Photo above: Members of the Synchronicity Staff. From left to right – Rachel May Producing Artistic Director, Emma Calabrese Development Director, Maddie Mahood Marketing Manager, Celise Kalke Managing Director and Ashley Earles-Bennet Social Content Director.
This summer I made a career pivot from work within the literary world of theatre to that of management. To get through the transition, I have been collecting slogans throughout the year that are applicable to managing Synchronicity. Some are unique to this organization, others to Atlanta, and others to arts management in any market place.
Number 1: Taking a break from work sells Synchronicity Tickets
This is a hard one, but it is true. The other day, I almost canceled a haircut appointment in favor of an hour more at home in front of a computer. But instead, I unplugged and detached, and ended up getting an offer from the salon to put up show posters and distribute flyers. I also bumped into neighbors who needed a nudge to buy tickets. I ended up getting much more done for the theatre than if I had stayed isolated at home and worked. Lesson learned.
Number 2: Atlanta Influences Everything
Atlanta Influences Everything is a local, civic-minded media agency geared towards preserving and sharing the culture of Atlanta. After meeting with this business at a recent ALMA class, I realized that their name is a fantastic way to look at the world. Atlanta is a unique market place intersecting value driven work, emotional intelligence, Southern hospitality and dynamic trend making growing out of diverse intellectual artistic capital. We are stylish, live well, eat well and except for the traffic, are a city on the rise. If we who live here don’t think we are cool, who will? If “Atlanta influences everything,” then the social need to shop local, dine out local, and consume local cultural product is not only welcome, but necessary.
Number 3: Good management makes great art possible
That’s pretty basic arts management 101, but it bears repeating daily.
Number 4: We are throwing a great party five to eight times a week
This is sometimes tiring but always true. People come out to the theatre to have a good time. My work is their play. So if we aren’t having fun, our patrons aren’t having fun. Even with the most thought-provoking, heart-rending, artistically adventurous work, there should be elements of joy and fun just in getting out of the house and experiencing something new with people you don’t know. A great party takes a high level of preparation, as does a great night at the theatre. When you lose sight of that parallel and become sloppy hosts, your audience drifts off to someplace more inviting.
Number 5: Our Arts Ecosystem is and takes a Village
Asking for help is rough, and can sometimes feel like your hand is out for favors as much as it’s out for fundraising. However, villages are all about borrowing, collaborating and staying in it together. In my previous job, I had experienced a great deal of collaboration from other dramaturgs, and what we traded was knowledge, tips and connections. Atlanta Theatre Managers are an incredibly generous think tank of problem solvers.
Number 6: Daily puzzle solving keeps one mentally limber
Which is a much better slogan than “wait, what” or “oh, not this too” or feeling besieged. Good management is puzzle solving on a daily basis, removing the word “problem” from one’s management vocabulary. “Problems” are enervating but puzzles are delightful!
Number 7: Sometimes a puzzle is solved with a crowbar. Keep one handy.
Number 8: Smart, Gutsy and Bold
That’s the Synchronicity tagline. Just as my life is now aiding my work, my work tagline is influencing my life. Every day I think, “What is my smart, gutsy, and bold mindset for today?” This, along with the mental agility experience has made the last five months fly by!
About Celise Kalke: A dramaturg and producer, Celise is excited to be in her first year leading, with Rachel May Producing Artistic Director, Synchronicity Theatre as Managing Director. Celise moved to Atlanta in 2006 after working at New York’s Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare festival. She worked at the Alliance Theatre until 2018, leading the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwright Competition and the Reiser Atlanta Artists’ Lab.