Houston is a big city but the more we know about it, the smaller it feels. In an effort to better understand how our city ticks, the BigKidSmallCity crew is interviewing the people of Houston!
This time we had the great pleasure of meeting Vivienne St. John, the Theater for Youth Producing Director at Main Street Theater! Main Street Theater consistently has fantastic youth shows and we were very excited to meet the Theater for Youth Producing Director!
1. What do you do each day as Theater for Youth Producing Director?
It depends on where we are in the season – some days I am in production meetings for the various shows. I meet with the director and designers to make sure all of the elements (costumes, sets, props, lights and sound) are being realized for the upcoming shows.
Right now I am in pre-production for both THE GIVER and A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD. I also work with our school matinee staff daily to make sure that the school shows are running smoothly. I prepare all of our special events, so this week I am busily prepping for our annual Christmas party.
There is so much to do – read scripts, read books, hire actors, choose shows for the next season. Every day is different and exciting and rewarding. I have a great job!
2. What work must be done before a show opens at Main Street Theater?
The first thing that happens is that I contact the author (or their agent) or the publishing company to get the licensing rights to produce the show. Once we have permission then I hire the director and designers and start the marketing process.
I work with our marketing director to find commission illustrations for each title, develop a season brochure, posters and mailers.
Every summer we have a general audition where all the directors are in attendance. We cast the whole season from there.
About 3 months before the show opens I hold production meetings with the designers and directors to listen to their concepts for the show and make sure that they are realized. Rehearsals start about a month before the show opens.
3. What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is watching the children’s faces when they are seeing a show. I love to see how much they connect with the characters being brought to life. I love listening to them talk about how the shows have affected them. I love influencing children to pick up a book and read. Reading is my passion and my favorite books to read are children’s books!
4. What tips do you have for a kid wanting to someday work in theater?
Go see as many shows as you can. Sign up for internships and get a first hand look at what it’s all about. Go to school!
5. What do you like to do in Houston?
Go out to eat. No city has better quality and variety of restaurants. I especially love Mediterranean!
6. What is your favorite thing about Houston?
It’s my home. I was born and raised here. I love living in a large city. There is always something to do!
7. What is your favorite Houston annual event?
The Livestock Show and Rodeo. I especially like taking my kids to the Livestock show and getting to see all the baby animals.