Reformations: Producer

produce (v.)
“late 15c., “to develop, be extended,” from L. producere “lead or bring forth, draw out,” from pro- “forth” (see pro-) + ducere “to bring, lead” (see duke). Sense of “bring into being” is first recorded 1510s; that of “to put (a play) on stage” is from 1580s. Related: Produced; producing.”

When I was in my teens and early 20’s, I had recurring dreams of being a midwife. Even now, after having children, birth dreams of all sorts are common for me. When I was young, I took them literally, and thought perhaps I should go into some kind of doula or midwife training, but that never quite happened.

What happened, and as naturally as breathing, was theater. I have been involved in the arts, specifically theater and dance, for nearly 40 years. Whether I was performing, making costumes or props, writing plays, or stage managing, theater has been an instrumental force in my life.

It is, you guessed it, a sacred space where my love of art, community, mystery, social justice (focused on, lately, sexuality, and ritual take physical form to entertain and (hopefully) enlighten.

Over the past 8 years, I’ve taken a stronger and more comprehensive role in producing shows and festivals and it’s a place I see a perfect intersection of my drives. It’s amazing to provide space for others to create. It’s powerful to find ways to merge skill and talent into something that pushes everyone forward. It’s a damn important thing to help network people so they can continue to make art.

I’ve also used these producing skills at work for over 20 years, mentoring students or volunteers as they produce shows, or as staff members need support with events. I’ve also been bringing those talents to the fore with social justice and activism, digging deeper into forms of theater connected to dialogue and conflict resolution.

I’ve been a producer, one way or another, for a very long time, but in all that span I never really looked into the etymology of the word.

To develop, to draw forth, to bring into being. That’s stunning to me, a kind of magic or conjuring, that can bring a space and group to life, for an experience that might last a night or weeks at a time. Sounds a little like midwifery, huh.

I’m moving this energy forward in my career, and the theme seems to be this: Theater with community and humanity in mind. Social justice with ritual and artistic flair. Connecting those who need to be connected. It’s coaching, consulting, producing. I feel even more certain than ever that the intersection of social justice, human sexuality, theater, community…these things are what I am meant to draw forth and help create space for being.


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