My First Time

My First Time: The Collaborators

Sabrina and I at the 2011 Jessie Awards with the "Best Production" Jessie that 'A' Train won.

This project is something that I’ve had in mind for a couple of years, but wasn’t sure I could do it.  At least not on my own.  That’s where a great teammate comes in.

Sabrina Evertt is the artistic producer of Twenty Something Theatre. Almost four years ago she was one of the very first people who interviewed me for a job as stage manager for their production of Suburbia.  Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but we agreed at that point that we wanted to eventually work together. When Sabrina needed an extra pair of hands to help with auditions, load in for the cabaret, running FOH/Box Office, I often volunteered.  And when I was hiring designers for Glass City’s Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, I was thrilled to be able to hire her.  And we became friends, but still hadn’t worked together (something that was hindered by the fact that I’m now an Equity member and her company is non-equity).

We were having dinner back in July before one of the apprentice shows at Pacific Theatre and talking about scripts when I pulled out a script I happened to have with me and said, “You know, I think you need to read this.” I told her that I thought the script was funny, but wanted another opinion anyways. A week later she emailed and we began to plan the reading because she agreed – it read as funny on the page, but how would it translate out loud?

I am so excited to be collaborating with Sabrina on this project.  She has a lot more producing experience than I do but she wanted an opportunity to work with Equity members, something she was unable to do with her own company.  So here we are. Teaming up and moving forward. Finally getting to work together. And I couldn’t be more excited.

My First Time: The Venue

Your seat when you come join us in October 2012. Photo courtesy of GICS.

So we want to do a play. Now what?

For us the next step was securing dates and a venue.  Every other piece of the puzzle required those pieces to be in place first. So we sat down and brainstormed what we wanted from an ideal venue.

Available for our chosen dates.
Seating for approximately 100 people.
Ability to run our own bar.
Good location/name recognition of venue.
In house lighting stock.

After talking through our options we had narrowed it down to two venues: Venue A and Venue B.  Both have an in house lighting stock so we wouldn’t have to rent it.Both are known venues in Vancouver, though Venue B has the benefit of being in the heart of the theatre district – a more central and easy to get to location than Venue A.  Both allow you to run your own bar, though Venue A has a nicer set up for that, complete with a fridge. Both have seating for approximately 100 people – Venue B seats 94 and Venue A seats 120.

Which means that what it came down to for us was availability and affordability.  We got in touch with both venues, giving them our dates and asking for quotes of prices for those dates.  Venue B got back to us within a day: yes they were available and for the fee of $2505 (including insurance) we could have those dates. Venue A took a couple of days longer, but their response was more problematic.  Instead of answering either of our questions (rates and dates), they posed a series of questions back about a set design (which does not exist yet) and how tech heavy the show was.  I responded the same day with as many answers as I had and waited for a reply. Nothing. I followed up three times. Still no reply. I called. I emailed. Nothing.

They made our decision easy for us.

Yesterday we chose a home for our project. We went to the GICS office and signed a contract and put down the $250 deposit on Studio 1398 for October 1-14 2012. It’s all set.

We have a venue. We have dates. We will be revealing what show we are doing early in the new year.

It’s an exciting time.

My First Time: The Reading

This is not my friend's kitchen table, but you could definitely do a reading at it. Photo from the Creative Commons, by flickr user b0jangles.

So I’ve been talking about wanting to start producing for a little while.  But I’ve been thinking about it longer.  A couple of years longer, in fact.  But after I posted about wanting to, the most interesting thing happened – people came out of the woodwork to say they were interested in what I wanted to do and wanted to be a part of it.  With all that momentum and support I decided I had to do something about it. I grabbed one of the scripts I’ve been holding onto for years and shared it with a friend who has considerably more producing experience.

I asked her to read it and suggested that maybe it was something we could co-produce so that I could get my feet wet without taking the full financial brunt of producing. Plus, I wanted to know that someone else liked the play and that I wasn’t crazy for considering it.  It was only a couple days later that I got the tweet, “We need to chat soon.”

She liked the script.  She laughed when she read it.  Now what?

We decided we needed to hear it – hear actors breathe some life into the characters because on the page its a bit of a tough read. So we made some calls to actor friends, “Will you come read a play with us? We’ll provide drinks and baking?”

Last Friday night seven of us gathered around my friend’s kitchen table with scripts, beer/wine, & cupcakes and read the play. And we laughed. And laughed.  And laughed. They liked it.  Mostly. We talked about the play – the themes, our responses to it, what it would need technically to work, and the someone asked the big question.  Where does it go from here? What’s next?