Theatregoers either call the theatre or go online to order tickets. The theartregoers may have heard about a play from their friends, seen an ad for it, or read a review. Others who want to save money and get their preferred seats might become subscribers before the season opens. However, they choose, when the special night or afternoon comes, an usher scans their tickets, another gives them their program and another shows them to their seats. All of this runs smoothly because of the skill of the Box Office Manager. Bob and I were fortunate to interview William Haltiwanger, The Williamstown Theatre Festival Box Office Manager to find out how it all works.
Theatre goers are aware on some level that many people are responsible for the productions that they enjoy. When they read their programs, however, they generally focus on the cast and information about the production. Bob and I, on the other hand, like to know more about what makes theatres operate so effectively. We are delighted when we get the opportunity to talk with some of those who do the work behind the scenes. It was our pleasure to talk with Zach Krohn, Williamstown Theatre’s Associate General Manager.
To find out the details of what he does, click on the interview below.
Watching actors perform is the tip of the theatrical iceberg. There is so much work that goes into productions to provide the pleasure of performance. Bob and I like to talk with those people whose work contributes to the production that we see. Over the years at Shakespeare and Company, we have seen and chatted briefly with Steve Ball as he goes about his work as General Manager. We were curious as to what his title meant and what he does and finally had the pleasure of asking him the questions we have had. Click on the link below and you will find out as we did about the fascinating job of General Manager.
Finding out what a theatre has planned for the 2018 summer is exciting. Talking with Antonello Di Benedetto and Kate Hyde of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, we not only learned about the range of plays and other activities the company will offer, but what goes on during the rest of the year. Antonello is Director of Audience Engagement, Kate is Communications Manager. They work year round in Williamstown to help prepare for the many activities that take place during the summer.
The development of new plays is an important aspect of the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s work under the leadership of Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director. This year, a play that had its premiere production at the Williamstown Theatre in 2016, Cost of Living, won the Pulitzer Prize for best drama. Antonello and Kate talk about the theatre’s development of new plays and many other topics. Click below to listen.
Besides producing a season of fine plays each summer, The Williamstown Theatre Festival has a range of other programs, many of which involve preparing the next generation of theatre professionals. Bob and I were fortunate to interview some of those involved in these programs. Because of the number of plays and interviews we do during the season, we didn’t have the opportunity to share these enlightening discussions with the theatre people of the future on our blog. We do so now.
The first interview, with Brendan George, provides a picture of what life for an apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival is like. Often after we finish an interview, a comment is made that adds to what we already learned. In this case, Brendan provided insight into how important each person, backstage or onstage, is. In commenting on what his experience working on The Model American meant, he explained that he had worked on the floor for the play. “I won’t get an award for that floor, but I know it was important for the play.”
Theatre is a collaborative art with many moving parts. Keeping all those parts together is the job of the stage manager. As we interview people in theatre we get a sense of how varied their lives are. Just as each actor’s experience is unique, so are the experiences of stage managers. Like actors and directors, they may return to certain theatres on a regular basis, but they are constantly interacting with new challenges, new combinations of people. Change seems to be the constant. Over the years, Bob and I have seen Hope Rose after performances or working serenely as we interview people. Seeing theatre from her perspective seemed the next natural step. As we were leaving the interview, I mentioned that some photos and links would be helpful. Arriving home, there on my computer were the captioned photos and links. Clearly, life would be simpler for all of us if it was stage managed.
Stage Management Fight Club Summer 2015 at S&Co – In picture are myself, Tracy Hoida, Kathleen Soltan, Laura Gomez, and Jessica Kemp. Kathleen, Laura, and Jessica returned this summer and worked on the Playhouse shows. Jessica was the one underneath the trap for Or, helping to making sure Allyn wouldn’t bump his head!
There are many elements that create the magic of live theatre. One of the most effective of these elements is the lighting. The mood of a scene is enhanced by lighting which focuses our attention and our emotions on what is happening. All through the production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, which is performing at the Dorset Theatre Festival through September 3, the atmosphere of the bar and Lady Day’s feelings were reflected in the lighting. In the last minutes of the play the drama was intensified by a change in the lighting.
Bob and I were fortunate to talk with Michael Giannitti ,the Director of Design and Lighting at Dorset Theatre Festival. We met him at Bennington College where he teaches. To listen to the interview click on the link below.