I am a pretty casual person. I can be serious when I have to be, but on the whole, I’d rather not. I love working with kids and teaching others the things that I know. I’m a very relaxed person who doesn’t like to stress about things. If theatre has taught me anything that relates to real life, it’s that no matter how hard you try, something is going to go wrong. The fun part is trying to figure out how you’re going to fix it!
That’s what I love: troubleshooting… creative, collaborative problem solving. That’s why I like designing so much. I have yet to design something (even things I’ve gotten paid for) that I haven’t run past at least 3 or 4 close friends and family. And it’s made it very easy for me to accept criticism and be more open to change on things that I envision.
Way back in high school, the first show I did, I was in the shop. The designer for this show (I believe it was Camelot) decided on circular platforms stacked above each other getting smaller as they went. I was fascinated by creating curves out of straight pieces of wood, and amazed at how much could remain unfinished because no one would ever see it. I was hooked.
FIfteen years later and the fascination is still there, though sometimes it is accompanied with a slight groan when I see curves on a plan, or in fact, on one of my own designs!
I went to school at Fitchburg State College (now Fitchburg State University) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology/Technical Theatre. This was not as easy as it sounds because I needed to interrupt my education occasionally and go make some money so I could continue said education. That was a great experience in theatre for me and opened the door to many other theatre possibilities.
Meanwhile, I continued my ties with my local high school in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. I left the high school theatre group for a slightly less time-consuming group that I had also been involved with throughout my high school career, the CHSTv crew. As a college student back with the group, I would show up for sports productions and work with current students to train them on the equipment and technology to produce games well above average for “normal” high school TV productions. Over the next few years, this was formalized into a paid part-time position through Chelmsford TeleMedia (CTM) as Assistant Advisor to the club as well as volunteer and contract engineer for the access station.
Also during the time I was finishing my degree, I did a lot of contract work for various theatres in and around the Boston area, and I loved it. The only part I didn’t love was constantly looking for the next job. As more people started recognizing my name, they started calling me and I didn’t have to look for myself as much, but I still didn’t like not knowing where my next gig would be. So when an offer for some full-time work opened up at Stoneham Theatre in the shop, I jumped at the chance!
I had already worked with Stoneham a few times for various contract work, so everyone there already knew me from load-ins, strikes, lighting calls, etc. I worked there for three years (two part-time, one full) and when the Master Carpenter/Technical Director left at the end of one season, I ran the shop and TD’d the summer season. I had a great time there. Then I left to go finish my degree and little did I know that would be the end of my professional theatre experience for a while.
I received a phone call from Access A/V, the company that Chelmsford TeleMedia uses for equipment purchasing. They knew that CTM was a little more engineering-based than a lot of other community access stations and wondered if CTM knew anyone looking to do some installation work. I couldn’t pass up the steady work, and I enjoyed doing installations and troubleshooting other access stations throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. But there was a lot of travelling. Every day, I would be in a different area, sometimes driving up to 100 miles just to get to a job. I loved the work but not the locations.
When I received a call from Broadcast Pix, one of the companies with products that Access A/V installs, offering me a position in the support department, I accepted. I did that for about a year, then moved within the company to the SQA department, performing software testing. This has been great for me, and I have learned much more about repairing computers, as well as the process of releasing a new software/hardware product, but I’m ready to get out from behind a desk now and back into a theatre.