When I first arrived at SDC in the spring of 2008, it was on the eve of the Union’s historic 50th birthday. The Executive Board eagerly charged me with using that opportunity to not simply celebrate the moment, but to help deepen the understanding within our own constituents, as well as the larger community, about the work of directors and choreographers in the 21st century. It was a tall order, but I was excited for the challenge.
In April of 1959, director Shepard Traube and other founding Members of SDC, including Agnes de Mille, Ezra Stone, and Hanya Holm, united to create the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (today referred to as SDC). Their commitment to the establishment of this independent labor union to represent directors and choreographers is well known, and that tale of the founding and establishing of the Union was beautifully told in our 50th Anniversary issue of the former Journal.
Today SDC represents over 2,500 professional directors and choreographers working across the country. They are masters of Shakespeare, new work, and musical theatre. Our Members can be committed to revivals or to devised work; they work freelance and run companies. They are members of ensembles, and they teach the next generations. Their work can be impossible to touch one day or stunning in its boldness the next. SDC Members live in every state in the country and in communities from Los Angeles to Anchorage, from Atlanta to Portland, and of course, on the island of Manhattan.
Equally as important to the Founders as basic employment protections was that SDC be the community for directors and choreographers. With great forethought, it seems the Founders intuitively understood how broad and diverse the Membership would become, and why that need for community would become more important over time.
In the founding credo of SDC’s By-Laws, it is stated that the broad purpose of SDC is to:
• elevate the standards of the art of stage direction and choreography;
• develop communication among the director and choreographer craft persons;
• establish means for the dissemination and exchange of ideas of directorial and choreographic interest to the profession;
• aid in the development and training of directors and choreographers;
• increase in the professional and public esteem of these arts and to develop all conditions that will encourage them.
We have rededicated ourselves to those principles, and we acknowledge that if we are to succeed, it will be
incumbent upon us to take the lead. And so you have the first issue of the SDC Journal. We hope it will be all we have stated and more.