“A birds-eye view of my life here at OSF” from Sam White

In Administration, Fellowship, Paul Nicholson Arts Management, Producing, Uncategorized on May 3, 2017 at 6:24 AM

FAIR Week 4The start of the week was a bit sad for me as I was feeling extremely homesick and a bit worried about the operations of my home theatre. It is truly a challenge being away from my elderly parents, my adorable nephew and my Shakespeare tribe in Detroit. The homesickness was intensified by my birthday which I celebrated this week. My new years are opportunities for me to reflect on where I am and where I want to see myself go, personally and professionally. But, here’s where the sadness of being thousands of miles away from home and in a different time zone waned: I didn’t have to go about my personal and professional reflections alone this year. I was able to tap into the knowledge, experiences and generous spirits of some of the women in leadership here on campus at OSF. One of them in particular called me into her office and called me out on my overzealous workload. She realized from a previous conversation that I am wearing myself thin at my home theatre. I have some help, but not enough, and the cost of being the fundraiser, the grant writer, the project manager, the bookkeeper and a lot of other things in between is costly. She reminded me of the importance of self-care – something I truly haven’t done regularly in the five years I have been building a Shakespeare company in the D. She also reminded me that while it is noble to want to give back to others, I matter in the equation of my life and my needs and wants are important. I had totally forgotten that. There isn’t a ton of time to think about myself when I am planning seasons, raising money and trying to find the resources to keep a dream alive. My conversation with this amazing woman was just what I needed to hear in this new year of life. I am so proud of the work I have done at home and I hope to continue the mission for Shakespeare for all but, I can’t lie, it’s no longer my greatest priority anymore – I am. If I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of my elderly parents, I can’t play with my sweet nephew and I definitely can’t run an organization.

There are many great aspects of my OSF fellowship. The access and information that I have available to me are mind blowing. The caliber of artists, designers and technicians here are next level. I remember walking on top of the Thomas Theatre the other day and looking down, thinking to myself how incredible the magic of repertory theatre is and how lucky I am to be here, and the beauty and complexity of living, breathing art. But the greatest gift of this FAIR experience are the people here who want you to become the best version of yourself – from members of my cohort to the company artists and administrators. Being in Detroit meant that I never had the opportunity to fully assess my life because I was in the throes of what I felt I needed to do to contribute to making my hometown better. I needed to get away to learn how I can better serve it or, better yet, serve myself. I have learned a lot and there is more knowledge and experience to come over the next few months of the 2017 season. But what has been the most impactful is the reminder that I matter, and as much as I love him, Shakespeare does not negate that.


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