Goodman Theatre’s Scenemakers Board offers young professionals the unique opportunity to experience theater from the inside out. By taking a significant role in funding and supporting new work and education programs at the Goodman, members attend groundbreaking plays, engage with actors and direc-tors behind the scenes and inspire the next generation of theatergoers. Below, Scenemakers President Justin A. Kulovsek discusses the work of the Board.
Michael Mellini: The Goodman’s Scenemakers Board complements its Board of Trustees and Women’s Board. What distinguishes the Scenemakers?
Justin A. Kulovsek: The Scenemakers Board is the young professional’s auxiliary board of the Goodman. We are here to advocate for the theater and promote new audience development. There is also a fundraising aspect to our group, but we’re all here for the same reason: to introduce more people to the Goodman. We want to showcase the quality of work at the Goodman while also having a really great time. People who come to our events do typically end up returning to see other shows at the Goodman, so it’s all about making that first connection. There are currently about 40 members on the Board, all from diverse backgrounds in terms of age, gender and race, but also from a professional standpoint. We have members from the performing arts and creative fields, corporate fields, people working for start-ups and in tech, members who work at not-for-profit organizations, in real estate, lawyers, etc.
MM: Why do you feel it’s important for the Goodman to engage with the young professional demographic?
JAK: While we’re helping with audience development, we’re also helping bring up the next generation of leaders and board members at the theater, and the next generation of philanthropists. With potential Scenemakers members, I always say joining the group is not just about whether you are able to fundraise. It’s about time, talent and treasure. It’s about your commitment, and what can you bring to the Board. Are you a marketing professional? Are you great at event planning? Compared to other organizations, we’re a small board but we make a large impact, especially for advocating for new plays and education programs at the theater.
MM: How does having such a diverse group benefit the Board?
JAK: The amazing thing about the Board is it’s really like a family. Some of my closest friends are members of the Board, and I did not know them before becoming a part of the organization. The Scenemakers’ diversity allows us to really target and connect with a number of different groups and communities across the city. For many shows, we often host pre-show receptions and other events at offsite locations that allow all these different groups to come together and interact. It certainly does become a bit of a networking event, and allows us to hear from a lot of different perspectives and get a lot of different ideas flowing together.
To learn more about joining the Scenemakers Board, contact SceneMakers@GoodmanTheatre.org.