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Joined: 4/27/11
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Quote magnolia Replybullet Topic: Going Rogue - HELP!?
    Posted: 5/04/13 at 2:56pm
We are a small theater and we have been plagued with a bit of a problem that I feel is stunting us. Not sure how to deal with it - and maybe some of you have figured this out in your experiences?

We have rogue volunteers and board personnel. For example, we have a gentleman who is supposed to do our publicity and promos. We have a small committee assembled to do the work and he is supposed to be the chair. However, he never meets with them and the work is not getting done properly and sometimes not at all.

When asked why don't you call the meetings, he responds that people meet enough and he didn't want to have meetings when email can work. I explained that we have small group of people who want to be on a committee and they want to help. I told him he should hold regular meetings and make people feel appreciated and involved. He goes away saying he will...then makes a half-attempt to call a meeting and when no one could do it with 12/hr notice, he says "see no one wants to meet, so I will do it my way."

Then I have others who will not let anyone else work concessions or make posters or paint or whatever...just as a few other examples. The excuse is "I don't want people who don't know what they are doing in my way" or "it is too much to show anyone else, I will just do it myself" or the favorite is "well, no one ever shows up to help anyway, so I won't even ask".

Even though we are small, we are trying to grow, I believe we should tell people over and over we want them and them try our best to include new people wanting to help so we can grow our volunteer base and they DON'T do it or they do it once then back to the old ways of closing shop. This is an all-volunteer theater or yes it is supposed to be.

The current people tend to keep a closed shop. This is a problem for a budding organization and we will not survive long when we are unable to grow our volunteer base.

Have any of you dealt with this sort of thing before? We need some advice.

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Quote vickifrank Replybullet Posted: 5/12/13 at 8:03pm
Yes, and its true that sometimes too much 'help' gets in the way. 

1.)Start by asking what 'help' would be helpful.  If some committees work well without too many people, fine.  But others may be starved for real volunteers.

2.) If that doesn't solve the problem, take the issue to the board and ask them to define where the board thinks volunteers should be used and how.  Link it to the other issue: How to bring new blood into the theatre.

The 'closed shop' is common.  Its driven by a lack of trust of the new guys and a need for control by the old guys.  The problem is eventually everyone gets a case of burnout and the organization fades.  In my current town, one organization eventually stopped drawing new talent, because the old guys controlled all.  The same directors mean essentially closed casting....or at least the reputation of closed casting.

In a town I used to live in, a successful theatre kept the 'old guys' for the board and they retained responsibility over the keys.  So a boardmember was responsible for the keys to the costume room.  Another was responsible for the keys to the prop room.  Another to the concessions Then they purposely brought in talent for the shows (i.e. designers, directors).  It worked for them, but they set it up this way.

The theater scrim people
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