Best Benefit Ever: Bring a Friend
An association for theater educators and their students is making it easier (and cheaper) for first-time attendees to go to its annual meeting.
What is it? For its upcoming annual meeting in Boston, taking place July 27-31, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education is trying something bold, both to juice up the value of membership and to bring new perspectives to the event. With its Add-a-Voice program, the association offers every member who pays to attend the conference a second ticket, which can go to any first-time attendee who is not an AATE member—whether a friend, student, or colleague. The nonmember also gets a free one-year membership, so he or she can get a full taste of the association. (There are a couple of fine-printy things: Lapsed members aren’t eligible, and new members still have to pay their own way. But on the plus side, they already know someone else who’s going!)
Why it works: The approach brings something important to AATE that could have long-term returns: a fresh voice. “We encourage you to identify someone in your community whose voice has not been in the conversation, and who you believe will benefit both professionally and personally by attending AATE’s national conference,” the association says. “A few examples are: a fellow teacher, an arts administrator, a board member, a playwright, a director, a college professor, a community activist, an actor, or an undergraduate or graduate student.”
Other benefits: AATE offers a variety of benefits that are perfect for theater geeks, including access to funding and scholarships, discounts on new plays, an array of online workshops, and access to networking opportunities.