Black Box Backdrop: Some projects for this year

Our lit but empty stage

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Black Box Backdrop! This week, I’m going to talk about a number of outstanding projects that I’m thinking about for the theatre, but don’t yet have owners. Some of these are topics that came up in the previous board year that didn’t go anywhere, or questions/decisions that were deferred to a future date. If you are interested in helping with any of these projects or learning more, please reach out to me at

Increasing Diversity in Our Membership & Productions

For a community theatre, our membership doesn’t really reflect the larger community here in Kitchener-Waterloo. Our project “Our Stories, Our Homes,” envisioned and spear-headed by Diana Lobb, is our first foray into changing this and it certainly won’t be the last. We don’t have a specific plan at the moment going forward, but I anticipate many discussions at the board level regarding how we can be welcoming to new and different voices.

Increasing Membership Engagement

This column is the first part of this project! One thing that I’ve noticed from my mix of experiences on and off the board is that it is difficult for the board to engage our membership and gather feedback outside of General Meetings. This historically results in things like: the membership being surprised by changes that the Board thought were well-communicated, the Board feeling frustrated by critical feedback from the membership that feels “last minute”, the membership feeling “out of the loop,” and board members citing “knowing what’s going on” as a top reason for enjoying being a board member. I’ll be trying to drive more opportunities for feedback throughout the board year, but if you have any ideas or suggestions in this area, please get in touch!

Sorting Out Documentation

KWLT has been using Google Apps for over five years now, so our accounts and Google Drives are a bit messy, and can be difficult to navigate to find the information we need. KWLT needs a documentation strategy to ensure that our records are appropriately discoverable and searchable. This should, in some way, incorporate our website. The website was beautifully re-done last year, but some of the content still needs to be added back.

Revising the Policy Manual

Our Policy Manual, while (thankfully) up-to-date with policies approved by the board, could use some revisiting. There are some policies in there that haven’t been updated since 2008, and there are also some gaps in the policies that we have that could use some attention. It also should be more easily accessible by our membership (currently it lives as a Google document).

Participating in KW Awesome

KW Awesome is an organization that sprung up at the start of the pandemic to help support small businesses across Kitchener and Waterloo. They sell T-shirts featuring local businesses with part of the proceeds going towards those businesses. As a small business in Kitchener-Waterloo, we may be able to be a part of this.

Revisiting Officer Reporting Structure

The Board and its officers have a very loose structure at the moment when it comes to reporting. Most officers simply report “to the board,” but this can frequently result in a poorly supported experience. As a result, we have frequent turnover in some of our non-board officer roles. We’re considering opening the question of what a reporting structure for officers could look like, and what the expected relationship would be between these roles.

Revisiting Artistic Director Board Membership

Later this year, the board intends to discuss whether the Artistic Director role should remain as a board role, and what alternatives may exist that could improve accessibility, recruiting, onboarding, and retention for this role.

Hope you enjoyed this edition of the Black Box Backdrop! I welcome any feedback or questions at Remember that, as a member of KWLT, you have a right to attend any board meeting and see the minutes afterwards – to request attendance, agendas, or minutes, please reach out to

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