The Stage Manager: long the un-sung hero of the theatre. And it’s time someone did some singing. Technical expertise, a will to get everything little thing perfect every single night, a precise eye for detail and the patience of Job are the requirements for this position, and we couldn’t live without them. We have a wise saying in my company: “The Stage Manager never pays for a drink”.
We were fortunate enough to find Jill at exactly the right time for our last production, and as a unit completely fell in love with her. Able to handle – to quote Peter Birnie – “enough technical cues to power a big Broadway show”, she also managed to keep us all in a good mood throughout through her sheer effervescence.
Jill, take it away…
1. In one word, describe your present condition.
2. In any length of text, describe the present condition of the Vancouver theatre scene.
I feel this is the time to be involved in Vancouver theatre. The culture of recognizing independent theatre as something to see and to enjoy is growing. I would like to see Vancouver become more like New York in the sense of having a lot of theatre going on at one time and ongoing shows. I think this idea is possible, we as artists just need to be patient and wait until the consumers of theatre catch up to this idea. Theatre should be just as affordable and assessable as going to a movie. This is what Vancouver theatre should strive for.
3. What’s your ‘how I fell in love with theatre’ story?
I think I was born in love with Theatre, but as a young child my parents would take me to see theatre shows and I would fall in love more and more. Through out my life I have had great theatre teachers that have inspired me and make me realize what is possible, and to challenge myself. This has made me fall in love with theatre more each day. I fell in love with Stage Managing when I realized that it incorporated a bit of all the aspects of theatre that my knowledge had to be strong, not just with one aspect but all.
4. Please finish this sentence: “The SM is the most important person on a production because…”
She keeps things organized and is the in between from the director to the designers. Makes sure the actual performances run smoothly.
One of my theatre beliefs is that everyone is the most important on a production. We all have to work together to achieve the final result.
5. Describe your ideal career trajectory.
It would be to continue Stage Managing, and be able to direct someday.
6. What is your proudest career moment to date?
My first show out of university was very tech heavy and I was recognized for it in a review in the Vancouver Sun by Peter Birnie.
7. Where is the next generation of theatre techs going to come from?
Capilano College and Douglas College are putting out some great theatre techs.
8. What is your #1 theatre pet peeve?
Audience members who arrive late and still want to be admitted, as well as impatience.
9. What would you like to see our community do more of on stage?
I would love to see more living theatre. I think this is something that could change the way Vancouver thinks of theatre, as well as help make people aware of what is happening around them.
10. What are your top 3 theatre reads?
Stage Managing the Arts in Canada – Winston Morgan
Joan – Joan Littlewood
Playing with Fire – Julie Taymor
11. What’s next?
Dying City by Christopher Shinn
Directed by Ben Ratner
Starring Carrie Ruscheinsky and Adam Lolacher
Runs 01 April – 11 April at Little Mountain Studios