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My Summer

August 29, 2013

Since I’ve disappeared this summer, this would be a good time to catch up on what I was doing: I was the theatre manager and production manager for one of NYC’s largest theatre festivals: The New York International Fringe Festival; otherwise known as: FringeNYC. They have about 20 theatre’s and 200 shows in the festival each year, and the festivals lasts just over 2 weeks. My job was to be in charge of one of those theatre’s and of all the Fringe shows happening in that theatre (in my case, 12 shows). Here’s the basics of what production and theatre management entails for Fringe:

– Being the certified fire guard of the space.

– Being the Liaison between the people who own the theatre, the shows in the theatre, and FringeNYC.

– Supervising & Scheduling technical rehearsal and performances at my theatre.

What this means:

– I made sure people don’t die or break theatre/FringeNYC rules.

– I told Fringe when the theatre needs toilet paper, paper towels (which we always needed), and anything else.

– I made curtain speeches before every show promoting Fringe and making sure people don’t die.

– I dealt with all the crazy people who came into the space, including audience members and artists in my theatre.

– I was a glorified baby sitter on all good days.

Ultimate I loved doing it! This was my 3rd year being on FringeNYC staff, and by far my favorite (partly cause I didn’t deal with attacking old people with year like I had my first year). I’ll most likely do it again next year (unless I have a full-time job at that point), since there’s just so many wonderful people that I get to meet from working this festival. Along with a lot of fun and crazy stories that come about it. Here are some highlights from this year:

– An old woman missed her show (from a no late seating FringeNYC rule), so she locked herself in the bathroom for 40 minutes. (That was fun to deal with).

– A woman who walked out during the final performance of a musical, saying out loud in front of everyone that it was the worst thing she ever saw. (That was just shocking to see someone with that disrespect and balls to do).

– Making the dyslexic mistake of saying we needed a light bulb for one of the stage lights (Channel 8), when we needed it for another (Channel 9). Then when we had the “wrong” one, the TD of FringeNYC himself ran from Fringe to my theatre (which was about 2 miles), collapsed on the stage floor after handing me the bulb, to find out afterward that I said the wrong light went out, so he never needed to run over if I only said the right one. (He was ready to kill me after that).

– Finding out that I had a new staff member on my team not by being informed, but by them just showing up.

– Numerous fun conversations with my fantastic box office manager and my wonderful production assistant.

– Meeting and working with so many wonderful people, that I’ve now networked to work with in the future!

Outside of the “baby-sitting” part of it, it really is a fun job when things aren’t going wrong. So many nice people I was fortunate enough to have in my theatre! I loved doing this (as I’ve previously said) and I’m happy that about 80-85% of the time everything was fine! I would without a doubt do this again next year, despite the fact that it isn’t what I really want to do with my life, since I feel great just helping all those shows have the best performances that they could possibly have.

sarah sig

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