Survivor’s Guide: SETC 20204 min read

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Every year over 5,000 members of the theater community flock to the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) and celebrate their love of theater. Whether they are actors, singers, dancers, designers, technicians, stage managers, directors, playwrights, teachers, students, professionals, or academicians, attendees enjoy 3 and 1/2 days of workshops, keynotes, performance festivals, auditions, college recruiting, job interviews, and more. With so much to do and so little time, where do you start? Fortunately, Magnum is here to help.

For High Schoolers

Conferences can be overwhelming – especially if this is your first. Though you are likely going with a group, this is a great time to explore some of your own independence and responsibility. That starts with your packing. Whether flying or driving, you want to pack light. Yes, you should include some nicer outfits and dress to impress – but don’t forget some comfortable shoes and toothpaste. The world of theater is one that rewards preparedness.

Going with a group has many perks, but it can require some extra attention to detail. Take a look at the conference itinerary and highlight events that are of interest to you. It is very likely that you won’t be able to attend all of them without Hermione’s time turner – but if your friends do the same, you can easily identify which are “must-sees” for your group. Planning ahead will prevent any frustrations with each other over the weekend and end arguments before they start.

It is never too early to start researching undergraduate programs. Take advantage of the recruiting undergraduate schools and explore more about yourself and what you are looking for in a program. If you are in your Junior or Senior year of high school, make note of the schools you are interested in learning more about now – so you remember to stop by their tables. If you want to go the extra mile, take a small notepad to record your thoughts. You can discuss these with your friends, parents, or guidance counselor when you return home.

Finally, don’t be afraid to make new friends. The beautiful thing about conferences is knowing that you have at least one thing in common with every person there. Use this opportunity to exchange contact information and connect on social media. Ours is a small world and it is very likely that you’ll run into these people again!

For Undergraduates

Whether this is your first SETC or your fifth, I am certain that it is a welcome break from your studies. Take this trip as an opportunity to remember why you are engaged in the theater community. Embrace your chances to see new shows and meet interesting people. But, acknowledge that you can grow professionally as well.

If you have registered for the job fair, be sure to take look at the hiring companies now – to gauge whose line you want to stand in. You won’t have enough time to talk to every company, so be sure that you aren’t waiting at tables for jobs that aren’t in your desired location or might not be hiring for your skill set. With that being said, you might find that there are many people with a resume very similar to yours. Find the thing that makes you stand out. If you are a stage manager, consider looking into company management – to increase you odds of finding a position. If you are a costumer, consider wearing a piece that you have constructed to illustrate the durability of your work. They are meeting many faces at one time. Give them a reason to remember yours.

This level of preparation should also be taken into any graduate school interview/ audition – as well as professional auditions.

For Our Fellow Exhibitors

You might’ve been looking forward to this conference since last year or you found out you were the person representing the company last week at the production meeting. Regardless, you have secured child/pet care, packed your bags, and are setting out to go to Louisville.

First is the thing that everyone is going to your booth for, merchandising. If you aren’t able to travel with all you are bringing, send it ahead of you and meet it there. Also, be certain that you aren’t overpacking. See the lists below to reference what SETC is providing:

2020 Exhibitor Registration Includes:

  • 10′ x 10′ back- and side-draped booth
  • 7″ x 144″ company sign
  • Draped 6′ table, 2 chairs, waste basket

Outside of that, don’t forget your promotional materials and giveaways. Check with your local printer to see if they have any discounts for local businesses or arts programs. We polled the office to decide what new item to add to our repertoire – outside of the standard pen or cup. And, while we cannot share the winner, we can share some company favorites:

  • Socks
  • Blue light filtering glasses
  • Reusable straws
  • Multi-tools
  • Flashlights

Ultimately, choose something that you can have fun with and believe will draw people to engage with you. Don’t forget to feature these items on your social media and take advantage of the conference to generate marketing material for your program or company.

What advice do you have for us?

We’ve given you our two cents, but what would you like to see from us at SETC this year? Two members of our team, Clarence and Jennifer, will be representing us and welcome your input as they prepare for their trip. Comment below!

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