…… quiet by Sarah Barnes
You may be asking “what happens when a theatre is dark?” “what is a dark day?” “is there any work to be done when a show isn’t going on?”. These are all questions I have received in the past couple of weeks as well as some statements of “oh you must have so much free time” “it must be so quiet with everyone gone” and “must be nice to have a summer like teachers”.
A theatre is “dark” when it isn’t producing a show. This is anything from a day off for the actors each week, to seasonal holidays, to a gap between seasons. We use this time in a myriad of ways. Let’s face it. Theatre is an odd business. The hours are long and diverse. One day will be filled by standing at a copier and the next you are spray painting graffiti on a set. We have staff that have a typical 9-5 schedule most days, those who don’t start their day until 6 pm, and everything in between. Monday, typically a dark day in theatre, is a day for directors, designers, and actors to have a break. Our theatre uses Mondays to have meetings, do ancillary programming like our Monday Night Playwright Series(there are new dates to be claimed!), and is one of the busiest days for some of our administration (like myself). For longer gaps in production we rent our space to local businesses, theatre companies, and individuals.We also use the time to perform maintenance on the space and equipment. The talented Sarah Luthans used some of our dark days to paint the murals that you can see scattered throughout the building (more are coming soon). We also used some dark days this season to replace the air conditioning units for our building. Did you know we have 16 units to cool the space?!?!
During the gap between our 57th and 58th season we have a skeleton staff. Charlie, Wes, and I are sending letters and writing contracts for the next season. We have been plotting out events for North Texas Giving Day and working with an intern from Booker T Washington. We are organizing new classes that artists can take throughout the year to improve their craft. We are updating internal policies and procedures. Delving into the management tasks that sometimes get shelved during production. As well as continuing to update our website.
We also have had a film crew running around creating an independent theatre themed horror movie! The Final Dress is directed by our own Christie Vela and brings together some of our favorite local creatives.
So, while we may not have a show to watch right now things are brewing behind the scenes. Contracts need to be written, designs to be created, letters to donors and subscribers to be sent, casting to be finalized, parties to be planned, and much more.
Our theatre may be dark but it is definitely not dead!