The 2nd Annual TONYC Huddle: Activating Change in 2017 and Beyond

Jul. 17, 2017

On Sunday, July 16th, the TONYC gathered for the second annual huddle, including 23 staff jokers, actors, and board members, facilitated by Tenaja Jordan. The sense of community was vibrant. 

Over coffee we introduced ourselves and talked shared the big, hairy, audacious goals we had for ourselves and for TONYC this past year. Collectively, we’ve accomplished everything from college acceptances to self care to doing more of what inspires us. And as far as TONYC goals go, attendees of the huddle had plenty of ideas on how to get more of TONYC’s work in the world. But more on that later.

After our introductions, we were presented with a challenge: to express TONYC’s mission – in pictures! The creativity was abundant as we broke into groups and created visual representations of what creating transformative action through theatre looks like. As we presented them, we realized that though our drawings were different, we were all on the same page in terms of what TONYC hopes to accomplish. Take a look at our drawings below!


After our drawings, it was time for the moment we had all been waiting for: the presentation of TONYC’s strategic plan for the next three years.

Katy led us through the plan, which included three main initiatives:

Rapid Response Forum Theatre Team(s)
TONYC hopes to create a troupe, or troupes, of actors, who will be independent of a partner organization and fully TONYC led. These troupes will be on call to perform plays at a moment’s notice in support of current campaigns and movements led by advocacy partners. The hope is to be as closely aligned to the efforts for change in NYC as possible.  

Joker Development Program
TONYC intends to expand and formalize the current, ongoing efforts to hire Jokers who have come into contact with TONYC through performing in our troupes. It is essential to our mission to be led by the communities facing the problem. The hope is to have over 50% of our Jokers be from our already existing troupes by 2019.

Creative Advocacy and Legislative Theatre Initiative  
This is an expansion of our effort to affect concrete, year round creative change through ongoing Legislative Theatre events (as opposed to just one festival a year) so that we are able to use the tools of Legislative Theatre when the themes of a play intersect with the themes of a current campaign for change.

After discussing our thoughts and questions about the initiatives, we brought our goals to life by creating short forum scenes about the different initiatives, which allowed us to fully visualize what our initiatives may look like, including challenges we may face, as they pan out in the future.

As we wrapped up the day, we wrote postcards addressed to next year’s huddle with questions about our goals that we hope will be answered by that time…

“How much justice did we get since last year?”
“How did we implement these initiatives to be as inclusive and equitable as we would like to be in theory?”
“How can we continue to make progress?”

As we look to the end of this year and to the next three years, we can’t wait to find out.

See you in action!