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Who makes the big decisions in your CT?

Printed From: Community Theater Green Room
Category: About the Community Theater Green Room
Forum Name: Polls
Forum Discription: Registered members can create polls of their own and vote in posted polls.
URL: http://www.communitytheater.org/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=2060
Printed Date: 6/18/24 at 6:54pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.05 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Who makes the big decisions in your CT?
Posted By: suzecue1
Subject: Who makes the big decisions in your CT?
Date Posted: 10/04/06 at 11:15am

I am new to this forum, so I apologize if this subject has been discussed before. I am interested to find out how other CT groups are run. We all know that there is a lot of "non-show work" to be done in a CT. In addition to seeing the poll results, I am also hoping for some advice on how to deal with the following situation.

Over the last couple of years the majority of our CT's elected and appointed board have tried to update and make some positve changes to our 25 year old CT by-laws. The desired change to the by-laws being from "any member being able to vote on any issue" to "board members / committee chairs voting on these issues."  Any member would still vote at the annual meeting for the board who represents them. We want the active members / workers (who attend the meetings of the group) to make the day to day decisions for the group. However, everytime we call for a vote, because of our current by-laws, it must wait 30 days and go to the full membership. At which time, a few eloquent founders will show up for the vote, create a scene, and talk the changes down. They gather up all the other founder's proxies, lifetime member's proxies, and vote it down. They won't allow any changes. Many of these voters don't even live in the state, much less do any of the current work of the CT, or know what is really going on. We needed a 2/3rds majority, and lost it by 2 votes last time. 2 voters who aren't around and don't attend shows or meetings!  

Because of this situation many of the current board members have resigned their board positions.  The general feeling is why continue to do the work when you can't get anything accomplished? Meeting attendance has dropped off. Many are frustrated to the point of leaving all together and starting a new CT. The general moral is in the pits! Help! 

 

 



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Sue
*****
So many hats.....so few heads!



Replies:
Posted By: Mike Polo
Date Posted: 10/04/06 at 1:26pm
At our theater, the Board of Trustees makes most major decisions as far as expenditures, etc. However, changes to the by-laws require a majority vote by the voting membership. Eligibility to vote requires attendance at least one meeting (board or general) during the year. Committees are able to make decisions within their own sphere provided they have been budgeted by the board, otherwise any expenditures must be taken to the board.

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Mike Polo
Community Theater Green Room
http://www.communitytheater.org
http://www.twitter.com/CTGreenRoom">


Posted By: MartyW
Date Posted: 10/04/06 at 1:53pm
Mike, pretty much the same at all of the theaters I participate in.. Major difference being the amount of meetings required for voting  membership

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Marty W

"Till next we trod the boards.."


Posted By: B-M-D
Date Posted: 10/06/06 at 12:30pm

For things like expenditures it's the board.   For changes in by-laws the board will propose them and need to be approved by the voting membership.

Season selection is interseting in that (to keep it brief) a slate of 12 is selected by the play reading committee from submissions by the membership and scenes from those twelve are presented by the committee to the voiting membership and then the membership votes in a season of 4 shows.   The proviso is that it must be a balanced season (i.e. can't have 4 Neil Simon comedies to make a season) or the there needs to be re-vote.



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BD

"Dying is easy, comedy is hard."


Posted By: MartyW
Date Posted: 10/06/06 at 12:36pm

scenes presented.. as in performed or just excerpted from the script for reading?



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Marty W

"Till next we trod the boards.."


Posted By: castMe
Date Posted: 10/06/06 at 5:25pm
My major gripe in the past with a "play selection" committee is they usually cold read a show (the readers being non-actors or not-very-good actors) and they generally read one act.  Let me come and make my own presentation, I've asked.  We get a pretty good idea what we're dealing with, I'm told.   Not when they're being read by artless actors, I shoot back.

Sceeeeeeeeeesh


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Investigate. Imagine. Choose.


Posted By: B-M-D
Date Posted: 10/07/06 at 4:10pm
Originally posted by MartyW

scenes presented.. as in performed or just excerpted from the script for reading?

10 min scene from each script performed script in hand.  Each member of the play reading committee is responsible for presenting  two to three scripts and then a 5 min discussion follows each script presented in which the presenter answers questions about the particular script.    Needless to say the more prepared and polished the presentation is the better chance it usually has in making the season.   Performers are usually comprised of the committee members and the members of our ct.   It's a fun and entertaining Sunday afternoon.

 



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BD

"Dying is easy, comedy is hard."


Posted By: MartyW
Date Posted: 10/09/06 at 9:10am
Sounds like fun... Cool Idea..

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Marty W

"Till next we trod the boards.."


Posted By: suzecue1
Date Posted: 10/24/06 at 11:07am

Thanks for your posts! But it seems we got a little off the subject! The last 5 replies were about play selection, which is not an issue at the moment. It would seem that 94% of the CT's here are elected board / appointed board run.  So, maybe that is why not so many have replied or made suggestions for my problem. Perhaps you can't relate to the issues we are having with non-active members coming in and causing major problems. 

Maybe the only answer for me is to stop trying to fix anything. Allow the splitting off of the group. Let the non-active members have their way, even if it is means losing 90% of the workers. The next big problem will be the revenue left behind. The people that are frustrated and leaving, are also the ones who have done the work to "build the bank account" the last 10 years. They are leaving the non-active members with a big chunk of change and no one to do the work of the group. I guess that's life. So, why am I banging my head against the wall?

 



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Sue
*****
So many hats.....so few heads!


Posted By: MartyW
Date Posted: 10/24/06 at 11:51am

I think any board, like any business should be constitutionally and via bylaws be the decision making body for any organization. In our theater, and most of the theaters iin which I have a membership, the general rules are.  The board has the right make policy and commitee changes.  They are the ONLY ones allowed to make financial decisions. The membership must vote on bylaw and constitutional changes.  We have two meetings a month.  The first is the board meeting, where all financial buisness is taken care of, as well as any new and old buisness.  Any playhouse member may bring matters to the board, and participate in discussion. ONLY the board "votes" at these meetings. The President has the option of recognizing none voting members if they have not requested agenda time prior to the meeting.  The second meeting is for the membership.  All members present may vote on issues here.  Those issues, especially if money is involved are then referred to the board for approval.  The general exception is on the previous bylaw and constitutional issues, and then only after they have been routed to the board, the membership at large has been notified by mail and three readings of the change have been done at membership meetings....  long winded I know.. but by in large that is our process....

Bottom line, if they don't like the way the board voted, in May at the annual banquet the can vote for someone else!....

 



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Marty W

"Till next we trod the boards.."


Posted By: suzecue1
Date Posted: 10/24/06 at 2:27pm

Yes, I totally agree with you, and that was how our CT used to run. But a few years back our by-laws were changed to read ?The affairs of the CT shall be managed by or under the direction of its members.  The membership shall be the administrative and policy-making center of the CT.? The by-laws committee chair convinced us it would make it easier to get more people involved with this wording. At that time we were all active members, all attending the meetings, all involved. So it didn?t seem like the change was a bad thing.  Sly like a fox, the by-laws committee chair knew exactly what he was doing. Now our hands are tied and we can?t change anything.  It?s hard to get anything accomplished when many a good idea goes into discussion purgatory never to resurface. If we do agree on something for a vote, the notice goes to the members and gets voted on after 30 days.  We come back for a vote and they change their minds again and it goes back into discussion. It is a joke.  Unfortunately, our board members have no real power, their votes are no more important than any inactive member?s proxy vote. Any paid or lifetime member can vote in any meeting, on any motion, financial or not. They don?t need to be active, or even in attendance at any meetings. There are no other requirements for who can vote.



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Sue
*****
So many hats.....so few heads!


Posted By: MartyW
Date Posted: 10/24/06 at 3:19pm

Are you a 501C3? In our neck of the woods, you have to have a constitution submitted and approved to by the state... Did you change your "Charter" document or simply your bylaws.. In MOST occurances, the bylaws are the day to day policies.... the charter/constitutuion is the rock solid base... If you don't have a "responsible" party/board, you are probably (not a legal expert) in gross violation of SOMETHING (can you tell)... In OUR theater, it would be against our charter/constitution to make that amendment to the bylaws, and the bylaws would not be the place to make the change anyway...  But, I digress... You have my heartfelt sympathies.. cause if you cant find a way around that, you are surely toast... (substitute your favorite expletive here)...

 

 



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Marty W

"Till next we trod the boards.."


Posted By: Holly
Date Posted: 2/02/07 at 12:37am
Generally the committee, who is elected at the beginning of every year.


Posted By: Janis
Date Posted: 5/23/07 at 11:50am
I make most of them.  I am the executive/artistic director.
Our board reviews the finances and any issues pertaining to 501c 3 (dontations, facilities, etc) 
 
But the art decisions are pretty much mine... show choices, when we rehearse, who I hire to help  me etc.


Posted By: Nanette
Date Posted: 5/23/07 at 10:53pm
I make the decisions for my theatre.  I have a board (which will eventually make the initial decisions ... ) but the final decisions will always fall to me.   I welcome any and all suggestions and weigh them carefully, but decisions ultimately come down to me, the director/CEO. 

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In a world of margarine, be butter!


Posted By: tdsands
Date Posted: 6/11/07 at 8:28pm
Our Board of Directors makes all of the decisions for the theater. Once a year we have an annual meeting to elect Board Members and Officers. This is attended by all members. Membership is renewed every year at a cost of $35. Not much money but those who move away never renew.

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tdsands @ NRT


Posted By: bbpchick
Date Posted: 7/18/07 at 9:05pm
Our board makes the day to day decisions, and then big decisions such as changing by-laws, Purchases over $5,000 ect...are made at the bi annual general membership meeting.  However to have voting rights, you must be an active member which means that you have paid your membership dues and have participated on one show (acting, crew, directing, ushering, box office one night...etc).  And you have to be present to vote.  We only need a quroum of the members PRESENT to have a vote pass.  This has helped us avoid a lot of problems because only the people doing the work and taking an active interest in the theater are having a say.  If you don't show up...you don't get a vote and don't complain about it later because you chose not to participate.    That stance has worked well for our theater and made things relative easy to get done.  I hope this helps and I wish you luck with your current situation.

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Kendra
http://www.murphysblackbartplayer.com - www.murphysblackbartplayers.com
You are NEVER too old to dress up!


Posted By: txhern
Date Posted: 12/15/07 at 4:07am
From the way the question was put I had to put other, here's why.
 
For things like by-laws it's a 2/3 vote of the membership. Big expenditures go through the board first.
 
Choice of plays are brought to the monthly meetings by the person that would like to direct them. 9.9 times out of 10 the membership agrees to do the production.
 
So while it is mostly by membership vote, there are a few things that are handled by the board.


Posted By: whitebat
Date Posted: 1/09/08 at 9:20pm
In theory, the board votes on decisions.  For play selection, I think any members at the meeting can vote.  If you have been in any of our shows, you are automatically a member (not a board member).  In practice, our president sort of runs things, and we select whichever play we can afford and someone volunteers to direct.


Posted By: mary051756
Date Posted: 2/01/08 at 7:13am
I work with two separate groups throughout the year - one middle school and one professional theater company - both is the role of Director of Children's theater - for the most part, I call the shots at the Middle School with big ticket items going through the principal, but at the Professional Theater Company - I have three board-types that I hvae to run stuff by...and then they run it by the college we are affiliated with.  The first option is much cleaner!

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“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” EMERSON


Posted By: John Luzaich
Date Posted: 4/16/09 at 5:10pm

I've seen many community theatres on this site and it seems like there are three different categories that most fit in: (#1) all volunteer, (#2) 1-4 employees - part or full time, (#3) 10-15 employees part or full time.  Most of the #2 or #3's have a general manager, executive director or managing director that kind of run the day-to-day operations.  Their board of directors vote and decide on the major issues like ticket prices, season or plays produced, basic operating policies and procedures, hiring of key personnel, fund raising activities, by-laws, etc.

 

We have two boards and multiple committees with good involvement.  I think that's healthy for the organization.



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John
cfct@cfu.net
http://www.osterregent.org
http://www.facebook.com/osterregent


Posted By: pmartin
Date Posted: 7/02/09 at 1:03pm
I am a member in a theater where the board runs the business of the organization and the members govern the organization, at least that is how it is written in the by-laws.
 
In practice over the years there were decisions made that made the balance of power unbalanced and mixed up.
 
The board made a decision that members could only be nominated for one office, though the by-laws state: "Members must show a williness to serve in the offices for which they are nominated."  It would be suidcide for any organization to have the decision making for voting made by those who would be replaced if they lost.
 
So now the board thinks it can make any and all decisons for the organization.
 
Somewhere in time the members figured they must approve all things over a budget of $5000.  This rule is not written down anywhere and it goes against the by-laws.  In practice they whould have to approve all show budgets and other items in the budget.  The rule is used selectively by the board and the members.  Now the members, who have little knowledge of the operating budget, and the day to day operations are now making decision based on those criteria.
 
It's a mess.
 
 
 



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