Theatre Bay Area Chatterbox

Monday, May 9, 2011

Absolute Core Truths of Theatre Personnel Management

This special guest post was written by Impact Theatre artistic director Melissa Hillman. Learn more about Impact Theatre at

This season marked my 10th anniversary as artistic director of Impact Theatre, and my 15th with the company as a founding member. When I became Impact’s AD, I quickly became aware of the fact that there’s no AD boot camp. There’s no Handbook for New ADs. Some local people were very helpful—Patrick Dooley at Shotgun Players was especially generous. Now that I’m more established, people who are planning to start their own theatre companies, or who are in their first few seasons, come to me for advice and I do my best to pay it forward.

I always give a lot of practical advice—how to handle auditions, how to get insurance, why you should join Theatre Bay Area, how to write a playwright contract, etc. One thing that’s struck me recently, however, is something I’ve never discussed in these situations: How much time we spend in the theatre finessing personnel management. I’m sure it’s the same in every field, but since theatre is where my managerial experience lies, I’m going to speak specifically to that.

Here’s what I’ve learned are the Absolute Core Truths of Theatre Personnel Management. These are probably all already printed in some management book, so feel free to tell me if I’m boring you by repeating something you had to read in business school, and I’ll go back to the ranting and inappropriate jokes you’ve come to expect from me. Here’s what I learned in the School of Hard Knocks™.

1. You don’t buy loyalty with a paycheck. You earn it by treating people with respect.

This doesn’t mean complimenting their work. “Great job!” or “You’re so good at this” only go so far with your staff if you treat their opinions dismissively and if you routinely override their expertise. Your marketing director, your lighting designer, and your box office manager all know more about their areas than you do. It’s their job to know more about it than you do. Listen to their opinions. Allow them to disagree with you. Take their opinions very, very seriously, because if they’re disagreeing with you about their area of expertise, it’s almost certain that they’re right and you’re wrong. Respect their knowledge and experience, and they will reward you in 100 ways.

2. Give your staff ownership of the company and the work.

Allow your staff the freedom to make decisions. Don’t interfere with their decisions or their processes unless absolutely necessary. Does the set design violate fire code? Necessary. Does the rehearsal schedule violate the terms of your AEA contract? Necessary. Did no one tell the director the script is a comedy? Necessary. Do you think the backdrop should be light green instead of blue? Unnecessary. Do you think the sound designer should use “Bittersweet Symphony” instead of Sigur Ros? Unnecessary. Obviously you should make your opinions known, but putting your foot down and requiring a designer, development director, or stage manager to make unnecessary changes to their products or to their processes creates disgruntled, unhappy, underappreciated staff. Give your opinion or guidance, and back off unless the matter truly requires intervention.

3. Wear your authority with ease.

Nothing says “I’m insecure in positions of authority” like someone yelling at staff or refusing to allow staff to voice their opinions. A strong leader engages staff as equals, respecting their expertise. This doesn’t mean you should cede authority. Allowing your staff to make their own decisions and create their own processes doesn’t result in an authority drain. Step in when it’s necessary to step in. Put your foot down, respectfully, when it’s important. But have the strength to recognize when it’s important and when it’s not. And when mistakes happen or disaster strikes—because it will, trust me—blaming staff or yelling at people or otherwise losing your cool is the worst thing you can do.

4. Admit when you’re wrong.

Because they all already know it. Bluffing makes you look foolish.

5. Don’t be afraid to make the hard decisions.

Sometimes people need to be let go. This is the hardest thing for me personally and something I’ve bitched out on doing a number of times, hoping for the best. Learn from my mistakes. Be gentle, be respectful, but get rid of the people who can’t do their jobs. Again, everyone else already knows, and they’re sick of covering for that person.

6. Do whatever you have to do to keep your tech people happy.

While all theatre personnel are equally important, too often techs get treated poorly, blamed for mishaps, and left out of the glory. Happy techs make a show sparkle with awesomeness, like a magical lighting and sound unicorn flew over the theatre. Happy techs can build a gorgeous set out of popsicle sticks and coffee filters. Happy techs call 427 cues without breaking a sweat. Unappreciated, yelled-at techs will still do their jobs perfectly—they’re professionals—but they will withhold the awesome and take someone else’s gig next time around. Or worse—continue taking your gigs and talk shit about you in the community.

7. Relax. It’s theatre.

This isn’t brain surgery. No one will die if the director casts Actor X instead of the actor you liked best at callbacks. No catastrophe will ensue if your lighting designer went with a different gobo. It’s not fuckpocalypse if your marketing director thought one show was on the weak side. Breathe. Creating art is about both process and product. Don’t beat your process to death with your image of the perfect product. Nothing is going to be perfect, but it’s within your power to make it awesome.

Labels: , , ,


«Oldest ‹Older 201 – 242 of 242
At December 14, 2018 at 11:42 AM , Blogger armagedon said...

برای درمان بواسیر یا هموروئید خود از لیزر درمانی استفاده کنند؟ کسانی که درگیر بواسیر هستند یکی از گزینه های درمانی شان استفاده از لیزر برای درمان بواسیر است. در جواب این پرسش می توانیم بگوییم، همه کسانی که به بواسیر یا همورئید مبتلا هستند می توانند عمل لیزر را انجام دهند، اما تشخیص این موضوع برعهده پزشک است.در بواسیر خارجی، یک لخته خون نیز ایجاد می شود و معمولا با رنگ ارغوانی یا آبی روشن دیده می شود. این نوع بواسیر و هموروئید را بواسیر ترومبوز یا لخته ای می گویند. اما به نظر شما علت شقاق مقعدی چیست؟ عمل جراحی شقاق در صورتی انجام می شود که دیگر درمان خانگی و درمان دارویی برای شقاق موثر نیستند و شقاق به مرحله ای رسیده که با این روش ها درمان نمی شود. شقاق به دو نوع حاد و مزمن تقسیم می‌شود. شقاقی که زیر دوازده هفته طول کشیده باشد، شقاق حاد در نظر گرفته می‌شود. این نوع شقاق می‌تواند به اسپاسم اسفنکتر داخلی مقعد منجر شود که این مسئله به نوبه خود باعث گسترش پارگی و درد شدید و کاهش خونرسانی به آنودرم می‌شود. این چرخه درد، اسپاسم و کاهش خونرسانی (ایسکمی) سبب عدم بهبودی زخم شده و بنابرابن شقاق مزمن ایجاد می‌شود.

At December 15, 2018 at 4:19 AM , Blogger ammie jackson said...

Being an academic writer from past 5 years providing assignment online help to college and university students also associated with Myassignmenthelp platform. I am dedicated in providing best online academic writing services to the college students at the affordable rates.

At December 27, 2018 at 4:24 AM , Blogger Lillian said...

Are you looking for cheap essay writer to tackle your academic woes? Is an affordable essay writer high on your list of priorities? Take a look at the price ranges of our expert essay help services, and you will know that your search ends right here. There are a lot of students who work part-time to support their studies. And who does not want to save money? So save money with our nursing essay writing services that on the other hand too meets your different writing needs. We have crafted exclusive nursing essay writing for our students who need nursing essay help, and here they are:

At January 8, 2019 at 5:56 AM , Blogger Anna said...

Pretty cool post.It ‘s really very nice and Useful post.Thanks 
Seo experts in Pakistan

At January 8, 2019 at 5:59 AM , Blogger Anna said...

Pretty cool post.It ‘s really very nice and Useful post.Thanks 
Seo experts in Pakistan

At January 9, 2019 at 1:04 AM , Blogger crazy ram said...

nice post
gameguardian for pc
gameguardian for ios
game guardian Alternatives
game guardian for mac
game guardian for blackberry
Game Guardian No Root
game guardian for apk

jio tv for pc
jio tv for jio phone
jio tv apk
jio tv for pc download
jio tv for mac
jio tv for blackberry

At January 10, 2019 at 4:24 AM , Blogger Students Assignment Help said...

UAE Assignment Help is the best place where students can get the best academic Writing Help UAE services at a reasonable price. Our professional writers strive to assist students in providing excellent assignment writing help.

At January 10, 2019 at 5:29 AM , Blogger Survey said...

home depot survey

tell pizza hut

At January 10, 2019 at 5:29 AM , Blogger Survey said...

home depot survey

tell pizza hut

At January 11, 2019 at 3:44 AM , Blogger Nikki Heysen said...

The professional assignment writers at is continue giving its best Online Assignment Help services for all the students studying in Singaporean colleges or universities. We always working with the great knowledge in academic subjects and these are as IT, English, hospitality, fashion studies, nursing, economics, etc.

At January 11, 2019 at 1:39 PM , Blogger مسکن نوین said...

thanks for post
please see our weblogs





At January 12, 2019 at 6:34 AM , Blogger مسکن نوین said...


At January 15, 2019 at 1:34 AM , Blogger Raihan Mohammad said...

Best Top Homework Help is home to more than 3000 online live college homework tutors who are quite impressive in solving various primary homework related issues. In fact, some of these tutors hold a PhD degree, which clearly shows how competent they are at handling various school and college homework problems.

At January 15, 2019 at 10:57 PM , Blogger Ireland Assignment Help said... Provides homework Assignment Help Service. Our company has 3,000 writers. You can contact at any time. 24/7 All Homework helper Are Online On Whatsapp All writers have more experience for more than 10 years, they will give you the original assignment with confidence, and will complete your assignment in less time.

At January 18, 2019 at 11:09 PM , Blogger Students Assignment Help said...

Students Assignment Help serves the best accounting assignment help services by the professional and high qualified assignment writers from the universities of UK, Singapore, and USA. We offer the reliable assignment writing services to the students.

At January 19, 2019 at 2:59 AM , Blogger SophiaMiller said...

My name is sophia miller.
thanks for this information.
Get the best Finance Assignment Help anytime.

At January 20, 2019 at 1:39 AM , Blogger Feedback Kroger said...

Hey Thanks for sharing this valuable information with us. I will come back to your site and keep sharing this information with us.
ncsecu login
price chopper direct connect

At January 24, 2019 at 3:48 AM , Blogger sangeeta chaurasia said...

Thanks for helping us to improve our knowledge by your precious information. role reversal

At January 24, 2019 at 3:50 AM , Blogger sangeeta chaurasia said...

very interesting , good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog issues in iphone

At January 30, 2019 at 2:35 AM , Blogger Singapore Assignment Help said... appointing more experts of Essay writers Singapore from the best schools to support students for their essay assignment queries

At January 31, 2019 at 12:55 AM , Blogger James Wayne said...

Wow fascinating post, please keep posting some related topic as well. Visit our Printer Offline Windows 10 for Printer help, if you need and get support for the Microsoft with Microsoft number.

At February 9, 2019 at 1:52 AM , Blogger Nikki Heysen said...

Professional Study Help online is available at We are working team of masters and Ph.D. degree professionals that understand students requirement and easily finish the task properly. We have a team of native writers from the USA, Ireland, Australia, Singapore, UK, New Zealand, etc.

At February 14, 2019 at 3:36 AM , Blogger Appsquadz said...

I took keen interest in reading this blog. The blog was interesting, valuable content was given which is easily readable & understood. I too have a reference of one of the top android app development company where experts are highly compatible and provide unique solutions.

At February 21, 2019 at 2:02 AM , Blogger Mobile app development company in Gurgaon said...

Thank You! For sharing such a great article, It’s been a amazing article.
It’s provide lot’s of information, I really enjoyed to read this.
Mobile app development company in toronto

At February 26, 2019 at 1:20 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Looking for more interesting topic and suddenly found this one which was really helpful. Such an incredible data shared, Thank you for this. Rising Sign in Your Horoscope

At February 26, 2019 at 3:39 AM , Blogger Lili Bell said...

All of our iran tours are completely flexible by customer demands to reach our goal that is customers satisfaction.

At February 26, 2019 at 10:55 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing these amazing tips. Nice information many people are coming and enjoy the information, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. Learn from Free Tarot Reading

At February 28, 2019 at 2:34 AM , Blogger Alan Blake said...

Hey Thanks for sharing this valuable information with us. I will come back to your site and keep sharing this information with us. Win Prizes by taking surveys

At March 4, 2019 at 2:10 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hey I loved the way you shared the valuable information with the community. I would say that please continue these efforts and we want to hear more from you.tellthebell

At March 4, 2019 at 11:53 PM , Blogger Assignment Help said...

Thanks for this informative content. It’s really good. Online Assignment help provider are an absolute genius when students are in need thoroughly researched content.

At March 7, 2019 at 2:12 AM , Blogger Nikki Heysen said...

Students struggle very much for finishing their academic task, that is why the team of professional writers at is here and that is giving you its Assignment Writing Services. Our online assignment makers understand all your requirements and work in the asked direction to compose an accurate assignment.

At March 11, 2019 at 12:40 AM , Blogger Make My Assignment said...

Are you tired of writing make my assignment in Australia on the google search bar and have failed in finding a staunch assignment help online? Well, Register yourself with Complete My Assignment and make way for some astonishing write-ups and get a golden chance to impress your professor with amazing writing skills.

At March 11, 2019 at 4:48 AM , Blogger Stanton Hoover said...

That is actually great and useful information. I found it very useful for me thank you so much for sharing this amazing post. starbucks social responsibility

At March 12, 2019 at 4:01 AM , Blogger Pamela ClairIn said...

Thank you so much for this amazing post keep it up…..contract law cases and answers

At March 12, 2019 at 10:49 PM , Blogger Sirnocares said...

Ever heard that Wendys is offering you a chance to take surveyforcustomers Customer Satisfaction Survey where you can win Free BOGO Sandwiches and much more at Wendys Restaurant.

At March 15, 2019 at 4:00 AM , Blogger Mobile app development company in Gurgaon said...

Mobile app development company in toronto

At March 17, 2019 at 4:22 AM , Blogger seo com said...

شركة تنظيف سجاد بالمدينة المنورة

شركتنا واحدة من أفضل شركات تنظيف سجاد بالمدينة المنورة وهذا ما يجعلنا أهلا لثقة العملاء الذين يتعاملون معنا حيث يفضلون التعامل مع شركتنا لما تتميز به فى هذا المجال أن لدينا كافة الأدوات الحديثة التى تشمل معدات التنظيف بالبخار و أدوات التنظيف الآلي الحديث و كافة أنواع الخامات الحديثة و المتطورة التى لا تؤثر على الأقمشة والمنسوجات و تزيل كافة أنواع البقع فى أسهل طريقة وتمتلك الآلات الخاصة بالتجفيف السريع و أدوات التحميل و التنزيل الخاصة بتنزيل كميات كبيرة من السجاد و معدات عملاقة تقوم بعمليات التنظيف فى أسهل طريقة و بأسرع ما يمكن سيارات تابعة للشركة تنتقل الى مكان العميل لتقوم بنقل كافة أنواع السجاد.

At March 18, 2019 at 12:31 AM , Blogger Nikki Heysen said...

Students now have option to take Do My Assignment services from the well-qualified writers of Whether you are studying in UK university or New Zealand university our experts aare working to offer you adequately according to your asked university standards.

At March 19, 2019 at 4:40 AM , Blogger Chris Paul said...

My name is Chris Paul and This is a very nice post, Thanks for Sharing.

Get the Best Of Programming Assignment Help in Australia.

At March 19, 2019 at 7:33 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

This is very nice article for SEO Ireland related client.

At March 20, 2019 at 12:06 AM , Blogger S. Harris said...

I recently found many useful information in your website especially this blog page. Among the lots of comments on your articles. Thanks for sharing.

At March 22, 2019 at 12:40 AM , Blogger SophiaMiller said...

This is sophia miller, Thanks for Sharing.

Get the Programming Assignment Help anytime.

«Oldest ‹Older 201 – 242 of 242

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home