Episode 24 – It Takes a Village to Raise a Play with Liza Vest


Every Monday evening I talk to people about making original work for a live audience. Episode 24 features professional stage manager, Liza Vest. Liza is a long time friend with Broadway experience and a master’s degree from the Yale School of Drama. She’s also a former Tulsa Holland Hall student.

Liza had so much good stuff to share that I ended up with 10 pieces of great advice. She’s humble, she’s fun, and she’s at the top of her field. One piece of advice stands out for being excellent, yet often forgotten: Make good contacts and stay in touch with people in your field. This is true whether you’re a stage manager or a restaurant manager.

People in performing arts are like people in any other profession. To succeed, they need to make connections. Liza has done a great job staying in touch. Despite the fact that I did not have a job to offer, Liza has always been one to reach out, return calls, and keep tabs. In the performing arts, you never know when someone from your past will be able to answer a question, make an introduction, or just have a glass of wine.

Stage Manager Liza Vest with Sally
Liza with a little egg from her sister’s pet chicken

Luckily for Tulsa, Oklahoma where I lived and taught for many years, students have options when it comes to performing arts training. I mention Clark Youth Theatre during the podcast, as well as Holland Hall School. But we also have Spotlight Children’s Theatre and Edison Eagle Theatre with Amber Harrington. That’s where all three of my kids got amazing performance opportunities. This might be a good place to tell you, I am a huge fan of performing arts education. Theatre skills include acting, stage management, lighting, house management, sound technology, set building and carpentry, event planning, and a host of other skills that translate to the world at large. As a kid, I had opportunities in church, school, and the communities where I grew up to learn about theatre from different angles. My family has always supported my passion just as I encourage you to support the young people you know who are hungry to learn. It’s about so much more than getting a job backstage.

Speaking of theatre jobs, you can still get your 20-page FREE theatre resource. It’s a glossary of live performance support you’ll need for your show. It’s useful, entertaining, and you have my permission to copy pages and trade with your friends. If you’re a drama teacher, this is a great resource to get students thinking about all the areas where a person might contribute to a show’s success.

Concise Advice from the Interview: a short version of tips from my guest, stage manager Liza Vest. The advice is geared for Stage Managers but it’s actually  great advice for life:

10 – To make theatre work, you must be part of a community.

9 – Once a show starts, it’s a fast-moving train and the stage manager’s job is to keep that train on track and not stop.

8 – Find ways to practice calling cues before calling an actual live performance.

7 – Remain present and keep going no matter what happens. You must be focused and in the moment.

6 – If you are a stage management student, most stage managers on Broadway will allow you to watch them call their show.

5 – To find out how to contact a stage manager, get a copy of the Theatrical Index to look up shows and stage managers. Be professional and polite when you ask.

4 – Stage managers must be adaptive because theatre is a generative art form and new ideas constantly change the needs of the work.

3 – Get as much experience as you can – but you do not need a master’s degree to stage manage.

2 – Ask people who are doing what you want to do for their advice, or simply ask how they got there.

1 – Talk to people and maintain your contacts. 

Next Monday I’ll post my conversation with the founder of New York’s BodyStories -Teresa Fellion Dance: Teresa Fellion. I’m super excited! Check out this blog for articles and podcast episodes. And sign up for a FREE Creator’s Notebook insert at SallyPAL.com/join.

Thank you for sharing, subscribing, reviewing, joining, and thank you for listening. I want you to pursue your dream to have original work on the stage in front of a live audience. It’s scary, but I’ll be here with resources, encouragement, and a growing community of people like us. I want to help you create original shows for a live audience… All the performances you’ve seen on stage once lived only in someone’s imagination… Now go support a kid who wants to perform!

Episode 23 – Surrender to Flow with Julie Tattershall

My name is Sally Adams. Every Monday evening I talk to people about making original work for a live audience. We talk about lots of other things as well. For instance, director Julie Tattershall and I talk about creative flow, emotional vulnerability, and theatre as therapy.

Leave comments. Give me a review. Or send an email to Sally@sallypal.com. Your ideas keep the flow going every Monday evening. Thanks so much for sharing the podcast and the blog.

Don’t forget about the FREEBIES on sallypal.com/join. You can still get your 20-page FREE theatre resource. It’s a glossary of live performance support you need for show flow. It’s useful, entertaining, and you can copy the pages and trade with your friends!

Sally and Julie Tattershall on SallyPAL
Sally – Julie at the Mic

Today’s episode features play director, performer, and playwright Julie Tattershall. Julie is a forever friend with a long resume.

Julie Tattershall was the 2012 Mary Kay Place Legacy Award recipient through the Tulsa Awards for Theatre Excellence. Tulsans call it TATE. Over the years, Julie has won two TATE awards and two Oklahoma Community Theatre Association awards as a director.

National Gallery Chicken with Julie Tattershall
Julie & Blue Chicken (chicken not actual size)

Julie worked with theater companies in Chicago before settling down in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In Tulsa she became the Artistic Director of Clark and Heller Theatres logging nearly 30 years of non-stop directing flow. In addition to directing over 100 productions, Julie founded the long-running Laughing Matter improvisation group. With her husband, Tony Batchelder, she co-founded the Tulsa Area Community Theatre Alliance. Julie has toured nationally with “Where the Red Fern Grows”. She also participated in the Oklahoma Artist in Residence program. Julie still works as an artist in the schools performing original works that resonate with a message of acceptance and healing. She has a Masters degree in Psychology and uses that knowledge to create live-performance flow. Julie visited me and George in our new home on the Potomac river in Virginia.

Concise Advice from the Interview (a short version of tips from theatre guru, Julie Tattershall.)

7 – Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable on stage.

6 – Decide where the character holds stress and build that into the character.

5 – Take advantage of seeing things from another point of view.

4 – Open yourself up to the flow to be in the now.

3 – Approach any play script as if you are approaching a brand new play.

2 – Create a safe environment for rehearsal.

1 – And Julie Tattershall’s number one piece of advice? Don’t feel like you have to know it all, and don’t pretend to. 

Next week, download my conversation with former Broadway stage manager, Liza Vest.

Check out the blog, SallyPAL.com, for articles and podcast episodes. And sign up for a FREE Creator’s Notebook insert at SallyPAL.com/join.

Thank you for sharing, subscribing, reviewing, joining, and thank you for listening. I want you to pursue your dream to have original work on the stage in front of a live audience. It’s scary, but I’m here with resources, encouragement, and a growing community of people like us.

If you like SallyPAL, a new show goes out every Monday evening! Download and listen on your drive to work, or fall asleep to my alien transmissions like my sister does. And let me know you’re out there.  I want to help you create original shows for a live audience.

All the performances you’ve seen on stage once lived only in someone’s imagination… Now it’s your turn!

Episode 22 – Faith, Community, and Spoken Word Art with David KoloKolo

Spoken Word Artist David KoloKolo on SallyPAL recorded in an Arlington, Virginia Outdoor Area in
David KoloKolo and Sally

Episode 22 of
Sally’s
Performing Arts Lab
Podcast
Features
Spoken Word Artist
David KoloKolo

 

 

I’m your host, Sally Adams, and every Monday evening, I talk to people about making original work for the stage. Subscribe to SallyPAL on iTunes, Google Play, Podbean and many other podcast platforms. Leave comments, give me a review, or send an email to Sally@sallypal.com. Your ideas keep great conversations coming every Monday evening. Thanks so much to those of you who continue to share. Thanks to Connie, Steve, Jeremy, Pat, Emile, George, Vicki, and all of you who are taking the time to spread the word.

Don’t forget about the FREEBIES on sallypal.com/join. You can still get your 20-page free original theatre resource. It’s a glossary of live performance support you’ll need for your original work. It’s useful, entertaining, and there are places to scribble your show’s notes on the pages.

Today’s episode features an amazing young artist, David KoloKolo. David is a senior in the accounting program at George Washington University in Washington DC. He’s like many serious-minded young men about to embark on a career in the corporate world. But just under the surface is a passionate, thoughtful, poetic soul. David received recognition as a spoken word artist through the Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB) program in Tulsa, Oklahoma. David is a musician who draws energy and inspiration from his Christian faith. He grew up listening to Bill Gaither Gospel and Hill Song Gospel as well as rock and hip-hop. Although his poetry is not always filled with religious images, his walk as a believer is all-encompassing. David’s non-judgmental approach to his art and his life is nothing short of inspiring. I want to share a poem he wrote and performed that really moved me. Here’s a link to David KoloKolo’s spoken word piece, Anthology of Apologies.

I’m including Concise Advice from the Interview. This is a short version of tips from this week’s SallyPAL podcast guest. Here are David KoloKolo’s 5 great bits of advice:

5 As you grow as an artist, pay attention to your technique.

4 Art is communal even if you create in solitude.

3 Sharing digitally is a legitimate way to create a communal experience.

2 Share your whole self with your community.

And the number 1 piece of advice from spoken word artist David KoloKolo?

Worship can bind together all the areas of your life including your art. 

Thank you for sharing, subscribing, reviewing, joining, and really and truly, thank you for listening. I want you to pursue your dream to have your original work on the stage in front of a live audience. It’s scary, but I’ll be here with advice, encouragement, and a growing community of people like us. If you like SallyPAL, a new podcast goes out every Monday evening!

Remember: All the performances you’ve seen on stage once lived only in someone’s imagination…
Now it’s your turn!

Earth is heaven. Or hell. Your choice. - Wayne Dyer