This morning–my third day as a Summer Fellow at Actors’ Theatre of Columbus–I woke up at 6am, went to the gym, came home and got ready, and drove over to ATC’s offices in Schiller Park in German Village to begin my work day. Nothing about my morning routine is all that exciting, but I’m–at the moment–quite thrilled by its novelty. I’ve never worked what I call a “job job.” Prior to coming to graduate school at The Ohio State University, where I am pursuing my MFA in the Department of Dance, I danced professionally with an intergenerational, contemporary dance company where I was fortunate enough to be hired full time as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. The bulk of my days were spent in the studio in rehearsal, or out on the road performing and teaching, supplemented by time in our offices doing administrative work to assist our staff. Prior to that, I was a freelance dancer and choreographer and did arts administration work for a company with which I also danced.
My arts administration work, primarily in communications, marketing, and grant writing, has always been directly connected to my artistic work as a dancer, which instilled in me an understanding of the connection between the artistry that goes into the very visible work of dance performance, and the often unseen administrative work (an art of its own) that makes it possible.
In my job at ATC this summer, I get to be firmly on the administrative side of things, and I have to say: I love it. I come in each day and sit at my desk among costumes and props, and I get to focus on a specific set of tasks that will support the artists of ATC who create free, live, outdoor theatre for Columbus audiences. It’s certainly not a typical 9-5 job (no arts job is), but I’m enjoying the schedule and pace of each day as I dig deeply into my work.
This week I’m developing audience surveys to be administered at ATC’s performances in Schiller Park, as well as longer surveys that selected audience members will take online at home. Survey design is not in my background, so much of my work early in the week was researching best practices for creating and administering surveys, as well as having conversations with Managing Director Adam Simon, Interim Artistic Director Philip J. Hickman, and Office Manager Melody Reed. I interviewed them about their survey goals, past surveys they’ve conducted, and what information they wanted to gather. I was really interested to note truly how valuable a survey can be to an arts organization in terms of their grant reporting, their marketing strategies, and their educational programming. The successful implementation of these surveys over the course of the summer is going to generate information that truly allows ATC to know their audiences well so they can better serve the Columbus community.
Tomorrow night, I’ll be out in the Park for the first time talking to audience members and administering surveys. Come on out to see the show, Captain Blood, and stop by and say hi!