Letter From The Prez

Hi FASSies!

As your recently elected President, I’ve had a busy couple of months, and I thought I should update you all as to who I am, what I’ve been doing, and what you can do to help out.

My level of involvement with Fass Theatre Company has varied since 2009. It’s been a roller-coaster of a journey to get to this point. In my first year I had a small part acting in a vignette, and also sang and danced in Closing. It was at read-through that I met my now-husband Mark Jackson-Brown, and during rehearsals when we started our courtship. That, coupled with the fun experience I had doing Fass overall, kept me coming back to do Fass for the next few years, helping out with social events, serving on committee as a rep, and taking on creative leadership roles such as Assistant Stage Manager and Head of Costumes.

After that, I spent many years not as involved. What deterred me at the time was a growing culture within the Fass leadership that was making it less about having fun, and more about doing “work.” I personally shied away from taking on leadership roles because of that culture, and also because of particular people involved in certain creative roles whom I did not see myself having fun with. I still cared, and being married to Mark meant being in proximity to a fair amount of the goings-on these last five years. I helped out in unofficial capacities, such as providing hot drinks at weekend rehearsals, or lending support to my sister Mel. I played in the band one year, and performed as one-half of a singing and dancing bridge. I’ve even run for the position of President in the past – something I’d always wanted to do, and at the time I thought it might have been my last chance for awhile.

Fass has undergone a very large series of changes in this past year, most notably a reality check in the form of mounting a hastily put-together variety show this past February, and a subsequent new governance structure. I ran for President because I care about the future of Fass and I do want to see it continue. I also think that the new governance structure (splitting up the former Committee into two groups, the Board and Show Council) will enable us to make strategic decisions for the future. We can continue to be relevant to University of Waterloo; we started as a unique opportunity for everybody on campus (Faculty, Alumni, Staff, and Students) to get together in a social setting, and put on a show. I’d like to see us have a future that includes that original vision – though there are many other social clubs on campus, none of them are explicitly open to people no matter their status on (or off) campus. Let’s get back to basics: we’re a social group open to everybody, regardless of who they are or what abilities they have. And we’re here to have fun :).

As to what I’ve been doing so far, things have been pretty busy, but in a good way. I’ve gotten in touch with Peter Carette at the UW Theatre Centre (UWTC), and we have show dates on hold for  Feb. 1, 2, 3, 2018. I’ve also chaired two Board meetings and have lined up one for 7p-9p, November 6, at the Grad House (Boardroom upstairs). The Board will likely be discussing show budget and what time to mount the performances of our mainstage Feb. 2018 show – if you feel strongly about such issues I encourage you to let us know, and you are, as always, welcome to attend the open portion of the meeting.

However, the first part of the meeting will be “closed,” for the purposes of interviewing. We are still recruiting for a Representative to join the Board, as well as (a) Director(s), Stage Manager(s), Tech Director(s), and Producer(s) for Show Council. Apply for the Board and/or Show Council to apply@fass.uwaterloo.ca by Sun. Oct. 29, and plan to attend the Board meeting to be interviewed!   If you’re interested in any of the roles I would be more than happy to sit down with you one-on-one for a drink on campus to chat about the positions.

I’ve sat down with our Chief Scriptwriter (CSW), Jessica Schmidt, and am happy to report that the script is making good progress. The writing team can always use more volunteers, though, so if you’re so creatively inclined, do feel free to join them, email csw@fass.uwaterloo.ca to get added to the team. And, most importantly, I’ve been having fun!

I currently work on campus at International News (the convenience store in the SLC, run by Feds) on weekday evenings (Mon.-Thurs. 3p-11p, Fridays 1-7p). So feel free to pop by and say hi. I’ll usually be able to have a quick chat, and if you’d like to sit down for a longer conversation I’m always happy to have a friend to chat with during my evening meal break. If you’d like to arrange something in advance, email prez@fass.uwaterloo.ca

As for what else you can do, we’ve got a couple of social events coming up. I started organizing them on my own before I even became President, just because I missed you all and wanted to hang out with people :). Come join us! FASS Goes to “What Happened In Vegas” at KWLT (we went, it was fun!), and FASS Goes to Paintball! (still looking for people to join us for our postponed date to November :D).

We’ve also got another recruitment event for Show Council (Director, Stage Manager, Tech Director, and Producer) positions in the works for the evening of Oct. 26 in the SLC, but we can’t do it without your help. If you’ve ever done (or even been in proximity to) those positions in the past, please let me (prez@fass.uwaterloo.ca), Mark (secretary@fass.uwaterloo.ca), Jessica (csw@fass.uwaterloo.ca), or Christos (cl@fass.uwaterloo.ca) know – we are hoping to put together an event where experienced Fassies can help us recruit new ones into those roles, by being around in person to pass along the information about what they entail, likely in a “job fair” kind of event setup. We’re also still looking for people who want to help organize social events for Fass – get in touch with Mark (coordinator@fass.uwaterloo.ca).

If you’ve read as far down in this post as here, thank you! It was long, and I hope to keep future ones short and sweet. But I felt that a longer post at this juncture was warranted – as an organization I feel like we’ve just gone through what was depicted in our Fass 2012 play as the “agent takeover” – but in real life, we were our own worst enemy. Too many of us had stopped having fun. Now, it’s time to adapt and rebuild. If, like me, you want to keep having fun with Fass, or you at the very least want to see other people on campus having fun with Fass, then please do get in touch :).

One last note: you may be wondering who is on the Board at this point. It’s comprised of myself as President; Stefan Verveniotis as Presidential Advisor; Mark Jackson-Brown as Company Coordinator; Jason Lynch as Treasurer; Chris Lolas as Creative Liaison (CL)and Nadia V. Ursacki, R. Brent Clements, Anton Markov as representatives. (As previously mentioned, we have a vacant Representative seat, whilst Jessica Schmidt as CSW is our sole non-CL member of Show Council).
We have all held various roles within Fass and on the UW campus over the years. We are also very fortunate to have Peter Carette as an active company member still, who is the Director of the UWTC (the “patron” of Fass). I see us as the current stewards of Fass – we are keeping it going for now, and recruiting as much as we can to get new people who want to lead Fass into the future. These are people who still want to have fun with you through Fass. Get in touch with us if you do, too.

I’ll leave you now with a link to what is still my favourite moment during Fass 2012, and what I think the heart of Fass is still all about. Thanks for reading ❤.

FASS President, Alicia Mah