Black Theatre Network Constitution
Revised July 1, 1994 and August 4, 2009

Preamble

The seeds of Black Theatre were planted by African ancestors who nourished us with their history, culture, traditions, and spirit.  The appearance of Ira Aldridge and the African Grove Theatre of the 19th century laid the foundation for new artists on the American stage.  Likewise, the work of Randolph Edmonds in the 20th century set the stage for the flourishing of Black educational theatres, a stage which would produce some of the greatest educators of all times.  Since that time, the theatre scholar and the professional artist have found common ground in their rich ethnic culture and sought to bring that culture to the world.  This organization is an extension of the labors of those who saw the beauty and complexity of Black Theatre and researched, published, performed, directed, designed, and taught so a future generation could inherit a theatre representative of its African roots.

We do establish this organization to promote Black theatre through better communication between professional theatre artists, educators, community groups, and related theatre organizations.

Article I

Name  

This organization shall be called BLACK THEATRE NETWORK (BTN).

Article II

Objectives

The objectives of this organization shall be:

To establish a networking system with artists and scholars across the nation in order to provide an opportunity to interchange ideas.

To collect and disseminate information regarding Black Theatre activity through the publication of a newsletter, directory, and resource books.

To provide a forum for meeting, discussing, and viewing Black Theatre.

To encourage and promote Black dramatists and the production of plays about the Black experience.

To encourage research, scholarship, and publication in Black Theatre arts.

Article III

Incorporation

The Black Theatre Network filed for incorporation as a non-profit corporation with the Corporation Bureau, Department of State, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Business Corporation Law, Act of May 5, 1933, P.L. 364, as amended.  The application was approved on December 1, 1986.  The organization shall maintain its incorporation in the State of Pennsylvania.

BTN is organized exclusively for educational and charitable purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future tax code.

Article IV

Membership

Individual Membership: Any Person interested in Black Theatre may become a member of the organization upon payment of the prescribed annual individual membership fee.

Lifetime Membership: Lifetime Membership may be bestowed upon individuals in recognition of service to the Black Theatre Network.

Student Membership:  Will be granted to any interested full-time student upon verification of that status and upon payment of the prescribed annual student membership fee.

Retired Membership:  Will be granted to any interested retiree upon verification of that status and upon payment of the prescribed annual fee for retired members.

Organization Membership:  Will be granted to any interested organization upon payment of the prescribed annual fee for organizations.

All members, whether individual, lifetime, student, or retired will be extended full voting rights and will be eligible to hold office.  Organizations will be allowed to appoint one representative who will have full voting rights and will be eligible to hold office.

The membership year shall be a 365 day year from the date of enrollment or renewal of membership.

Article V

Executive Board

This organization shall be governed by the Executive Board.

The officers of the organization shall comprise the Executive Board.

The Executive Board shall be empowered to transact any necessary business between annual conferences.

The President of the organization or any two members of the Executive Board may call a meeting of the Executive Board.  Written notice of the meeting shall be distributed to all Executive Board members at least fourteen days in advance of the designated date.

New Version: The Executive Board shall be empowered to transact any necessary business between annual conferences and set prices on all publications, conferences, and membership fees.


Article VI

Officers

The officers of the organization shall be:

President

Vice President

Secretary

Assistant Secretary

Treasurer

Assistant Treasurer

Public Relations Officer

Membership Chair

Parliamentarian

Immediate Past President

Undergraduate Student Liaison

Graduate Student Liaison


Article VII

Terms and Succession of Officers

The President shall be elected for a two-year term.  At the end of the President’s term, he/she will automatically advance to the office of Immediate Past President for a two-year term.

The Vice President shall be elected for a two-year term.  At the end of the Vice President’s term, he/she will automatically advance to the Office of President.

The Secretary, Treasurer, Public Relations Officer, Membership Chair, Parliamentarian, Undergraduate Student Liaison, and Graduate Student Liaison shall be elected for two year terms.

All Assistant Officers shall be elected for two-year terms and automatically advance to the office they were elected to assist.

The term of office for all officers will coincide with the fiscal year.  All officers must be current members of the Black Theatre Network.

Article VIII

Standing Committees

Standing Committees shall be:

Conference Committee

Special Projects Committee

The Standing Committees shall be appointed by the President at the annual conference.  Each committee shall give a status report at the annual conference.

Article IX

Conferences

An annual conference shall be held at a time and place selected by the membership.

Notice stating the purpose, place, date, and time of the next annual meeting shall be given at the annual conference.

All members are entitled to attend the annual conference, upon payment of a conference fee.

Article X

Voting

In order to transact business at the annual conference, ten percent of the voting membership must be present.

Written notice of all matters to be voted upon at conference shall be given to the membership no less than twenty-one days before the designated conference date.

In the event that a member is unable to attend the annual conference, he/she may vote by contacting the Assistant Secretary and securing an absentee ballot.  Absentee ballots must be in the hands of the Assistant Secretary when the votes are tabulated.

Article XI

Amendments

Amendments to the Constitution and its Bylaws may be made by no less than two-thirds of those voting (in person or by absentee ballot) at the annual conference of the organization or by mail, provided the proposed amendment(s) has been disseminated to all of the voting members at least sixty days prior to the beginning of the annual conference.  All amendments so authorized shall become effective immediately following approval unless the amendment includes a specific date of implementation.

Article XII

Fiscal Year

The fiscal year for the organization shall begin on October 1 of each calendar year and end on September 30 of the following calendar year.

Article XIII

Books and Records

The organization shall keep correct and complete books and records of accounts and shall also keep minutes of the proceedings of its annual conferences and Executive Board meetings.  All books and records of the organization may be inspected by any member for any purpose at a time agreed upon by the parties involved.

Article XIV

Rules of Order

All meetings of the organization shall be conducted according to the revised edition of Robert’s Rules of Order unless it is in conflict with the Constitution.

Article XV

Impeachment

Any officer failing to fulfill his/her duties may be impeached by a majority of the members voting (in person or by absentee ballot).

Article XVI

Use of Net Earnings

No part of the net earnings of the organization shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to it’s members, trustees, officers, or other private persons.  No substantial part of the activities of the organization shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the organization shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this document, the organization shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by an organization exempt from federal tax code, or (b) by an organization, contributions to which are deductible under section 170 (c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

Article XVII

Dissolution

Upon the dissolution of the organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to state or local government, for a public purpose.  Any such assets not disposed of shall be disposed by the Court of Common Pleas of the county in which the principal office of the organization is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.

Article XVIII

Activities

The Black Theatre Network shall conduct the following activities:

1.  Publish a quarterly newsletter, entitled BTNews.

2.  Publish and sell a directory of Black theatre artists and organizations, entitled The Black Theatre Directory.

3.  Publish and sell a listing of dissertations on Black Theatre, entitled Dissertations Concerning Black Theatre.

4.  Publish and sell a listing of jobs related to Black Theatre or the entertainment world, in general, entitled Minority Job Bulletin.

5.  Hold an annual conference to conduct the annual business meeting and other activities which may include lectures, panels/ workshops, and performances.

6.  Hold an annual Young Scholar’s Competition for undergraduate and graduate students.

7.  Sell official organization T-shirts and memorabilia.

8.  Sell advertisements of job listings and Black interest related activities to be published in BTNews and the Minority Job Bulletin.

9.  Sell mailing labels from membership lists and The Black Theatre Directory.

10.  Publish and sell a catalog of plays by Black authors entitled Black Voices.

Any future activities approved by this organization shall be amended to the Constitution.


Article XIX

Membership List and Publications

The membership list and publications are the sole property of BTN.  No portion of it, label or directory format, may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, including computers, without written permission from BTN.

 

 

 


Bylaws

Duties of the Officers

The President:

To preside over the proceedings at the annual conference.

To coordinate all activities of the organization through other officers and committees.

To conduct business for the organization when the Executive Committee is not in session.

To prepare an annual budget in consultation with the Treasurer and Vice President to be presented to the membership at the annual conference.

To give a report to the membership in each issue of BTNews.

To give a status report to the membership at the annual conference.

To appoint BTN Consultant(s) and Archivist.

To appoint committees necessary for the operation of the organization.

To appoint persons to vacancies that may arise in offices.

To serve as ex officio Chair of all committees.

To disseminate monthly status reports to the officers.

The Vice President:

To function as President when the President is unable to do so.

To aid the President in the administration of the organization.

To consult with the President in preparing an annual budget.

To Chair the conference Committee for the organization.

To be responsible for the nomination and election of officers.

To send the President a monthly report of BTN activities.

The Secretary:

To be responsible for all minutes during business meetings at the annual conference and Executive meetings.

To be responsible for the dissemination of all notices and minutes of official meetings.

To send the President a monthly report of BTN activities.

The Assistant Secretary:

To assist the Secretary in disseminating all notices and minutes of official meetings.

To provide and administer all absentee ballots.

To function as Secretary when the Secretary is unable to do so.

To assist the Vice President with the nomination and election of officers.

To send the President a monthly report of BTN activities.

The Treasurer:

To be responsible for all the financial transactions of the organization.

To collect, deposit, invest and disperse all funds, as authorized by the Executive Board.

To keep a record of all financial transactions of the organization.

To give a written report of the organization’s financial status at the annual conference.

To consult with the President in preparing an annual budget.

To provide a quarterly financial statement to the Executive Committee.

To send the President a monthly report of BTN activities.

The Assistant Treasurer:

To explore sources of revenue for the organization.

To assist the Treasurer in record keeping.

To assist the Vice President with the nomination and election of officers.

To send the President a monthly report of BTN activities.

The Membership Chair:

To keep a record of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all members.

To inaugurate policies concerning membership.

To report the state of the membership at the annual Conference.

To send the President a monthly report of BTN activities.

The Public Relations Officer:

To devise and implement all marketing and promotional strategies to publicize BTN and its activities.  This includes, but is not limited to, creating press releases and other news items on BTN activities, the responsibility for press conferences, and all external BTN advertising.

To coordinate the public exposure of BTN during any festival or conference that BTN holds in conjunction with another organization.

To negotiate the sale of advertising space in BTN publications.

To be responsible for the quality and appearance of all publicity items representing the Black Theatre Network.

To prepare an annual marketing/ public relations budget one month prior to the end of the current fiscal year.

To attend and write articles based on all Executive Board meetings and conference activities for publication in the next issue of BTNews.

To send the President a monthly report of BTN activities.

The Parliamentarian:

To advise the organization on legal and procedural matters.

To inform the organization of Robert’s Rules of Order and proper procedure as prescribed by the Articles and Bylaws of the BTN Constitution at the annual conference andExecutive Meetings.

To monitor the attendance of membership at business meetings.

To provide a monthly status report to the President.

The Immediate Past President:

To advise the Executive Committee on BTN’s history, policies, and procedures.

To perform other duties as appointed by the President.

To provide a monthly status report to the President.

The Executive Board:

To advise and assist any officer or any committee member in the implementation of his/her duties.

To initiate and interpret organization policies and programs.

To act as the Budget Committee.

To extend the Network nationally and internationally by making and maintaining contacts with non-member individuals and organizations.

To report to the membership at the annual conference.

To disseminate information regarding other conferences.


Committees

The Conference Committee:

To plan and oversee all activities at the annual conference.

To advise the Public Relations Officer on the revision of BTN’s membership and conference brochure.

To solicit and maintain information about future and past panel discussions.

To report to the membership at the annual conference the suggested panels for the upcoming conference.

To include the Executive Board.

The Special Projects Committee:

To undertake projects deemed necessary by the Executive Committee.

To undertake projects deemed necessary by the President.