A Word from Our Cheerleader, I Mean, President
By Kate Schwartz
I was never a cheerleader, but I've played one at Surfside. At least, that's in part how I see the role of President of the Board of Governors. There are no flips or aerial pyramids involved, thank goodness, just some digital Zooming now in this age of Corona. Whether in person or virtual, I've gotten to cheer on the many achievements of our very special community theatre, and encourage all involved to keep moving the ball forward. It's a role I've enjoyed playing for the last 2 of my 4 years on the Board. My term comes to an end in June, but I will continue to cheer on the new board members and new leadership as they creatively tackle the current challenges.
Besides cheering, there's some serious work that the board does in order to further Surfside's mission of providing quality live theatrical experiences and education to the community. Board committees (Finance/Grants, Fundraising, Marketing, Facilities, Nominations, Show Selection, Party for the Playhouse) work together on identified priorities to "keep moving the ball forward." As president, I got to coordinate those efforts, lead meetings, and get the ball rolling sometimes by signing contracts and other legal documents. That means I've had to ask the right questions and learn more than I ever really wanted to know about such seemingly non-theatre related things as bathroom stalls, fire alarm systems, air conditioning, and insurance. They're all crucial, however, to running a flourishing community theatre. Sometimes tough decisions need to be made, and I have had to put the pom poms down and guide the efforts of the executive committee to discern the best choice.
I know what you're thinking: that doesn't sound like a lot of fun. Well let me tell you, there isn't a group of volunteers of any kind at Surfside (front of house, set building, tech crew, actors, and even the Board) that doesn't manage to have fun. It's a hallmark of Surfside. The Board has been known to celebrate together after a meeting, go to dinner and a show together, represent Surfside at other functions, and certainly have a good time on the dance floor at the Party for the Playhouse, Surfside's annual fundraiser. Even recent Zoom meetings have included some joking and laughter. We applaud each other's personal, professional, and theatrical milestones and, most importantly, share the same sense of joy when a goal is accomplished. That's a reflection of the shared sense of mission and true community spirit that is evident throughout Surfside. The shows don't just happen without having a dedicated Board to make sure all the resources are there, not just now but into the future. Do you have talents to share as a Board member? Check out this Q & A about the Board on our website, and leave a message on our website, Facebook page, or phone (321-783-3127) if you'd like to serve on the Board. [http://surfsideplayhouse.com/index.php/about/board/purpose-and-responsibilities-of-the-board]
Everyone on the Board has a story about how they got connected to (and hooked on) Surfside Playhouse. My own story goes back to the 1990s when my (now) husband introduced me to Surfside, where he had been performing and also working on tech. I was a Drama teacher in Orlando at the time. I auditioned for one show, then another, and another, and the director was wise enough (I think) to cast me in them. It was during the run of one show that my husband and I got married. We were both in the show, but we were able to get a few days off from rehearsal. There are scores of stories like this at Surfside. Little did I know that all these years later, I would be the cheerleader-in-chief.
No pom poms were actually issued with the title of President. Even without those props, I've enjoyed leading the cheer, and will now be supportive from the sidelines as our resilient Surfside Playhouse continues to enrich the community. Please know, you're invited to join the squad.