Production Coordinator Creates the Magic at FemFest

As FemFest fast approaches, guest blogger Davis Plett caught up with production coordinator Steve Vande Vyvere to talk about what goes on behind the scenes of a theatrical production.

Steven Vande Vyvere

Steven Vande Vyvere

Q: What does your role as production coordinator for FemFest entail?

A: My role as production coordinator for FemFest involves a LOT of organization and communication. It starts in June looking for staff to fill all the positions in the festival. This includes people to design the in-house produced shows (only 1 this year), people to source props & costumes, build & paint set elements, someone to source all of the sound for the shows, not to mention the small army of Stage Managers for all of the festival’s events.

Communication with groups presenting pieces as a part of the festival is another significant facet of the production coordinator job. Some cabaret acts need only some gear for their instruments, while other groups in the past have needed fresh fish for gutting onstage. The specifics vary greatly from group to group, but it all needs to be arranged for.

Q: When we go to see a theatrical production, we see actors performing. We are aware that there’s probably a playwright who created a script, and a director who gave a shape to the production. But there’s also this mostly invisible cast of production people. Generally speaking, what do you feel is the “mission” or significance of production to a performance? If you like, what is your philosophy of production?

A: In my mind, if the production end of a performance is running on point, the audience will never be the wiser about our involvement. We represent the “magic” of the theatre; we exist to ensure the designers’ and directors’ artistic visions are showcased in the best possible way.Steve solo smiling

Q: Take us inside of an opening night: actors are on the stage, audiences are in their seats. Those are the obviously visible people in the theatre. Who are the main players we don’t see, the people behind the scenes, and what are their roles during a performance?

A: The unseen main players in a performance can vary greatly from show to show, but the two you are most likely to never be without are the Stage Management team and technician.  The Stage Manager is not unlike an orchestra’s conductor. Nothing happens without their “Go”. The technician responds to those “Go”s and adjusts the lights, or plays a sound cue as appropriate. There may be Assistant Stage Managers backstage receiving instructions to cue actors for entrances, fire off a fog machine or helping with a quick change.

Q: What’s the FemFest show this year that has you most excited, from a production standpoint?

A: From a production standpoint, A Side of Dreams has me quite excited. They will be bringing with them a large metal rig that will be setup on their first day, and remain setup until after their final performance. Their show will have projection elements, fog, an aerial hoop and mask. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the show will be once it’s ready for performance.

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