BLT got going in 1960 as a membership organisation. It functioned with an amateur, non-commercial status. There was no income for any member from any of the group’s activities. These features gave BLT a good part of the character it maintained over many years. It was theatre for the love of the theatre, and the love of the theatre held it together as a large, happy family.
The conduct of affairs was always professional, with best practices in organisation and management brought into all that the group did. Way back in 1962, in one of the earliest discussions on the future of the group, we saw that there were three “poisons” that were responsible for the death of theatre groups world-wide: star complexes, non-transparency in finance and accounts and personality-centric organisation and management.
Many years later, when BLT took up the strategic planning exercise in 2005, we discovered an interesting statistic: the average life of a start-up theatre group is …. 5 to 8 years!
Managing a membership organisation—especially one with an amateur, non-commercial status—is far more difficult than managing a “company”. The membership can too easily be seen inadequate quality.
Partnerships and Collaborations
BLT’s Community Theatre orientation goes naturally with its reputation of working in partnership and through collaborative arrangements. We have often been a catalyst-facilitator, getting several players to pull together in a common endeavour—a theatre festival here, an educational project there…
In defining the scope of the Mission for itself the Academy quickly recognized the importance of collaborative effort in all its plans. We believe that the future of theatre development will depend heavily on collaboration across many interested people, and not on isolated pursuits.