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    Posted June 10, 2010

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Record Crowd Attends Membership Meeting

By Kelly Ground,
BAAC Chair

A record turnout of 68 AEA members were in attendance at the Spring 2010 San Francisco/Bay Area Membership Meeting at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley on April 26, 2010. They were joined by Western Regional Director Mary Lou Westerfield and Bay Area Business Rep Bethany Umbach. This continued the trend in the Bay Area of stronger participation and increased attendance and doubled the number from three years ago when the Bay Area Advisory Committee (BAAC) began to focus on increasing member participation.

The meeting and pre-meeting reception were hosted by the BAAC, with a buffet donated by member volunteers of the Event and Hospitality subcommittee: Susan Reamy, Wanda McCaddon, Deborah Black, Jessica Powell, Phoebe Moyer and chairs Michael Patrick Gaffney and Katja Rivera.

The entire day's events, including BAAC's meeting earlier in the day, were made possible through the generosity of the Aurora Theatre, which donated the use of its lobby, theatre and new conference room.

The Education and Outreach subcommittee also hosted a food drive benefiting the Marin Community Food Bank, with members bringing canned food and pantry items. Over three boxes of items were collected.

At the top of the meeting, present and outgoing members of the BAAC were introduced: Bert van Aalsburg, 1st Vice Chair; Steven Pawley, 2nd Vice Chair; Heath Belden, Secretary; Brian Herndon, Michael Patrick Gaffney, Aaron Wilton, Jessica Powell, Phoebe Moyer, Katja Rivera, Anna Bullard, Rod Gnapp, Joan Mankin (Alternate) and AEA and BAAC Member Emeritus Milt Commons.

The annual BAAC elections topped the agenda. Four three-year seats plus two one-year alternate seats were open. Phoebe Moyer, Stephen Pawley, Danielle Levin and Deborah Del Mastro were elected to serve from 2010-2103 and Ray Renati and Ric Prindle were elected as alternates.

The Chair reported on deceased members, upcoming events, subcommittee recruitment and the date for the Fall General Membership Meeting-October 25, and thanked outgoing BAAC members Anna Bullard and Katja Rivera for their service. Both will continue to serve on BAAC subcommittee.

Bethany Umback provided members with a list of current contract theatres in the Bay Area plus Bay Area Project Policy productions which members can attend without cost, pending seat availability. Ms. Westerfield reported on the National elections and how regional members can participate in the Union.

Members were reminded of the annual Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award on May 3 which AEA has sponsored for the second year.

There was extended discussion on the lack of work and how members can be pro-active about educating producers and city officials about supporting more AEA theatre, thus creating new workweeks.

Enthusiasm ran high for the many projects supported by Equity through the BAAC and special praise was extended for the work of the BAAC, which has kept Equity members who reside in the San Francisco/Bay Area connected with each other and the theatre community at large.

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