The Buffalo Niagara Partnership represents nearly 2,000 members and a quarter of a million employees in the Buffalo Niagara region.
To celebrate our members and their accomplishments, we have started a Member Spotlight blog series.
This month, we are proud to recognize a member that has played a big role in transforming the region’s arts and theater scene, Road Less Traveled Productions.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Scott Behrend, Executive Director of Road Less Traveled Productions (RLTP,) to learn more about what they’re most looking forward to as a Partnership member this year.
Q: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Scott. I’ve been to the theater before so I’m familiar with your organization – but for those who haven’t, can you give me a brief background of the history of RLTP and what your current mission is?
A: Road Less Traveled Productions is a professional theater company based in Buffalo, NY. We’re a 501(c)3 non-profit and this is actually our eleventh year of existence.
Our mission is the development and production of world-premiere plays by Western New York writers; that’s really the core of our mission. We raise our community’s voice, including to regional and national levels.
We also do revivals and regional premieres that we feel are important to our community and the current discussion in the country and in Western New York.
Similarly, in order to drive growth in our mission, we manage a strategically linked set of educational programming. By assisting our youth and young artists in their development, we ensure that both RLTP and our community benefit from quality contributors.
Q: That’s great to hear. I know that you recently joined as a Partnership member a few months ago. What inspired you to get involved?
A: Especially in the nonprofit sector, we’re always looking for networking opportunities not only to connect to other nonprofits but with businesses across the region. Joining as a Partnership member seemed like a great fit to help expand our network.
Q: Definitely. We provide our members with plenty of networking opportunities.
A: We also felt that joining the Partnership was a great way to get to know folks and spread awareness as to what we do and why our mission is important.
Q: That’s for sure! So, as a local non-profit, I know that you must face your own set of obstacles. What current challenges or opportunities does RLTP face that you think the Partnership might be able to assist in?
A: I think that the networking aspect of what you do is certainly very important. As a non-profit, we must collaborate effectively and as broadly as possible with our community.
We, of course, are always looking for business partners who are interested in sponsoring different programs or shows as part of what we do. We’re also always looking to create relationships with different businesses to enable us and our partners to reach different audiences and to address a variety of topics and themes.
Being connected to the Partnership enables us to hear about different opportunities and activities in the region; that’s very valuable to us and our community-at-large.
Q: I definitely agree. Have you had any recent accomplishments that you’d like the community to be aware of?
A: We recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary.
Q: That’s great! Congratulations! What did you do to celebrate?
A: We brought Pam MacKinnon, a Tony award-winning director that grew up in Western New York, to Buffalo. She was here in support of our production of “Clybourne Park,” that we did in collaboration with 710 Main Theater.
Part of our mission includes bringing nationally recognized talent and resources to Buffalo. When Pam and others, particularly those not familiar with the benefits of Western New York, arrive here in Buffalo, they discover how much we have to offer as a region.
As a part of our current season (2014-15,) we also just recently closed “The SantaLand Diaries” by David Sedaris, and the show broke every box-office record we’ve ever had! It was a huge hit for us and we plan to make it an annual holiday show, so you can definitely check it out next year.
RLTP’s production of “Clybourne Park”
Q: I love David Sedaris, so I’ll definitely plan on it. I also wanted to remark on RLTP’s incredible reputation in the community. What do you think that can be attributed to?
A: Wow, well thank you. From the beginning, my goal was to fill a theatrical niche in Buffalo that no one was filling. We have very carefully and methodically created an aesthetic for the work that we do.
We produce plays and create community conversation around topics in order to bring people who are life-long learners into the active fold; these people want to be entertained, but they’re interested in the issues and topics we talk about.
We’ve also created highly diverse artistic and audiences bases – not only in terms of age, but in terms of ethnicity and even income. That’s something I’m definitely very proud of because it, too, goes to our mission. Our work is a reflection of our community. The same diversity spans our staff and board of directors.
RLTP’s production of “The SantaLand Diaries”
We wanted to create a space for everyone in the community to come together to experience something and hopefully they leave our shows, programs and events, wanting to talk about the subjects at hand.
The most hopeful aspect of what we do is that discussion can lead to active, positive change.
Q: That’s a wonderful vision and I think you’ve really succeeded in creating that.
A: Thank you. We have certainly managed a lot of growth in recent years and we just finished our latest strategic plan that will take us ahead for the next few years.
We also have the “Road Less Traveled Ensemble” which is made up of actors, directors, designers, technicians, writers, etc — this group has helped shape the style of both our and their own individual work.
We want to continue to grow, but to also maintain the quality of the work we do, which we feel is vitally important. We look forward to continuing the “road less traveled” type of work that we are famous for, while carefully ensuring the quality of our programming.
RLTP’s 10-year anniversary celebration
Q: I look forward to seeing what you have in store for the future. So, are there any other current opportunities for employment or involvement with Road Less Traveled Productions?
A: Because we’re a non-profit, our staffing opportunities are limited but we are always looking for volunteers.
There is always an opportunity to volunteer to be an usher, or help staff an event, even to contribute via community outreach.
We’ll also be holding auditions for shows in the next few months and for enrollment in our academic programming. Anyone interested should feel free to contact us if you’re a playwright, actor, student, or other theater artist.
Similarly, everyone should stay tuned for more news in 2015 about our new home. We’re happy and excited to welcome even more supporters onto the Road Less Traveled.
Q: That’s great to hear! I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled for news about your new location. What would you say you’re most looking forward to benefiting from as a member of the Partnership in the upcoming year?
Road Less Traveled Productions theater
A: It really comes back to the idea that we want to continue to make our presence known and get the word out there about the stuff that we’re doing and hopefully continue to create new relationships in the business community.
Partnerships make us stronger; we know this. That’s why we’re grateful to be a member!
Interested in being a part of our Member Spotlight blog series? Contact our Content Marketing Specialist, Julia Jornsay-Silverberg.