When people ask me how I’m doing, the reply lately has been an emphatic ‘busy!’ A lot of my work as Production Manager happens in preparation for a show even before rehearsals begin – planning, auditioning, hiring, scheduling, more planning, etc. Thus, I have the privilege of receiving resumes and head shots from actors who want to audition with us and then organizing and scheduling auditions. Although it is very time consuming to wade through all the emails, resumes, and head shots, and then work out the schedule for actually auditioning the approved candidates, it is very exciting and insightful.
Amidst an extremely busy weekend (last ‘Romeo and Juliet’ performances, plus two kids’ shows at the Washington County Fair that are performing three times a day), we will also be busy with auditions for most of next season’s shows. I am thrilled to share that this will be our largest audition group ever – we will be evaluating just shy of 50 actors. In the last year to year and a half we’ve gone from having as few as 7 actors audition to now 50. Not only is that a large number of qualified candidates, but the group we are attracting is more varied in experienced and more accomplished than we’ve ever seen. We have actors who traditionally only do musicals eager to be considered for our straight, text-based work this season. We have award winning actors excited by our season choices and the opportunity to work with us. The vast majority of our candidates for this season are also brand new to us – have never auditioned for us before or never been in a show with us already. And although we do have a fair number of Washington County residents auditioning, we are also attracting actors that we used to refer to as ‘Portland actors’ – actors who routinely get work in Portland and who’d likely never even consider us because we are in Hillsboro. Well, they are not only considering us, they are taking the plunge and auditioning. We welcome them eagerly!
This large group of actors for auditions is just one more way that it is evident how much Bag&Baggage has grown in the last year to year and a half. Our candidates have good reason to be eager to work with us – we pay very decent competitive wages to all of our actors and crew, our audience has grown steadily with each of our Venetian shows this season, the quality of work has improved and our production process has become more precise, we have successfully mounted Hillsboro’s first outdoor Shakespeare summer performance which received more press and positive reviews than any other show we’ve done, we have grown our Education program and value the opportunity to bring theatre to students of Washington County, and we have been selling numerous season tickets this summer during ‘Romeo & Juliet’ for the upcoming Venetian shows
All of that success has been a product of a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (quite literally!), it has been vastly worth it. And although it means I didn’t get anything close to a real summer vacation, I am thrilled, proud, and eager to embark on Bag&Baggage’s second season’s partnership with the Venetian Theatre with such a talented group of actors, designers, and collaborators!
After auditions are complete and our casts are finalized, be sure to check out the website for previews of who you’ll be seeing on the Venetian stage in Bag&Baggage shows this season: Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman,’ September 23 – October 11, 2009; Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol,’ adapted by Scott Palmer, December 9 – 22, 2009; Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ with John Fletcher’s ‘The Woman’s Prize,’ both adapted to be performed together by Scott Palmer, February 11 – 28, 2010; Noel Coward’s ‘Hay Fever,’ June 2 – 20.
~Audra Petrie Veber, Production Manager