"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trek (5 of 7): "Oh Glorious" Paperwork for Theatre

Whether or not the university is conservative or has religious connections, there is a guarantee there will be paperwork to create an event.

This is five of seven posts relating to my info-gathering trek to BYU on October 21, 2008.

Brigham Young University may have the most paperwork than any other place, though that is only to provide a safe place for sponsors and for performers alike. Usually each piece of paperwork is no more than a page. Sometimes receiving the proper signatures is the challenge.

I met with Naomi Davidson (see upper left picture), current BYU Storytelling Club president, so to discuss if the club could sponsor the "Family Famine: Hunger for Love" narrative production. She was fully supportive, and I thought how wonderful it was for a club that I founded to still be around when I could use it's help at this time. Things seemed to fall in place.

Then, with all the forms to be completed and rules to check, I jokingly wondered if at any moment Naomi would shout, "Stop! This is not worth it!"

From talking with the Associate Dean of Students to the Student Leadership Club Coordinator, Naomi and I discovered that paperwork would be needed for the following:
  • Official BYUSA club sponsorship of the Event
  • Scheduling the Varsity Theatre
  • Fundraising Exception outside Care Week (March 2-7 for clubs)
  • Monday Night (during 7:00pm-9:00pm due to Family Home Evening)
The fundraising exception form was considered only because I thought the performance could connect with the Storytelling Heroes Campaign. This is a new tradition by the National Storytelling Network for 100 benefit concerts per year around the country to raise at least $250 each so as to further the art. The Associate Dean of Students believed that it would make sense for the BYU Storytelling Club to want to raise money for a nonprofit national storytelling organization. However, the final say would be from the Club Coordinator.

Usually BYUSA clubs are reserved one Care Week per semester to raise money, services, or goods for causes. My February 9th premiere date was about a month before the actual Care Week of March 2-7, 2009.

Yet, it was the exception form to perform on Monday night that was "the impossible". Besides all-day Sunday, Monday night from 7:00pm to 9:00pm is considered sacred because it is connected to the Family Home Evening (FHE) time.

You may ask, "Why would that be a concern as students are away from their families?" The answer: students are placed into Family Home Evening groups with a student as "mother" and another student as "father". It is amusing when the "parents" and the 10-15 "children" are about the same ages. Someone teaches a spiritual lesson merged with an activity and finally followed by refreshments. Food is of utmost importance to these gatherings.

To have FHE more convenient, you cannot schedule from 7:00pm-9:00pm anywhere on campus. The exception is if one of the BYU bishops from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints calls the Campus Scheduling Office to make the arrangements. So for my "Family Famine: Hunger for Love" program, I thought perhaps Naomi or other BYU Storytelling Club members could approach their FHE groups and see if it could be a grand scale FHE activity also open to the public. This would boost attendance and help in regards to the professional filming of the event.

After the filming and with food being one of the themes in "Family Famine: Hunger for Love", then it made sense to have light refreshments after the performance. Besides the four official forms aforementioned, I would need to check if only food from BYU Catering would be allowed due to health rules or if I could have friends bring in desserts in potluck style. Most elementary, middle, and high schools are not allowed to have homemade treats because they need to be made and wrapped in sanitary ways. I am unsure if this standard stretches to universities.

With the attempt to keep all these forms and exceptions straight, I then received an unexpected answer from the BYU Storytelling Club faculty advisers. They did not think the BYU campus was the best venue for the ambitions and dreams I had for the event. Plus, they did not want to disrupt the Monday FHE time. Their signatures would be need alongside Naomi's and though I was disappointed, I began to think that perhaps they were right--at least about the BYU campus being the best venue.

If it was a FHE activity at the Varsity Theatre, then there could not be any exchange of money for tickets, donations, or selling of merchandise. I had hoped for this option to cover my costs in putting on the event.

Yet, Monday night was the aim as national storyteller Elizabeth Ellis would be in the area for the Timpanogos Storytelling Conference. She is one of my East Tennessee State University Storytelling Masters professors who challenged us students to create "My Finest Hour" project. The "Family Famine: Hunger for Love" narrative production happened to be my project.

Elizabeth Ellis promised to attend and to be my emcee.

Despite all the research to make it possible for the BYU Storytelling Club to sponsor me, I will now determine what other options are available to meet the majority of my ideals.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Former Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance (2005-2008)
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Performance Blog: http://familyfamine.blogspot.com
Other places to find me: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Professional Storyteller

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