Tribe. Social, biological, informal, anthropological or just plain derogatory?

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”—Jane Howard, Margaret Mead

We hear this all the time, a sort of battle cry yawped by writers, philosophers, wellbeing experts, educators, advertisers, social media, colleagues… Everyone seems to be talking about it. Labeling it. Encouraging you to find it. Using it as the end all be all solution to everything. The gravitation of like-minded people is a phenomena occurring intuitively for millions of years, but we’ve got to own it like we’ve invented it because that’s how we do in the 21st-century.


Who’s your tribe?

Where’s your tribe?

Why haven’t you found your tribe?

There, there. You’ll find your tribe. You just need to look for it. (a sort of comfort-yet it’s your fault comment that we all dearly love)

One of the innumerable things I love about Theatre is its connection; a place where any and all are (or should be) welcome. A place that builds you up, breaks you down, and makes you feel good about both. A group of people getting together sacrifice blood, sweat, tears, time, and fear for one thing. The audience.

Some people call theatre family,

Some people call theatre a clan.

Some business minded sorts think it’s a network,

But these to me are not interchangeable. Why?

I like tribes. I like how tribe sounds, even though Merriam Webster leaves me confused…


a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.

Yeah I’m not keen on the leader thing. Unless I’m directing and have to drive the boat or go down with it, I don’t like the leader thing.

DEROGATORY: a distinctive or close-knit group… “she made a stand against the social codes of her English middle-class tribe”

Derogatory I can get behind. Distinctive or close knit group! Or perhaps it’s just the quote used to further define….”she”, “stand”, “social codes”.

INFORMAL: a large number of people or animals… “tribes of children playing under the watchful eyes of nurses”

In the informal, why bother? Where is the connective tissue that holds these “large numbers” together? Nurses?

BIOLOGY: a taxonomic category that ranks above genus and below family or subfamily, usually ending in -ini (in zoology) or -eae (in botany).


ANTHROPOLOGY: a notional form of human social organization based on a set of smaller groups (known as bands), having temporary or permanent political integration, and defined by traditions of common descent, language, culture, and ideology.

Maybe? Maybe what I’m thinking here is a band within a tribe?

If you are being patient with me, you are just now asking me what my damn point is.

Students come to college to learn. Students come to college to think. Students come to college to be around like-minded sorts well being exposed to all sorts that are new. Students come to college to find their tribe. But they aren’t the only ones.

I have a tribe. I have a kick ass tribe. I have a kick ass tribe full of women warriors. I have a kick ass tribe full of women warriors who I respect. I have a kick ass tribe full of women warriors who I respect and hope respect me. I have a kick ass tribe of women warriors who I respect and hope respect me that have given their blood, sweat, tears, time, and willing suspension of belief on this journey in the costume shop with me this year. Anthropological with a dash of derogatory. 😉

What a journey it has been and thanks for joining me. It’s truly been a pleasure.

The costume shop tribe of 2018/2019

From left to right: Sylvia Adome, Anna Ripley, Ruby Daniels, Tori Parker, Hayley King, Grace Sandwald, and Eliza Van De Rostyne

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s