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Theatre Washington Summit brings a tight-knit community even closer.

Theatre Washington Summit Brings a Tight-Knit Community Even Closer

Written by 
Aletta Hiemstra

“We go to the theater to know that we’re not alone. We create together so that we know we’re not alone,” said actor Anastasia Wilson at Theatre Washington’s two-day ohyay summit, which attracted over 200 artists and administrators from the DC-area theatre community. Her words resonated with the goal of the event: to create a virtual space where a tight-knit group of theatre professionals could share their experiences in the industry.

“We wanted guests to feel comfortable discussing topics they don’t normally get a chance to discuss, especially after more than a year apart,” said tech producer Ryan Anderson. 
Welcome page to the event space, with buttons navigating to the keynote, quiet spaces, affinity spaces, etc.
Five-spaker panel on re-imagining resources, featuring a chat box, Q&A board, and a rotating audience element.
Opening session with over 100 people in the audience.

Every detail in the Theatre Washington space, from the uplifting lobby music to the calming pink and teal stage backdrop, was designed to bring the community of theatre-makers even closer. Throughout nine panels on topics such as work-life balance and self producing, guests had the freedom to move into 1:1 mentorship sessions, nature-themed quiet spaces, and affinity circles of people with similar identities.

“The freedom to quickly and easily navigate into different rooms made it feel similar to a live conference and alleviated the feeling of being ‘stuck’ that is so pervasive in virtual spaces,” said Ryan. 
Guests broke off into 1:1 mentorship sessions where they could shuffle through icebreaker questions.
One of several nature-themed quiet spaces where guests could take a breather between panels.
One of several affinity circles in a circle format.

The Theatre Washington community left the summit feeling inspired by the potential of community building and art-making online — excited to return to the virtual space as well as bring their own performances into ohyay.

“Although ohyay was a brand new piece of software for most of the attendees, the response was overwhelmingly positive. For many, it was the first time they experienced an emotional reaction to a virtual event," said Ryan.

Explore the Theatre Washington Summit ohyay event space here.

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Aletta Hiemstra

Community & Communications at ohyay