Plan Summary 2023-2027
The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) last embarked on a five-year strategic planning process in 2016, creating a roadmap that was intended to take the organization up to 2021. However, in 2020-21, with the world in turmoil, NAMT members needed to focus intensively and exclusively on their own organizations and communities, and NAMT needed to focus on how best to support them. Now, in 2023, we’ve had the opportunity to analyze in more detail where we are, what’s the same, what has shifted slightly and what has changed dramatically and forever. Perhaps most notably, in the 2016 plan, fundraising was a stipulated priority: an absolutely necessary engine, but not a strategic focus per se. In this new planning effort, acknowledging that we are working in a very different economic environment, we have made an explicit commitment to developing a markedly more ambitious, more far-reaching plan for building a diversified and expanded funding base. We believe that in a world of multi-dimensional uncertainty and volatility, organizational resilience must be a goal in itself.
The economy was only one of several factors examined in the Environmental Scan that was a key external anchor for our new plan’s development. That analysis, which also examined programming, workforce, audiences, IDEA and community, showed a thorny complex of intertwined issues, challenges and opportunities. Importantly, it was that interconnectedness and the almost universal realization that NAMT has grown into an organization with responsibility to the entire field—not just our members—that led to the concept of “ecosystem” in our purpose statement: Strengthen the evolving ecosystem of musical theatre.
The Planning Process
This planning process spanned a year and involved a wide range of NAMT constituents, including staff, Board, donors, sponsors, Festival alumni and the broader musical theatre community. NAMT engaged AMS Planning & Research to consult on the project, and the steering committee consisted of our current and past four Board presidents plus our current Board secretary/chair of our IDEA Committee.
After reviewing a range of data on the state of NAMT, AMS recommended framing the new plan by testing the prior plan. The input gleaned from a combination of survey results and interviews indicated that the goals and programs outlined in the 2016 plan continue to resonate strongly with NAMT members and Festival alumni writers alike. Therefore, in developing the new plan, we built on that foundation, with modified language and some change in emphasis not only to align better with the 2023 landscape, but also to address areas where the survey showed significant gaps between importance and effectiveness.
The resulting plan is firmly grounded in and guided by our Purpose, Mission and Core Values:
Strengthen the evolving ecosystem of musical theatre.
To be a catalyst for nurturing musical theatre development, production, innovation and collaboration.
To achieve this mission, NAMT commits to:
- Evolve and advance the musical theatre art form
- Create and connect a welcoming musical theatre community for all
- Inspire and excite the field to include the broadest possible range of voices
NAMT is committed to a musical theatre field that includes and embraces people of all backgrounds, identities and abilities. We strive every day to nurture a musical theatre canon that reflects and celebrates the rich diversity of our nation and the world.
FY 24 – FY 27 Strategic Plan Goals
Culture of Belonging: Commit to the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) in every facet of NAMT—people and programs—and use that lens to drive action at every opportunity
Pathways: Expand and extend the pathways for musical theatre development
Community: Amplify NAMT’s role as a year-round resource and home for its members and for the musical theatre community
Capacity: Build NAMT’s capacity (financial, human resources and technology) to increase resilience and capability, and to provide resources for expanded reach and impact across the field
Objectives & Strategies
We developed detailed objectives and strategies to support each goal, realizing that these four goals are inextricably interconnected, and every strategy intentionally supports more than one goal and often more than one objective within each goal. In addition, for each goal we looked carefully at what success looks like and how we might gauge our progress.
This plan is grounded in pragmatic optimism. Pursuit of the goals will be accelerated or decelerated to balance with available capacity. We want NAMT members to be enthusiastic about and invested in the potential benefit to them and the field, not daunted by the ambition.
First, last and always, we are committed to our core values and, especially, to creating a true Culture of Belonging in our office, for our membership and across the field. As we implement this new plan, we will continue to be powered by an unshakeable commitment to our core values combined with a determination to maintain relevance through flexibility, always listening to our membership and watching developing trends so that we can nimbly and pro-actively adapt to changing needs in the field.
Within NAMT, we have begun to define what success looks like; now our charge is to ensure we are moving in the right direction by monitoring both qualitative and quantitative metrics. This ongoing assessment will allow us to lean in to strategies that are particularly effective and re-direct those that are having less impact.
Externally, we know that the landscape changes every day and seems to be even more volatile in our post-pandemic, economically fraught, politically charged world. We must constantly pay attention to changes in the field and adapt accordingly. A strong, relevant strategy today may need significant revision as the environment evolves.
As we move through the coming years’ implementation, part of using the plan as a living, evolving document is to be transparent about what’s working and what needs adjustment. It’s equally important to celebrate wins and to admit when we’ve been less than successful. By learning from errors and successes alike, we can build a strong body of best practices that will, in turn, drive better decision-making.
Upon ratification of this plan, immediate next steps will include
- creating a dashboard of key success indicators (qualitative and quantitative) that we want to monitor
- developing pro forma multi-year budget scenarios not only to assess our projected financial picture, but also to inform how quickly we can begin implementing some of the more ambitious and expensive initiatives outlined in the plan.
Lastly, it should be noted that implementation is already underway! For example, we have:
- Launched the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students in partnership with the NEA
- Expanded educational/networking components to provide a richer experience for Director Observers
- Introduced The Table Read newsletter to raise visibility of new musical development
- Re-designed our website to improve clarity, especially for those less familiar with NAMT
We are excited to continue plan implementation and will dedicate ourselves every day to strengthening the evolving ecosystem of musical theatre.
This page was last updated on 11/08/2023