Deal in the here and now. Theatre is a biodegradable art. It can exist only in the moment and then can only live on as a memory. Your production of A Doll's House will never hang in a museum and no one will be affected by it who didn't see it. There is no point in the endless, and usually fruitless search for the universal. The universal is pointless in theatre, the local is everything. Find out what your audience is doing when they are not paying to see your shows. What do they care about? What are the issues, questions, problems in their everyday lives? Read the news, attend government meetings, attend PTA meetings, read the fliers on the bulletin boards in the local coffee shops. Find out who your audience really is and do productions about them. Try to find local playwrights; odds are they are writing about the community you are attempting to reach.
Don't just accept cooperation, seek it out. Maybe the local PFLAG chapter would be interested in your production of Take Me Out. Ask them if they want to get involved, you can't wait for them to ask you and you can't be content with the one yearly cooperative production you've come to rely on. Find community partners for every show, even ones without such obvious themes. Maybe the local animal shelter would enjoy helping with your production of Sylvia? Maybe a local casino could get involved with a production of Guys and Dolls? You never know until you ask. And if there is no local group, business or school that is interested in helping with what you are doing, maybe you should go back and double check that the show you are doing is something that is worthwhile, meaningful and current in your community.
Educate, through your cooperation with community organizations, through the schools and through your own programs. Send artists out into the schools. Send an actor to work with high school students rehearsing for their spring musical. See if a middle school class would be interested in dramaturgy for your production of Big River. Offer internships, offer classes, offer to help prepare monologues with students auditioning for colleges. Don't just give help when it is requested, actively seek out places in the community where you can make a difference. Make your theatre artists into mentors for the theatre artists of tomorrow.
Above all keep learning. Keep discovering the world. Keep finding new hobbies. Encourage the rest of the company to do the same. Don't just give the actor packet to the actors; give it to the whole company. Create an environment in which everyone is a student and a teacher for everyone else. Know about the world that you are a part of and find ways to bring that world to the stage and to the imaginations of your community. Keep reading, keep watching the news, keep discovering and keep connecting the art you are making with the world that is changing around you.