2013-2014: Last Year by the Numbers

On August 14th, I finished with my Masters in Theatre and Performance Studies. It’s hard to wrap my head around that fact, since I’m not walking in convocation (which wouldn’t be until October anyways), and since my peers haven’t finished. When I left my final class on Thursday I wanted to celebrate, mark the day, or at least acknowledge the ending. My classmates, blinded by the final paper still, weren’t ready so I came home and just sat staring at the computer and thought, “What now?” I know what the big answer is to that question: I’m already working to find full-time work here in Toronto, to start framing up the next phase of my life as a blend of work, playwriting, and building community.

Four days later, I celebrated my birthday. The first birthday with new friends in Toronto. The first birthday where I was in charge of breakfast (so not in bed this year). The first birthday shared with my parents via a group Skype between Austin, TX, Toronto, and Taipei. It’s quite . . . different. It was more exciting than I expected and still, I felt the old traditions morphing into new ones.

And on Sunday August 24th I marked my one year anniversary here in Toronto. It wasn’t eventful (I was at my current part-time job), but I now distinctly can remember moving here one year ago, what I was doing in those first few days and weeks of exploring the city and can now compare them to what I’m doing now.

But what does that mean? How do I mark those thresholds and use them to keep moving forward? Usually by words, but in this case some numbers mean just as much or more in terms of figuring out what last year meant.

86 performances.

Some were staged readings, student productions, dances, puppet shows, etc. Most were full theatrical performances in Toronto, Michigan, and Niagara-on-the-Lake. So you can’t say that I wasn’t out there getting to know the theatre community and the current landscape of work. It’s as many productions as a Dora judge sees in a season. Oh, and this doesn’t include the Toronto Cold Reads series or Sing for Your Supper! or two editions of Operation 24 at Unit 102. So it should be even higher.

8 graduate courses completed.

Plus one internship, two workshops, one graduate assistant-ship, and one emerging artists’ roundtable (like an extended workshop over the winter/spring).

20 major assignments completed.

Which includes a conference paper, two full design portfolios, a full-length play, at least 5 presentations/performances . . . every time I try to calculate this number, I realize I’ve forgotten another assignment. Whew!

5 personal theatre career accomplishments.

Again, could be higher but I’m just mentioning the top ones here: production of Chair with Man at MSU December 2014, reading of first two scenes of new horror play at Toronto Cold Reads, reading of Patterson’s Time at Bread and Honey in June, dramaturged a short piece Cosmopolite Unlimited as adapted from CBC radio script for June’s New Art Night, and published an article on HowlRound: The Online Theatre Commons.

Over 15 hand-written letters
(9 of which came in the last few weeks for my birthday)

It could be even higher because I had to cut the birthday letter count off at some point, but I’m sure there are a few more trickling in.
(For those of you that heard the call and wrote me a letter, THANK YOU. Responses are coming. I decided every letter deserves one in return. That’s what I’d want. That’s generally the point in writing them. For those of you who haven’t written or sent one, it’s never too late.)

And of course, 60 blog posts.

That is over one per week, go me. That being said, I’m thinking of cutting back this next year. Not to say that I won’t update or share my current thoughts on shows I’m seeing, books I’m reading, cafes and places around time I’m visiting, projects I’m working on, lessons I’m learning, et cetera . . . but it’s been a lot. Although writing helps me process life, I also think it’s time to live a bit more before I focus all my blogging wisdom on it once again. I promise that I won’t go on a complete hiatus like during my senior year of university, but at the same time, don’t expect anything weekly.

I’m not trying to brag with this or prove that I’ve had a productive year. Well, at least not to the internet and general public. The numbers are more a reminder that the stuff I’m doing everyday adds up. They make a difference, albeit one that’s difficult to see if I’m just looking at the future. Dwelling in the past isn’t healthy, but neither is forgetting where I’ve been. I can choose to honor these accomplishments and let them influence every new step I take, instead of the doubts, worry, and anxiety.

It’s my version of the 7 day positivity challenge that’s been going around Facebook. So on that note . . .

What are your numbers?


About austinausten88

Playwright in love with Classic films, afternoon tea, and Noel Coward. She recently graduated from Rice University. In the fall, she will be exchanging her English major undergraduate status for that of Theatre & Performance Studies graduate student.
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2 Responses to 2013-2014: Last Year by the Numbers

  1. Pingback: One Year Out: Positive Post-Graduate Update | gladlybeyondaustinausten

  2. Pingback: Beyond a Book Review: The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope | gladlybeyondaustinausten

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