Jennie Moser writing for Stagetime
Today, we’re excited to release Circles, our latest industry tool: a place for groups of industry professionals with similar passions and interests to share their insights, experiences, and resources, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections.
In the arts, “workplace tools” today are valve oil, reed knives, IEMs, sides, Mahler hammers, and Bärenreiter scores, and “community spaces” are rehearsal rooms, studios, and the theater — not Slack, LinkedIn, or Teams. Undeniably, other industries leverage these digital tools to create greater access to information and streamline workplace communication and connectivity.
But these tools are built for workers who complete nearly 100% of their work digitally; full-time teams who leverage these tools from 9-5, day in and day out, who track data-driven tasks, submit analytical reports, and run pivot tables in Excel.
Where are the digital tools built to amplify collaborative, creative, in-person work instead of replacing it?
We believe the arts industry can create boundless value and opportunity when provided with quality tools built to bolster collaboration and creativity. And for the record, we love efficiency, function, and analysis too — but we love prioritizing our community’s access to creative collaboration even more.
Our community has been crystal clear since day one that a digital space dedicated to the specific needs of arts industry professionals is critical for bringing our work and relationships up to contemporary standards. The Whatsapp and Facebook Groups just aren’t cutting it anymore.
We created Circles to provide a natural and easy way to communicate with your cohort in a professional setting. As our team member Sarah (violist, violinist, conductor) puts it, Circles offers an alternative to being “forced to coexist on personal/general social media platforms that share a space with all the hometown aunties, political drama, and fake news.”
Circles can be public or private, and for our teammate and oboist Rachel, “performance/school/gig-related Circles allow all important communications to be in one place, while interest/hobby-related Circles humanize us beyond our craft. I am most excited about Circles because of its ability to unite artists from all over the globe around one topic.”
And the possibilities for those Circles are endless.
Our team member singer-songwriter and tenor Solomon is “most excited about Circles because Reddit and Discord and Facebook Group Chats largely fail the performing arts community. When I want unique perspectives about which YAPs to not apply for, which brand of cello string are cheaper alternatives to Helicore, or what the classical community thought of Taylor Swift's new album, I can turn to the Stagetime userbase.”
Unlike traditional jobs, arts professionals continue building an ever-growing network of collaborators from season to season. The arts industry, in many ways, doesn’t lend itself to natural networking (not to mention it can be kind of lonely): with a large portion of the workforce freelancing, we can’t rely on daily collaboration with consistent teams, company parties and mixers for building relationships, or a friendly face in HR to help walk you through your insurance options.
It’s a place to crowdsource a new pianist, accountant, or web designer for artists.
It’s a place to stay connected to your alumni base, your studio, or your current production.
It’s a digital hub within a hub that helps you niche down and keep tabs on the industry conversations that matter most to you.
We wish we could give you back the hours you’ve spent scouring Facebook groups to locate critical editions of scores, or the times you’ve launched questions or news into the void, only to be met by an under-researched response from an armchair critic (it’s called baroque tuning, Karen).
The arts industry is a special and specific place. Creatives can build unlimited value and opportunity when empowered with tools that increase collaboration and connection, and lower barriers to basic communication.
And thus, we are so excited to welcome you to Circles. Create a Circle with colleagues or castmates here, or join one of the public Circles live in our community now. No matter what Circle you join, you’re joining an industry conversation.
As we heard this week, “I'm excited to have a place for us to exist that feels like our own -- built for us, meant for us, populated by just us -- with no distractions.”