being is a major challenge. For all that appears to be similar to what the organization is doing, there are many new steps and curves in the road that can’t be anticipated. Learning that preparation and strategy are key and require more resources and time than might be anticipated is a key lesson we’ve learned.

Questions that arise include:
-- How much time should be involved in the planning phase before implementation even begins?

-- How do you monitor progress effectively and be sure that the milestones you’ve achieved are leading you down the right path?

-- How can you best model those who’ve come before so the wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented?