October Board Meeting Summary

Our lit but empty stage

At our board meeting this month, we made a number of key decisions that will shape our policies and approach as we (hopefully) begin to transition into a post-pandemic world.

  • We appointed Rachel Bolton to the Board into the role of Communications Director, replacing Matt Walsh (who will still serve as Rentals Manager and Past President, and remains on the board ex-officio). I wrote an introduction to Rachel in a September edition of the Black Box Backdrop; you can read it here.
  • The board entertained the motion from the September board meeting to require vaccinations for our volunteers. 
    • Opinions of the board were unchanged from the previous month, and most of the discussion was around specificity in the language of the motion so that we could be as clear as possible. 
    • We discussed the DEI lens of this policy: specifically, the fact that certain populations (e.g. Black & Indigenous) may have more vaccine hesitancy than others due to historical abuses. 
    • I shared the results of the anonymous survey we had posted with the previous edition of the Black Box Backdrop – participation was low, however, so we knew that the responses were not necessarily representative of the opinions of our entire membership. A majority of the responses to the survey were in favour of the vaccine requirements, though there were comments that were against these requirements. 
    • After considering all these viewpoints, we did ultimately decide to require full vaccination of volunteers in order to access our spaces at 9 Princess St E and 44 Gaukel. This means that, in order to attend a rehearsal, perform in one of our shows, or attend an in-person meeting in either of these spaces in your capacity as a volunteer for us, you will need to show your Ontario vaccine certificate OR proof of exemption.
    • This requirement does NOT preclude unvaccinated people from participating in a purely virtual offering, like Telephone Madness, or virtual meetings.
    • In writing this summary, I realized that this requirement also does not preclude unvaccinated people from participating in in-person meetings that do not happen at either of our spaces (e.g. in a volunteer’s home or public space). Rules here would depend on the rules at a particular location. I would suggest that any volunteer hosting a meeting in their home be clear with the other participants with regards to expectations of vaccination status.
    • From the lens of privacy, it should be noted that we will not be keeping copies of your vaccine certificate or proof of exemption on file. For recurring things like rehearsals, we determined that our understanding of the laws indicates that we can keep a record that you “checked the box” so that these documents do not need to be checked every time, but that we will not keep a record of how you checked the box (i.e. we will record the fact that you satisfied the requirements after the first check, but we will not record whether that was by full vaccination or medical exemption). If you understand the laws differently and think that this is not compliant, please get in touch so that we can learn more and adjust our practices accordingly.
    • This motion notably does not extend to our renters. We tasked our Rentals Manager, Matt, with crafting a proposal with regard to vaccine status of renters for next meeting. This change would require alteration of the contracts that we sign with renters, so will require more time to consider.
  • Next, the board approved dates for a 2022/2023 season. The Artistic Director and her Artistic Steering Committee opted for a shorter season than we would do pre-COVID, with 4 main stage productions instead of 5. Specifically, the season opener show slot that used to audition in ~June and perform in ~September has been removed. The show slots are now:
    • Season Opener: auditions in September 2022 and shows in November 2022
    • Winter show: auditions in November 2022 and performances in January/February 2023
    • Spring show: auditions in February 2023 and performances in April/May 2023
    • Summer show: auditions in March 2023 and performances in June 2023
    • Calls for proposals for next season will occur a little later than usual due to our attempts to fill our 2021/2022 abbreviated season. You can expect the call for proposals to go out in December 2021 with a due date early 2022.
    • We are urgently in need of a production to audition in November 2021 and perform in Febraury 2022. If you have an idea for a mainstage show with fewer than 5 cast members and are able to make these dates work, please reach out to us!
  • Next, upon recommendation of the board DEI committee, the board approved a job description for a yet-to-be-recruited DEI Officer and member DEI committee. The next steps for the board DEI committee are to define and implement the recruiting process for the DEI Officer role.
  • Todd Vercoe stepped down from his role as Safety Officer. He still serves as the Building Manager and remains on the Board of Directors.
  • With all the decision points wrapped up, the board went into the discussion phase of the meeting. Here, we discussed a re-opening communications plan that was put forward by the Communications Committee, and whether or not to postpone our strategic planning meetings to accommodate more of the board members’ schedules.
  • In our standing space for discussing complaints and concerns, 3 topics were discussed:
    • Some cinderblock at 9 Princess St E is deteriorating and causing flooding/leaking problems. Todd, as building manager, committed to looking for a professional to take a look, and will report back to the board in 2 weeks. We would like advice from a professional with regards to this problem before winter sets in.
    • The Artistic Director and her Artistic Steering Committee made the hard decision to not hold space in future seasons for the productions that had been approved but unable to go on due to COVID, and this was naturally upsetting to those directors and production teams who had been hoping and preparing to bring their visions to life on stage. We welcome their re-submissions for a later season, however. For anyone wondering, here are the shows and directors that were impacted by COVID:
      • Cock, written by Mike Bartlett and directed by me, was mid-rehearsals when COVID struck
      • The Last Resort, <writer details>, and directed by Elizabeth Munz, was about to launch auditions
      • The God of Hell, written by Sam Shepard and directed by Peter Aitchison was to be the opening production in the fall of 2020 for the 2020/2021 season
      • Wyrd Sisters, written by Terry Pratchet and Stephen Briggs and directed by Liz Delahunty was to be the November production in 2020 for the 2020/2021 season
      • Falling: A Wake, written by local playwright Gary Kirkham and directed by Dani Rosenbaum, was to be the winter production in 2021 for the 2020/2021 season
      • Zastrozzi, Master of Discipline, written by George F. Walker and directed by Matt Walsh, was to be the spring show in 2021
      • Finally, Pippin, written by Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson and directed by Shannon Broekhoven was to be the closing musical in 2021
      • These directors and production teams are all core members of our community and we are all very excited to see what they choose to do next with us!
    • There was some concern with regard to Todd’s resignation of Safety Officer and whether this is a role we are required to fill. However, this role is a subset of the Technical Manager’s responsibilities and not defined in our bylaws as a required officer, so when it is not filled, the responsibilities are taken care of by the Technical Manager himself.
  • The board recognized and thanked the following people for their help in getting 9 Princess St E ready for renters over the past few weeks: Nadia Ursacki, Amelia Ursacki, Wes Campaigne, and Michael L. Davenport. The Board also thanked Matt Walsh for stepping in to help with some organizational tasks for The Devil’s Disciple while the stage manager was busy.
  • The board discussed the poor quality of internet at 9 Princess St E. A couple board members volunteered to look into the problems.
  • The board reviewed the results of a survey put out by our Workshop Officer. There were few responses to the survey, but the board anecdotally agreed with the results. Overall, it seemed that people preferred workshops about acting first and technical topics second, and Tim is planning to put together a schedule to reflect this. Any requests can be submitted to him at workshops@kwlt.org.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at president@kwlt.org, or submit your feedback anonymously here. If you would like to attend a future board meeting (our next one is on November 22 at 7:30pm), please contact secretary@kwlt.org.

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