Secrets of an Arts Administrator

“Secrets of an Arts Administrator” will be a weekly blog post featuring anecdote from regional administrators/educators in the creative field.  It is NCLAC’s hope that through these real life experiences artists in all fields can gain practical knowledge for the industry.  As the famous author C.S. Lewis once said “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” Topic One: On Time

“To be 15 minutes early is on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to be DEAD.”  A quote most individuals who have had any experience in Theatre have heard, repeatedly.  I have to admit that the only thing that kept me from ever being late was a true fear that the director may in fact kill me.

I did not come to this “fear” on my own.  Instead I witnessed an event so terrorizing that it burned that phrase into the deep recesses of my unconscious self.   My freshman year of college during a technical rehearsal (i.e. a long day of coordinating lights, sounds etc.) a few actors/technicians did not show up for a scene change.  The scene ended and no one came out to change the set.  Instead of shouting for the late workers the director just told us all sternly to stay still and a quiet.  It became clear ten minutes later that we were all just going to wait for them to realize their mistake.  Twenty minutes later they did, I suppose the lack of dialogue finally broke them away from the poker game they were playing backstage.  We all expected the director to give them the “what for” right then.  But, he did not, in fact he said nothing.  We continued with the rest of rehearsal, the guilty party believing that the director was feeling particular forgiving that day, began to relax.  After the rehearsal was done we all sat down in the theatre waiting to be excused.   Our director slowly walked to the front turned around to face us and unleashed only what I imagine is close to the wrath of the Greek Gods.

But, now that I am on the other end of the artistic world I realize how crucial it is to be “on time”.  I’ve since come to the realization that perhaps the reason this was programmed into my brain was for the benefit of our director.  Perhaps it served as a warning so when charged with murder he could defend himself by saying he gave us all fair warning.

This week’s blog post was contributed by Leigh Anne Chambers, Executive Director of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council.  If you are a one of the crazy individuals who choose to put one foot in the artistic world and the other in the business/education realm and would like to contribute to “Secrets of an Arts Administrator” email us at nclac5@gmail.