Last August (2010), I posted an ad on craigslist in search of an intern for Blackboard. I was excited about what could come out it.
The response was more than I could have hoped... and one of the women who responded ran a similar organization in Harlem. She threw out the idea that maybe we could figure out how to work together and support each other's endeavors.
So - should I see this as a threat? Another group for Black Playwrights in Harlem? hmmm Healthy Competition?
NO - I was excited! I was sad I didn't know about her (Sandra A. Daley - Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director - Liberation Theatre Company ) or her organization earlier. Plus, I was excited to learn more.
We met and that was it. The next month, about 20 Black Producers were in Sandra's dining room talking about who they were, what they were doing in regards to Black Theatre and what were they interested in doing.
We met monthly, and by December it was clear who the core group was. There were 9 of us, all part of different Black Theatre organizations / Companies. We developed a mission and decided upon an event. Now it was time to plan...
Talent, Marketing, Website, Fundraising... we had our work cut out for us. Looking back, I don't know how it all got done.
Working with a group of producers who normally do multiple jobs on their own is pretty productive because it means that you don't have to do everything alone or with two people. That was definitely a sentiment felt amongst the group. We had each other's backs - in everything! Someone else was always there. Was it perfect and smiley all the time - no - but what is. Did the collaboration create a successful event that was talked about for days after - yes!
It's been nearly a month, and I can't stop thinking about it. We worked hard - a group of almost strangers. We'd never worked together before and that means we had to learn about each other as people and how each other worked, all at the same time... phew!
I could continue ... and I might later, but for now, just wanted to share a bit about my experience with Harlem9, a group that I hold very near and dear to my heart.