Seasoning the Season
I find these days that I am reflecting on the words ‘season’ and the many forms it can take.
The first definition that comes to my mind is “four divisions of the year”. I love the changing of the seasons and this is the time we begin to look for spring to show itself. I love the signs of rebirth in the world around us and the anticipation of things to come. I am fortunate to travel to and from Townsend several days a week on my commute and spring beginning to show itself along the way is certainly one of the highlights.
And speaking of anticipation, this is also the time we finalize the line-up for next year’s Clayton Center Season. I am not ready to reveal all the great shows we have lined up because there might still be some last minute changes, but I am excited about how it is coming together.
I don’t know if it’s just because I skipped lunch today, but I find my mind drifting towards the concept of ‘seasoning’ the Season. This is a play on the culinary definition of this word. “A mixture of several ingredients which render a dish exquisite”. Chefs will season food to achieve a flavor they consider people will like. Even a tiny pinch of salt will actually improve and intensify food flavors. This is what seasoning is about – tasting and tweaking – or fine tuning to bring out the best in the food. I would say it also applies to choosing performers for the upcoming year.
Just what shows do we combine to make next year exquisite and appealing? A dash of music or even two, a pinch of theatre, maybe something funny and of course a little dance just ‘cause Mamma did. All these ‘flavorings’ are at our disposal to be added in just the right amounts. What about those exotic flavors of other lands, international programs? Yes, of course we will have them. Will our artistic palette embrace their unique flavors? I know mine will.
I think the definition that really suits me the best at this moment is “To add quality or features to something (our CCA Season, in this case) to make it more lively or exciting”.
On a more practical note, planning a cohesive season takes a fair portion of my time and focus, especially during this time of year. I believe the Clayton Center Season should represent a variety of performing genres. Ideally, we would also try to find at least one performer to join us each month from September through May just to make sure you don’t forget how to find us. This currently adds up to a total season of 10 events.
I typically start by dividing all the possibilities into the 4 basic areas. Music, Theatre, Dance and other. These are then sub-divided down even further. Different types of music, (contemporary, country, bluegrass, Americana, classical, jazz, international) musical theatre, straight plays, comedy, variety, family shows, contemporary or ethnic dance are some of these divisions. Much like our seasons and our tastes, we look for offerings that pique our artistic palette and offer new and exciting interests to explore.
We have some fun shows lined up. A few you won’t see anywhere else close. I know we have done our Chef’s best to put together a well-seasoned package of performing arts. I believe it is not only the individual shows that make it exciting, but also the blend of offerings that make the sum greater than its individual pieces. Exquisite? I’d like to think so and hope our patrons do as well.
I am counting the days until we gather our sponsors, patrons, and existing subscribers together on May 11 to reveal the bounty of programming we have chosen. Don’t worry, if you’re not one of those groups, the entire line-up will be announced to everyone in the days following that event.
If you are interested in learning how we bring all these tastes and seasons together for you, stay tuned for next month’s post. I will give insight on how we actually book our season and what goes into dealing with agents and artists. It takes a pinch of interest, a dash of patience, a smidge of negotiation and a piece of the budget to make it all come together.
No matter what your tastes, we know there is a show for you and hope you will explore the ways in which the arts can “season” your life.