Written by 11:58 am Devious News, Smitten • 7 Comments

Tools For Theatre Companies: A Forum

We’re approaching three years together as a theatre company.

Three years of meetings, chats, planning, finance, funding, arguments, resolving arguments, advertising, pimping (of shows, not cast members), tea drinking, writing, scripting, lighting, directing…

We’re often asked how we do it. A conversation yesterday threw up the suggestion that we’re setting trends in certain areas. Far be it from us to believe we’re setting trends, but we feel we’re making good use of the tools at our disposal. Tools that are at everyone’s disposal, if they know how to find them.

As such, we’re giving you some insight as to how we work together as a company both online and offline.

We’re all busy. We’re all working on other projects – Ross is tied up with his photography, working on Vultures and Kilkenny Music; I’m (Ken) running my own business and also heavily tied up with Kilkenny Music and getting My Music off the ground while churning out podcasts to beat the band; John is looking after Mycrofilms and their headline project Vultures; Kevin, now living in Kilkenny again is working day in day out; Niamh is studying theatre in college and Paddy, outside of his design work and living away from Kilkenny, is writing for the Vultures series with Mycrofilms.

As interconnected as we all our in our day-to-day work, we’ve got to stay connected as a theatre company, something which wouldn’t have happened without the use of “the forum”.

Many a conversation over the past two years has finished with “we’ll catch up on the forum” or “it’s on the forum”.

“The Forum”, in our case is an online message board installed on a server we all have access to. Not only do the committee of deviants have access to it but every show gets a dedicated cast, crew and staff message board as well.

In an age where everything is online and everyone has a mobile phone, having a central access point like a forum is vital for the continued success of Devious Theatre. So much so that the use of the forum for discussing and planning internal projects and deadlines was so helpful that it soon became a must for other groups we’re involved with as well once people could see how useful it was.

Your current web host may provide you with free forum facilities to add into your own account. We opted to install a copy of PHPbb on an account for ourselves and haven’t looked back since. When conversations, ideas, scripts, suggestions for plays, contact numbers for cast members, lighting guys, sound guys all have to be logged and archived, a forum is a great place to do it.

Here’s some suggestions for free forum software that may be useful for your theatre company.

While we’re sticking with phpBB, Wikipedia also has a good list of forum software for you to check out and compare.

Update: Check out this comment from Jess at New Leaf Theatre in Chicago to see how they’re using forums for their day-to-day connectivity.

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