Incite/Insight Winter 2019 FINAL Incite Insight Winter 2019 - Page 22

22 I n c i t e /I ns i ght W i n te r 20 1 9 Bridging the Islands AATE’s Charge to Contribute WR ITTEN BY MAREN OOM GALARPE T he field of theatre education is a vast, expansive, ever- evolving landscape of possibilities. A field with a dynamic ecosystem of artists working together. If this is what our field is, then why do some people say they “feel like an island?” I have heard this expression many times from fellow members. “I am a department of one.” “I’m directing this production without any other support staff.” “My production-teaching-office space is so isolated within my educational and artistic community.” No one should feel like an island, isolated in a field whose very nature is rooted in the power of collaboration. Yet, in the field of theatre education, we sometimes do feel this way. We may forget that it takes many voices, perspectives and helping hands to reach success. This is one of my favorite things about theatre education and AATE. It asks us to problem-solve together and to communicate with clarity and authentic meaning. It provokes us to be visionaries and thought leaders in an interconnected world where empathy is more paramount than ever. We simply can’t go it alone because theatre education is about the team, the ensemble. This is where AATE members have an opportunity. Share your voice with us. Tell us your story. Tell us what you need to soar in theatre education. Let’s celebrate what’s happening in your corner of the world—because we know you are doing important, valuable work. Help us create the next chapters of AATE’s story. You may have seen a Member Survey in your inbox in February. As a recent addition to the AATE board, I often find myself reflecting on the past 22 years of my career to help me define my present purpose, to understand what current members need, how they could benefit from membership with AATE. What did I need when I was transitioning out of college into the workforce? How could I collaborate with fellow theatre educators when I lived on this island and they lived on that island? (Literal islands. I taught in Hawaii for 15 years). How could I connect with teaching artists to expand arts education opportunities in my community? In this solitude of thought, I realized: I can’t go it alone. The voices of our members need to be heard in order to inform a strong strategic plan and a clear vision for the future. Member voices must be heard so we can better support and promote the good work you (we) are doing in the field we all stand in together, the field of theatre education. Maren Oom Galarpe a member of AATE’s Board of Directors serving as Membership Chair. She is also the director of the arts at St. Mary’s School in California. You can contact Maren at