Youness Bouzinab is one of the 8 ADF Members participating in ADF’s Board Shadowing Programme: London Edition with English Touring Theatre, Complicité and Punchdrunk.
So far, so good!
I am a Belgian, Greek and Moroccan performer/theatre-maker and dramaturg. I graduated from the Acting, Collaborative and Devised Theatre course at Central recently, and have been working in the industry auditioning for projects as well as developing my own projects.
I joined the Board Shadowing Programme because I would like to set up my own company in the future and wanted to get a better understanding of the role(s) boards play within theatre companies; what kind of conversations happen at that level, and the impact it has on the work being produced. I would also like to become a Trustee to bring my skills, experience and sensitivity to a theatre company (or theatre) whose work I find exciting and relevant.
So far, I have attended Complicite and Punchdrunk’s Board meetings and ETT’s Equality and Diversity sub-committee. What have I learnt so far? It is difficult to answer that question without divulging anything, but will attempt to be as clear as possible.
I have learnt (so far) that there are as many boards as there are companies. Yes, there is a similarity of skill sets across the boards, but the nature of the companies they represent and the shows it creates allow them to use those skills quite differently. The companies we are shadowing are all at a transitional, exciting period of their lives. It is fascinating to see them navigate that phase. The range of topics covered in meetings can seem quite overwhelming to someone unused to such meetings, but the conversations have never felt superfluous somehow.
Sitting on those meetings you get a sense that you are taking the pulse of the company, which has given me a clearer idea of what Trustees can bring to the work of a theatre company. They aren’t simply the Guardians of the Temple, they are collaborators. They work closely with the Artistic Director to make his vision come alive, not only by generating the necessary funds and interests through the connections they have, but also by questioning, prodding, challenging sometimes such visions to find the best way to move forward.
I am only at the beginning of that journey. The companies we are shadowing have been more than welcoming They have realized that their boards do not reflect our society, and have been quite open about the way their work and, more importantly, the way they think about the work. I got a sense that they seem genuinely interested in our input, which is an exciting start.
Youness Bouzinab will be on the Board Shadowing Programme until February 2020