A Meeting of the IMTAL Minds!
IMTAL Luncheon @ the AAM Conference
Phoenix, Arizona - May 7th, 2018
By Douglas Coler, IMTAL President
Arizona weather can be lovely at certain times of the year—and early May is usually one of those times. Attendees at the Annual AAM Conference and Expo were greeted with daily temperatures that hovered around 106 degrees F (roughly 41 degrees C for those of you in the rest of the world). Those temperatures are not unheard of at the height of summer in Phoenix, and although one should always expect the unexpected in any desert, the oppressive Spring heat doesn’t explain the comparatively low turnout for the conference, or for our annual award luncheon. After all, most of us had to make reservations some months in advance, and I’d wager, few us consulted the Farmer’s Almanac prior to making travel plans.
Chalk it up to climate change, perhaps. Those who chose not to come were spared the the unrelenting heat, but they also missed an opportunity to share a meal and some memories with us.
On Monday, May 7, in a quiet dining space at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix, a dozen members of The International Museum Theatre Alliance met for lunch, and to honor our IMTY and Lipsky Award recipients, Heather Nielsen and P.J. Griffith (much more about them elsewhere in this issue). We spent the first roughly ninety seconds on round-robin introductions, then moved on to an impromptu “state of the organization” report and also announced the location and dates for our 2018 conference, hosted by the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, this September 10-12.
I introduced Heather and presented her with the IMTY Award, and Vice President Todd Norris introduced playwright/actor P.J. Griffith and presented him with the Lipsky Award. Both Heather and P.J. were lovely speakers, and we were delighted that they chose to be with us in person. We all enjoyed ourselves, so much that the scheduled 75-minute event stretched to more than 90 minutes, and we were all still deep in conversation when the hotel staff arrived to gently shoo us away. We hadn’t thought to assign an official photographer, however, so the luncheon, the presentations, the speeches, and the laughs are consigned only to the memories of those in attendance.
It was definitely worth the possibility of heat stroke. Next year’s luncheon is at the AAM Conference in New Orleans, where it will not only be damnably hot, but uncomfortably humid as well. I hope that you’ll join us.
STATE OF THE ORGANIZATION:
As of May 2018, the International Museum Theatre Alliance has 127 members (61 of which are institutional memberships) across 12 countries, 19 US states, and the District of Columbia.
Attendance at our previous two regional conferences was:
2016: Denver/Littleton, CO - 63
2017: Mystic, CT - 33
(The discrepancy can be traced to Denver having many
one-day attendees from the 4 institutions that hosted us.)
That means that roughly 25% of our members attended our last conference, an extraordinary figure for an organization our size!
This article can be found in Summer 2018 - "Lighting the Spark, Feeding the Flame" (Volume 28, Issue 3) of IMTAL Insights.