Goodbye lazy summer of lounging by the pool and soaking up vitamin D. Hello Season 18 and ALL the wonderful new things coming with it!
Full disclosure: We were so busy getting all of the things we’re unveiling below ready that we probably spent less time at the pool than we wanted and didn’t get quite as much vitamin D as we needed.
We put together this list of 5 things we’re especially excited about this season, and we hope you’ll be joining us for all the fun!
1. New friends!
People who work in theater know that transitions are a part of this life. Directors, actors, and designer constantly travel to work, and changing theater companies frequently means relocating because regional theaters are spread across the country. Our Triad Stage family has seen some change over the summer and we’re welcoming new staff members like Production Manager Katie O’Kelly and Audience Services Manager Daniel Benzing. This week we also begin to welcome the dozens of professional artists from all over the country who will be guest artists throughout the season. But we want to take a special moment to shout out to our 2018-2019 Apprentice Company.
Each season we welcome a new class of young professionals for a season-long apprenticeship in our Professional Training Program. They serve in all departments, from artistic to carpentry to education, and they get full access to the inner workings of a professional company for the first time. The full company just assembled this morning for the first time in the theater and we cannot wait to get to know them, and to watch and help them grow to the next stage of their careers!
2. New Toys
2018 has been the summer of software upgrades at Triad Stage (anyone who has ever been through a workplace software upgrade will know the joy and despair that coexist in this experience). All of our major systems received some much-needed attention as we migrated our ticketing platform, our development software, and our bookkeeping to new programs. Benefits to our staff include a whole host of efficiencies in our work, and benefits to the public include new print at home tickets and easier online donations. (Left: Letters explaining the new online system to our patrons are going out this week!) We’re still tying up the tail end of some of these transitions, but we’re already seeing payoffs!
We were thrilled to bring on our first full-time Learning Director, Lauren Smith, at the beginning of last season. In just a year we’ve been part of making so many wonderful programs come to life. One staff and audience favorite was the Young Playwrights for Change competition, where Lauren worked with middle school students to write and submit original plays. Finalists were selected and had their work brought to life on stage by professional directors and actors, and the winning playwright Angela Dumont (pictured left with her director and cast) had her script sent on to the national YPC competition. We also reached over 3,000 students with matinee production, in-school residencies, and North Carolina Poetry Out Loud and the August Wilson Monologue Competition. This year we’re building on all of these programs and piloting new partnerships with teachers and schools. Yay learning!
4. Southern Stories
A Southern Voice is one of our core values at Triad Stage, and it comes out in may ways – mainly when Artistic Director Preston Lane and Associate Artistic Director Sarah Hankins – both native Appalachians – get to talking in the office. Lawd.
But truly, we view our location in the South as vital to our identity as a theater, and so we are committed to showcasing that world on stage with shows like this season’s NC premiere of Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s moonshine and racing-fueled White Lightning. We’re also capturing more of the stories of the people of this region in free storytelling events attached to each one of our MainStage productions.
Our Storytelling Nights are held in our UpStage Cabaret. Invited storytellers from our Triad Stage family as well as walk-up storytellers are invited to engage with a theme related to our MainStage work by sharing a true story – much like our friend at The Moth in NYC (or on NPR for all your public radio heads) or The Monti in Chapel Hill. We love these events because they bring together a wide swath of people from the community – students, songwriters, folk historians, slam poets – and of course audiences for an original and unforgettable evening of enjoying the art of sitting around and telling stories.
Join us for one of our Storytelling Nights this season! All events are on Monday nights @ 7 p.m. in the UpStage Cabaret.
9.24 And Then There Were None // Theme: Things are not what they seem
11.12 A Midsummer Night’s Dream // Theme: The course of true love never did run smooth
12.10 A Christmas Carol // Theme: Holiday mishaps
2.11 White Lightning // Theme: Southern stories
3.25 Two Trains Running // Theme: Persistence
5.13 Man of La Mancha // Theme: Impossible dreams
5. Man of La Mancha
When Triad Stage was just a twinkle in the eye of founders Preston Lane and Rich Whittington, they jokes on their early friendraising meetings with Greensboro residents that this was their Impossible Dream. Not only is their dream continuing to thrive, but it’s coming full circle at the end of the season with our production of Man of La Mancha, the show most frequently referenced in song by Rich ( with the possible exception of A Christmas Carol).