Season 10 Blogathon: Shelby Maticic

It’s become a tradition at Brelby to spend the month of November reflecting on our artform and how it impacts us through our annual Blogathon. This year, in honor of our 10th Season, our Blogathon participants will be sharing lists of 10 things that have impacted them, whether they be lessons or memories…or are looking ahead towards future goals. 

Today’s blogger, Shelby Maticic, is one of the co-founders of Brelby, and spends most of her time directing, playwriting, and chasing around her daughter, Aurora.

Below, she looks ahead to 10 Artistic Goals that she has for the future.


I love to write, and it typically comes easily to me. However, for some reason looking ahead and setting some solid goals for myself was more of a challenge than expected. The past year has been a whirlwind, learning what it’s like to be both a parent and a working artist. There have been a lot of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. This year’s blogathon has given me the opportunity to step back and reflect upon where I’ve come from…and to think about where I want to go.

1) Balance. I want to find my work-life balance. I know that this is a huge task for many people, and when you add in the irregular schedule of an artist…AND a toddler…it’s a daunting task. Becoming a mom shifted my priorities in ways that I didn’t exactly see coming (even if I should have). Spending a lazy morning at home on the weekend has a level of importance that it didn’t before Rory came into my life. Milestones are exciting to share with my friends and family, but the most cherished times with my family are often just found in moments of simplicity. I want to find a way to give Brian and I the time to be parents who don’t feel like they’ve missed out on time with their child for the sake of pursuing our dreams. 

2) Organization. I am a girl who loves lists. I go through post-it notes at a rather alarming rate. I keep a lot of calendars, and I schedule meetings for a lot of people who create with us. I keep our production calendar in check, and I make sure that our web site is updated. I have a lot of little tasks, and a lot of not so little tasks, that all fall under my responsibilities of Artistic Director…and sometimes that leaves other areas of my life to become a bit messy. Or very messy. My laundry pile currently looks as if I have a family of 7, instead of 3…and I don’t see myself having the time to change that for a few weeks. Entrepreneurs are often very time poor (a fancy way of saying that we’re busy…while placing value on our time). This certainly applies to me. My goal for the next season of Brelby is to give myself scheduled time to keep all areas of my life in check. To allow myself to place value in creating an organized environment in all aspects of my life…not just our primary rehearsal/performance space. I love my post it notes and lists, but I also love clean counter tops and making sure that everything is in its place.

3) Practicing self-care.  A common theme has popped up in many of my artists’ blogs, is the importance of practicing self-care. We tend to get very close very quickly when we work in an artistic environment like Brelby. This sometimes means that we give a lot of ourselves to make sure that our art is as prepared and polished as possible. Sometimes this means lending a hand with someone who is struggling, even if we would personally benefit from a few extra hours of rest instead of assisting with scenic painting or hemming a costume. I’m often bringing home extra projects, taking home laundry piles for our casts, and especially advocating for my artists. I write two or three letters of recommendation a month. (Not that I’m complaining. I love being able to help people land jobs and opportunities.) My to-do list is lengthy, and I’ve recently taken a step back to realize that I have to take care of myself in order to take better care of my daughter. I want to be rested enough to run with her. I want to be healthy enough to snuggle with her, and not worry that I might be getting her sick. I want to be able to feel good about myself, so that she sees her own health as a priority as she grows up. 

4) Focusing on limitations. This sounds a bit negative at first glance, but it’s a good thing. It’s a springboard from my desire to focus on self-care. My artists tend to set goals for themselves in regards to taking breaks, or managing their time…and then they get excited. New projects appear. Dream shows get scheduled. It’s easy to forget, and then we find ourselves running ragged AFTER commitments have been made. My goal is to help my artists to pre-plan. To ask them the tough questions about taking on too many things. To nudge them to take a night to rest when they need it…even IF the cast is going to Applebee’s after rehearsal. Sometimes self-care means going to Applebee’s instead of resting, though. Sometimes we recharge by being around our friends. I hope to help my artists find that balance.

5) Professional development. Between having a kid, and a lot personal and professional upheaval, it’s been a long time since I focused on sharpening my skills. I want to get back into taking workshops, watching marketing seminars, attending conferences, and networking with my peers. There is something incredibly recharging about connecting and challenging myself in that way, and I miss it. My goal is to get back to the National Arts Marketing Conference next year. Who’s with me?

6) Write. I want to push myself to complete two full length shows this year. One is for Brelby’s season. One is not. I have plans to submit the second to other venues…so we’ll see what happens. I don’t want to say too much more about my hopes for it…just that I do have hopes for it. Wish me luck!

7) Read. I miss reading. I used to read constantly. Plays, books, articles. It’s something that I’ve lost the energy for over the last year. This is a problem for me. I miss feeling energized about discovering new plays. I’ve decided to set a goal for myself to read at least three plays on NPX each month…and to give myself the permission to read for leisure. I tend to feel guilty that I’m wasting time, but I just need to shift my mindset. Reading for leisure is part of my self-care. See…all of these goals are connected!

8) Move. I miss dance. It’s not something that I realistically have time to partake in regularly…but I do want to learn the basics of aerial silks. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, and if I put it out into the world, maybe I’ll make myself follow through.

9) Raise the bar. I’ve found myself in the position of being let down a lot over the past season. It’s part of the industry. Part of life. People over-commit, and they have to step back from things. They get a better paying gig, and it makes sense for them to take that chance. I’m always going to root for the success of my people. I’m also always going to be frustrated when there is no acknowledgement that I’m being put into a difficult position. I am usually overly understanding and apologetic about this. I wish them well, or I simply give a one word ‘okay’.  The challenge is…this has caused me to question my own worth. I find myself making excuses for others and it diminishes the work I create. My goal moving forward is to stand up for myself. I need to be able to own the situation when I am the one being let down. It’s okay to be kind about someone stepping back from something. It’s also okay for me to express that they have let me down if that is the case (it isn’t always). My emotions shouldn’t be bottled up just because I’m the captain of this ship. How someone reacts to being called out also says a lot about them and whether or not I want to work with them in the future. If you make a mistake…own it. Apologize for it. Then we can move forward. If you can’t own it…then you’re diminishing my value and my organization. I’m ready to raise my expectations.

10) Burst the bubble. I have some big goals for what Brelby’s future holds. This includes selling scripts from our premieres, it includes returning to our roots of ensemble work, and it includes getting our work to be seen outside of Phoenix. Festivals. Fringe. And possible partnerships with friends who have their roots in other states. The world is at our feet, and I can’t wait to see where we go next.

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