Written By Meghan Leonard, Senior
My name is Meghan Leonard and I spent my summer working, as a Company Management intern at the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company. Weston, Vermont is a special place. I can say I found my patch of southern hospitality within the green mountains of a small 500-person town.
My first day in Weston I knew there was something magical there. I moved in on Saturday, May 23rd and immediately got to work. We were preparing for the annual Gala on Sunday. I got there, unpacked my stuff at the Farmhouse (where I was staying) and returned to the office to help everyone put together auction items, prepare set-ups, and go over what was expected from each department at the gala. We took a break to grab dinner at the town green, right in front of the Playhouse. There was a bar-b-cue going on where we met the whole town and even got to do a bit of square dancing. That night we went back to the office and finished everything up, and then we gathered in the Farmhouse living room to play board games. It was the perfect first day and a great start to the summer.
The first few weeks were the best! We were all getting to know each other, we were settling in to our jobs, more and more people were arriving, we were going on adventures, and everything was moving at a fairly slow pace. Vermont was gorgeous and traveling anywhere was like a dream. We learned very quickly that we had to travel at least 15 minutes to get anywhere that had anything we needed. See, Weston had The Vermont Country store, The Weston Store, Mildred’s Dairy Bar, The Weston Inn, The Weston Marketplace, the Playhouse, the Post office, the Mill, and an antique store. You had to drive 10 minutes to the closest grocery store and the closest Wal-Mart was 45 minutes away. Did I mention there was no cell phone service? If you wanted to call anyone you had to drive 15 minutes to Ludlow, the town with the cell service. In a way it was nice to disconnect for a while, you don’t realize how much you are on your phone until suddenly it doesn’t work anymore.
Now is the point when you are probably asking yourself, what is company management? Well, company management is the little part of theater that no one really talks about because it isn’t the most exciting job. You are basically in charge of booking all of the actors’, directors’, and designers’ travel, providing them housing, picking them up at the airport/train station/bus terminal, driving them to get groceries, taking them to rehearsals, and just making sure they have everything they need to have a nice stay. We were also in charge of collecting recycling, trash, and flipping rooms after people left, so the next people can move in. Really the work isn’t that bad. The long hours are pretty rough, but long hours happen in every department of theatre. Company managers are special people and they often take care of the work that other departments don’t have time for. Company management is something that doesn’t work for me. I realized pretty quickly into the summer that it wasn’t what I wanted to do and my heart truly lies with stage managing.
The highlights of my summer happened when I least expected them to. We were often invited to company parties at the houses of our co-workers who lived in Vermont and they were a nice way to decompress after a long and grueling day. The patrons and board members of the theatre also threw welcome parties every time a new cast arrived. The highlight of company management was that we got to drive the actors to their welcome parties and hang out until they were finished. These parties took place at some unbelievable houses that were straight out of a magazine. They often had backyards that stretched for acres and overlooked the beautiful green mountains. The most notable house we visited for a company party was that of Amy Von Norstrand. She lived on the most beautiful property with two ponds, a cow pasture, a heated saltwater pool, guesthouses that also doubled as game rooms and lounge space, and it all was at the top of a beautiful mountain that overlooked valleys below. These houses were just absolutely stunning and I can only dream of ever having one of my own.
Towards the end of the summer I was asked to work run crew for two of the productions: Peter and the Starcatcher and Guys and Dolls. This was the part that reminded me why I liked theatre so much. Being a part of a production and working closely with the actors of the production is what makes theatre magical. There is a feeling you get when you know you are doing what you love and you are in the right place and being in a theatre working on a production is where I know I’m supposed to be.
Overall, my summer was great. I learned so much about how professional theatres run and a lot about myself and my strengths and weaknesses in theatre. I met and worked with some fantastic people, shared some amazing experiences, and know that theatre is truly where my heart lies. I couldn’t be more thankful for my time in Weston and I hope work there again one day.