Crew Spotlight: Meet our Production Specialist!
This September we welcomed a new member to our team! Nikie is our Production Specialist and has an amazing background in managing theatre productions. We sat down with her for a quick Q & A to introduce her to our followers! As we gear up for a great season of shows, let's give her a warm welcome!
Welcome to Olive Branch! What brought you here?
Well, in a nutshell - my friends did! Director Dan Petrenko and I have been friends since I joined him at JDY Theatre years ago as the stage manager. We work exceptionally well together and I love the journey we take as a cast to bring his vision for the productions to life on-stage. Before JDY theatre, I was studying film/tv production management (until I changed majors), after graduating from the Claude Watson Drama Program at Earl Haig Secondary. Our 12th grade production of The Hundred Acre Hood, in which I was the stage manager, was a 2013 winner of the Sears Drama Fest. This was the first time I'd ever been the manager of a production and it has definitely set a precedent!
What does a Production Specialist do?
I am in charge of everything that helps make the production - and the season - run as smoothly as possible: I take notes of EVERYTHING; I send, receive and reply to emails and inquiries; I schedule and plan and ensure the productions stay on schedule. I also update and post to the website and social medias. Another one of my major responsibilities is the script: distribution, edits, Cast's memorization. Essentially, I am there at the right hand of the Director to ensure his vision comes together how he wants it, within the time we have available. And then - show time! That is when, historically, I have had to cue lights or music from the booth, but this time around I will be backstage, making sure set, costume, cast, and curtain are all on cue.
What do you like the most about theatre?
I was very shy and quiet as a kid. I struggled fitting in and getting out of my shell. Even though my mom had me try almost every extracurricular possible - dance, swimming, tae kwon do, choir, piano, school band, art and crafts, gardening (many of which I still love) - I think it was theatre where I first learned to use my voice and open up to friends and possibilities. The magic of theatre - becoming any character imaginable and travelling to various locations with a group who all worked together to bring a story from a sheet of paper into reality...that was amazing. Using expression, body, voice, and energy to TRANSFORM yourself and a space into something completely *other*. I've loved it ever since my first steps into the Young People's Theatre, my first monologues at Shakespearience, and my exploration of movement at Claude Watson. Working as a cast - as a family - to bring the audience a story that will move them is the ultimate joy.
What are you most excited for this season?
I am extremely excited to meet so many new talented actors this season! Working on the amazing musical pieces we have coming up in A Night on Jewish Broadway will be so fun! That, and welcoming audiences back to in-person theatre after such a very long time without performances will be a great relief.
Tell us something interesting about you!
Well, I've just graduated from Environmental studies at York U which means l love plants and animals. I own a cat and a whole school of guppies, and I love taking care of all my tropical plants and succulents at home! I also really love going on nature hikes and my favourite part about hiking is spotting mushrooms and fungi in the forest!