Many playwrights know the trick to writing a play when you are stuck – start from the ending. The same principle is true for artistic collaborations. Before the collaboration begins it is wise to have some idea about a final event. Even when you don’t know who will be participating or what will be made, there should be something that marks the end of a project for participants to work toward. This is especially true for adult participants. Basic adult learning theory tells us that adults need to know what they’re getting into before they get into it.
There are two things the leader should really know from the get-go:
Will there be a final event?
Who is going to plan the event?
Poor event planning, unfortunately, reflects on the entire project. Further to the initial thoughts about event planning, the next steps go as follows:
- Identify what type of event/activity the group would like to do. Ask yourself and the other members of the group: “What event/actively best shows the work we’ve done together?” It could be:
- Public performance
- Wrap-up party with just participants
- Printed materials
- Determine the goals of the event and what you would like to accomplish.
- Share the work
- Recruit more members
- Bring the community together
- Educate others
- Celebrate the great work that was created
- Define your objectives and outcomes of the event or activity. How will you measure the event’s success?
- Audience size
- Media coverage
- New members
- Increased awareness of the issue
- Identify the target audience and event emphasis.
- Decide on a date and time for the event or activity. Do some research. What are the schedules of your target audience? If you plan a weekday afternoon reading, consider if the target audience has day jobs or other responsibilities during those hours.
- Consider locations and types of facilities to host your event Think about accessibility, the community, cost and appropriate atmosphere. Just because it’s free doesn’t make it the ideal place to host an event. Determine the use of space and or seating arrangement and capacity required for the event or activity.
- Decide who will be responsible to secure the facility and be the event coordinator.
- Are there other organizations or people to assist with the execution of the event? Often in the beginning of artist and community collaborations, it’s wise to piggyback on existing events in the community. Many communities have family gatherings or street festivals that attract an audience so you don’t need to find your own. Ensure that if you are running an event in conjunction with another group that you identify their role when determining key decisions.
- Create an event/program budget. Identify the sources and amounts of potential revenue and expenses. Revise for realistic and necessary true cost and revenue updates.
- Create an event timeline. Outline all essential activities in order from the point of initial consideration to finalized decisions to executed decisions. Ensure someone is in charge of keeping the timeline up to date. Delegate tasks and track them. Communi- cate the timeline to everyone involved in the planning of the event.
- Create an event timeline. Outline all essential activities in order from the point of initial consideration to finalized decisions to executed decisions. Ensure someone is in charge of keeping the timeline up to date. Delegate tasks and track them. Communicate the timeline to everyone involved in the planning of the event.
- Plan a program. Determine the order of activities that need to occur at the event or activity. Who is responsible for each activity and keeping the event flowing? Who is setting up and tearing down?
- Follow up. Send thank you notes to sponsors, volunteers, community members and media. Have a post-event meeting. What worked? What didn’t? How can things improve?