I was in a sort of casual off-campus conversation with an administrator the other day, an administrator in the academic chain of command. He asked me about my summer activities, and I told him I was prepping to do dramaturgy for the local Shakespeare summer group performance. I talked about how interesting it is for me to see Shakespeare from another point of view.
And he asked me how it changes my classroom practice. I tried to explain that while I use performance strategies in my teaching, dramaturgy is more about teaching the actors to enhance their performance and such. I told him about helping students in the campus production last term.
And stupidly, I asked him if he'd seen it. He gave me one of those disdainful looks, and said, no, he'd missed it.
I'm not saying we have the greatest theater productions ever, but the disdainful look says a lot about how much this administrator values the arts, especially the more ephemeral arts.
During public meetings, our headmaster talks about going to different athletic events with gusto, but I've never once heard him talk about going to an art show, concert, or theatrical performance. I would LOVE during "commons questions" some day to ask him which concert performance he most enjoyed this year, or which theatrical performance made him think. But I fear the silence would be damaging to my future career.
On the other hand, I clearly didn't make points with the administrator I was talking to off-campus, either. (This was as clear to one of my colleagues, as he mentioned afterwards, when we were alone.)