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! 


Awesome! Welcome to the team, Nikie!


Stay tuned for more Cast and Crew Spotlights!

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