Sweet Tea Shakespeare works to provide opportunities throughout all our operations for high quality professionals, company members, and volunteers. As we grow, our opportunities grow. We want to work with you to collaborate in a way that develops and celebrates the work of Sweet Tea Shakespeare in our community. You may be able to help us coordinate, design, build, program, communicate, photograph, sew, engineer, fundraise, film or work with other skills. Whatever your talents are, we want a way to know who you are and what you do so that we can reach out if a need arises.
Company membership is reserved for committed artists, craftspeople, engagement wizards, and community builders who want to engage in a long-term, cooperative, collaborative relationship with Sweet Tea Shakespeare. To apply for membership, please complete the form below.
If you have skills that you would like to use to contribute as a volunteer with Sweet Tea Shakespeare, please complete the form below.
HOW TO APPLY
You can email our volunteer manager, Ieshia West, at [email protected] with questions or complete the form below.
Company Membership at Sweet Tea Shakespeare: Why and How it Works
WHY DO WE DO IT THIS WAY?
Our company structure is the way it is for three main reasons: (1) we need help to put on shows, (2) that help best comes, in my view, from people invested in us and in whom we invest long term, and (3) we do not just do Shakespeare Plays. We also do “Shakespeare Ways.” And the medieval guild structure is one of those Shakespeare Ways, just as is lighting our audience and doing live music. There are a lot of reasons we do Shakespeare Ways, and I’ll save that for a lecture or over a drink. Suffice it to say that our company structure is an identity issue for us that is as integral as live music or doubled characters.
The medieval structure is also a contemporary structure, used in martial arts schools, a lot of churches, higher education, and not a small amount of theatre, dance, and music performance companies, restaurant co-ops, and many other organizational models. Sometimes STS champions its own weirdness as a virtue, as it rightly should, but on this company structure thing, we’re weird, but we’re not that weird. You will not see this model in Fayetteville except in a couple dance studios or small chamber ensembles, but it does exist in the arts.
Membership is fundamentally based on a developmental relationship of growth and service. Fayetteville doesn’t have a graduate program in theatre and many of its adult educational offerings in theatre are temporary. Part of our modus operandi as an organization is a commitment to developing our artists and Members in the context of their theatre work as actors, artists, and contributors. As in the expectation is that our Members develop themselves and are developed by the organization, like moving up belts in karate or attaining a new academic rank. The achievement of those ranks is not merely a sign that we like you and find you useful, but is, in part, a signal that you can not just lead the doing of stuff, but could lead the learning of stuff. And it is this learning thing that is the largest part of the new deal.
For all levels, Company Membership contains learning and development commitments.
The learning commitments look like this: for Wrights, Fellows, and Masters, the expectation is that you are here to learn and to approach our work in and out of rehearsal from a posture of learning. If you don’t get on stage after your first or 31st audition, your involvement as a Member means you’re still working with us, perhaps as an understudy or in workshops or in apprentice-style relationships that get you moving toward your goals as an artistic and contributor. This could be learning about STS and the Shakespeare Ways or about how to act in plays, or about production process, design, language, music, or about things specific to you.
Learning does not mean formal “classes” — think of this as more of a relationship of mutual and continual mentoring with goals to move you along and for you to move us along.
The point? Our company gets stronger as we learn more. You become stronger as you learn more and apply that learning in the Company.
The reality: our company’s job is to produce wonder. It follows that we must practice wondering — and that we do that with intention and collaboration.
HOW IT WORKS
We have three levels of membership.
Wrights — probationary, novice members who we are scoping out and are particularly inclined toward service and learning. Anyone can join after a successful initial inquiry. Right away, the Wright enters into a mentoring relationship with another Company member in order to set some goals for development and common work.
Fellows — permanent members, still very much in development, who are in lead service positions, who are excellent learners, and who work most closely with Masters on a leadership team, and/or provide some sort of continued ongoing financial support for the organization.
Masters — tenured, permanent, highly committed, highly involved, teaching members who have some level of mastery in a particular area, and who are still, even in their old age, operating from a posture of learning and development. These are the company’s leaders in ethos, spirit, party, discipline, and culture. These folks oversee teams that include mostly Fellows in an area of company leadership.
Included at all levels: Head Boy or Head Girl or Head Gender Non-conforming Person (you’re welcome, Harry Potter fans). These folks, selected from among their peers and with the blessing of the Masters, will coordinate the efforts of those groups and serve as deputies and communicators of needs and wishes. A Head Person is intricately familiar with the level, can orient/acclimate/on-ramp new folks in their level, and so on. They usually act as the lead on team initiatives as well as supervise and tutor more junior members. Titles here will be Head Wright, Head Fellow, or Headmaster (break out the Dumbledore hat). Ideally, a Head Person is a responsible soul who is like a good RA.
BECOMING A MEMBER
Membership is open to all. Prospective members may be invited by an existing member of the company or inquire directly with the Company. They complete an initial application and discussion with a company leader and begin work on discerning areas of learning and development specific to them. Upon acceptance to the Company at the Wright level, the member signs a commitment with the company.
Members pay dues. Dues are paid in one of two ways:
- A monthly donation to the Company of $20 or more, with the amount scalable based on the member’s desired involvement, developmental goals, etc. As the member’s goals increase in intensity, the member may need to contemplate financial dues that reflect that reality. OR
- Service to the company. Service areas include everything from production work to stage management, marketing to social media, personal assistance to management tasks, volunteer management, fundraising, and more.
Upon entry to the Company, the member will work with company leadership to decide which fit is best.