The first and most natural service offered by StageSource was a Talent Bank, essentially a file of member headshots and resumes that producers could rifle through and pick from when casting. Two years after the organization's founding, in 1987, a member Hotline was developed so actors could find out where the work was. Increased member interest and demand then led to a workshop series that covered all aspects of the theater business, from standup techniques to auditioning. The workshops gave novice actors and seasoned professionals a way to brush up on skills, and to network with each other as well as with those who make employment decisions. These artist/producer conversations continue to be a staple of the SourceSource diet.
Given its short history up until that point, it was also only a matter of time before StageSource added annual auditions to its roster of services. The organization now administers the AEA Boston auditions, and the non-union auditions have been particularly successful. "Last year, 55 producing organizations saw more than 400 auditioners," states D'Alessandro. Of such beginnings, one can be sure, great careers are born.
Yet of all the StageSource projects and services, perhaps none is more daring in scope than THE SOURCE - The Greater Boston Theatre Resource Guide, which appeared in its first edition (there are now six) in 1990. This essential book is a who's who of producing organizations and StageSource members throughout New England as well as a clearinghouse of information ranging from rentable spaces to the location of fight choreographers to the nuts and bolts of getting a good headshot.
Situated now in far more spacious quarters at 88 Tremont Street, StageSource continues to grow. Membership hovers at around 1,500, with over 110 producing organizations from American Repertory Theatre to the smallest two-person startup group taking part. The Talent Bank, Hotline, workshops, and auditions keep everybody in the loop, as does a quarterly newsletter. And recently, a webpage was launched at www.stagesource.org.
The organization still employs only one part-time and two full-time professionals, relying on a huge amount of volunteer labor to maintain its many services and projects. The fact that, for example, the person signing an actor in at the auditions in the morning will doubtless be auditioning later that afternoon has the added advantage of giving StageSource a human face. Says Lori Frankian (Executive Director, 1991-95), "People are really proud to be a part of this organisation." D'Alessandro adds "New England is very spread out artistically. Theatre professionals need a responsive information center that can address their needs and make the community's diverse parts accessible to each other." In its busy first 15 years, StageSource has done just that.