6 Lessons Learned About Producing in Non-Traditional Spaces

The weather is heating up, and so are things here at donna scott productions! As we head into the summer (and our next project !!!), it would be foolish not to take stock of the lessons we’ve learned so far this year. This winter we produced 2 shows in 2 non-traditional venues, and a whole lot of lessons were learned by all 3 of us – below we’ve each listed just a few of them.

The DSP 3: Glynnis, Donna, and Tonya

The DSP 3: Glynnis, Donna, and Tonya

Donna

  • Don’t Go It Alone: This season is the first time I’ve produced with Glynnis and Tonya, and working as part of a team made Carrie Ann’s Kiss and Shiloh Rules more successful than they ever could have been if I had done it by myself. Every decision, challenge, or perceived setback seemed so much less daunting knowing I didn’t have to face it on my own. (It also doesn’t hurt if your co-producers happen to share the same taste in wine as you do.)
  • We’re All In It Together: When I set out to produce theatre in the South End neighborhood, I didn’t realize how much the existing community would embrace us. So many of the individuals and businesses there were excited about bringing theatre to South End and offered to help us. When working on a creative project, it’s easy to get tunnel vision/become fixated on your creative process, but looking around at the place you’re creating art for and including them in that process can benefit everyone.

Tonya

  • Hold Out For Dream Cast – They’re Out There! Casting Carrie Ann’s Kiss and Shiloh Rules was not quick or easy. At times it seemed we would never have a complete cast for either show, but eventually were able to fill each role with the actor who ended up being the perfect fit. On either side of casting, it’s hard to hear the word “No,” but “No” always means that the right person is getting ready to get the opportunity they deserve.
  • Adapt to the Space: When I first started working on Shiloh Rules in CAL, I thought the show would be performed in the round. After a week of rehearsal, I quickly realized that we needed to change the configuration of the stage to a more traditional proscenium set up. This meant changing seats, lighting, entrances/exits, sound, and just about everything! While nobody wants to make that kind of adjustments 3 weeks before opening, I knew that I had to serve the play, performers, and space.

Glynnis

  • Talk Is Cheap – TAKE ACTION! This was first my experience being a producer, and it was so empowering to take action and be a part of making a show happen. In the beginning of my career, I felt so desperate to work and kept waiting for the perfect scenario to present itself. It takes a thousand times more hard work to create your own opportunities, but it’s definitely worth it. Stop talking about what you want to do and DO IT!
  • The Deli Menu at Common Market Is AMAZING Seriously y’all, after months of rehearsing in South End, none of us ever got tired of this place. I’m partial to the Cobb salad myself, but you can’t really go wrong with anything there.

The biggest lesson we’re learning as we continue to produce is that theatre is changing. There’s no blue print or road map for how to produce and create. You have to flexible and realize that any plan you make is going to change. All we can do is take what we’ve learned and run through the open doors together!

Full Speed Ahead!

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