Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Liz Lydic. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Hi Liz, thanks for joining us today. We’d love to hear about a project that you’ve worked on that’s meant a lot to you.
Continuing to connect theatres together and share common issues through my website, California Community Theatre, has been meaningful to me because one of the hardest things about doing something like leading a small arts organization is feeling alone or isolated. By bringing people together to bounce ideas off one another (either via surveys, article responses, or in-person conferences), inspiration can grow or re-grow, and a community can be created. I worked for a long time in both professional and community theatre as an administrator and there was never enough time in the day to do everything. That felt personal and like my own deficit. It’s hard to reach out and ask for help or to know how to get through the ongoing and totally typical challenges of a job like that. It’s been a joy for me (now that I no longer work full-time in theatre as a living) to facilitate conversations and connections from community theatres in the State to one another.
Liz, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I’ve been involved in theatre since I was a teenager, and pursued the artistic side for many years, hoping to ‘make it’ as an actor. I re-evaluated that idea and wound up on the administrative side, starting in larger theatre companies and then returning to where I began: community theatre. A few years after leaving a full-time theatre career to have my daughter (and pursue a new career with less hectic hours), I knew I needed to ‘get back’ to community theatre somehow. So, I started my website to connect organizations, and help share both concerns and victories among members. The site includes surveys, articles, pictures, and a discussion board. As often as possible (yearly, pre-pandemic), we’d meet in person at a one-day conference: this is my favorite part of the project, getting together and sharing stories and ideas.
: Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
Keeping participation in my website/membership group free is a huge priority for me. I don’t want any theatre leader or organization to be deterred from participating for monetary reasons, and I’m familiar with the truth that sometimes even $25.00 can be a difficult decision.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
I’ve had to learn, re-learn, remember, accept (still working on that!) that my vision for something will not be 100% what works; pivoting and realigning for what participants want is huge. For example, I thought that one helpful ‘arm’ of my theatre website would be for theatres to share pictures of sets and costumes, a visual type of inspiration ‘landing board.’ But that was something that garnered both little interest to provide (the pictures, etc) and to see, so visually, the website is less aesthetic than it is functional. And that’s ok! I had no idea that the conferences would be a popular and sought-after part of member interests, but I am thrilled about that. Listening and adapting are very important for buy-in.
- Website: californiacommunitytheatre.com
- Other: Check out my fiction writing also! lizlydic.com
Liz Lydic, all photo credits. All photos are of California Community Theatre conferences, from 2017-2020.