Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yes, There Really Is a Lot to do When There Is No Show

I am not complaining. I love my job, I love this theatre, and I think Stirling is a darn spiffy little town to which I will completely be moving lock, stock & 500 pounds of books, in June when my husband's students are all done and he can carry those books here. However, I do find it nearly equal parts amusing and frustrating when I hear someone say "I guess you must have a lot of free time when there are no shows in the theatre, eh."

Amusing, because if you could see the piles of paper & file folders on my desk, you would laugh. And then run, crying for your life, in fear of being overwhelmed by the masses.

Let me give you a little bit of how one of those 'free time' periods goes around here when there's no show on: There's mail to sort through; invoices to be approved for payment; the Intel to be given a quick glance to see if there are any culture/theatre stories or reviews or ads we should know about; a check on the previous day's ticket sales; letters to be written to sponsors or actors or people requesting things, phone calls from agents or promoters looking for work for their clients or themselves; emails from agents or promoters looking for work for their clients or themselves - and with those emails, links to websites I should take a quick look at/listen to because they could be worthwhile; stand up meeting with Dave, the TD, about plans for the summer season I would like him to prepare for me to take to Toronto for the auditions & pre-production meetings I'm going to have with both summer play directors in a couple of weeks' time, for which I too have to prepare; email correspondence with one of those directors about an accompanist & about an actor whose phone has been cancelled and who doesn't check email, which I know because I've spent time trying to reach him both ways; e-chats with the website designer about the on-going work on the site - and then spending a little time on the site myself, taking notes of those things I need to do/write to bring it up to date; write a newsletter for the Members inviting them to the Annual General Meeting; fight with my computer about not printing the newsletter; and have a discussion about the toilet in the men's room that is acting like a bidet and decide caulking is likely our only solution right now.

And that was my morning.

Really, I am not complaining. I do love my job, and for all the silly little things we all do every day, there's also a lot of really cool, creative stuff that just lights up the heart and mind, and keeps us all happily working in theatre. But here's the frustrating part - everything that our patrons see on the stage is as terrific as we can make it, and we try very hard to make it look like it's effortlessly done. Perhaps we make it seem too effortless, because there are very few people who understand that for every two hour show our patrons see on stage, a thousand person hours (or more!) went into making that magic.

A thousand person hours spent rehearsing, hanging lights, designing sound, making costumes, building props, creating advertising campaigns, selling tickets, stocking the bar... And most of that work happens when there isn't a show at the theatre. It's the work that makes live theatre work, it's the work that makes the shows look so good, it's the work we love to do.

Honestly, none of us are complaining. We just hope you'll understand when we laugh when we hear
"I guess you must have a lot of free time when there are no shows in the theatre, eh."

Next show: Celtic Blaze with Stephanie Cadman. Some seats are still available for the matinee - good seats are yours for the buying for the evening show. And please don't forget the Youth Theatre Experience production of THE BROTHERS GRIMM SPECTACULATHON during March break. Call the box office today for tickets - 613.395.2100 (The ticket page will be returning to the website sometime in the next few days!)