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Behind the Scenes Spotlight: The Production Director!

Meet the Artist, Erin Solemsaas!

Erin Solemsaas earned her MFA in Technical Production from Florida State University, where she taught various technical theatre courses, served as a scenic artist and technical director, and oversaw the Student Theatre Association. Before coming to the Rose, Erin served as the Assistant Production Manager at ZACH Theatre in Austin, TX.  She has also worked as the Safety Coordinator at the Santa Fe Opera; Assistant Sound & Lighting Instructor at Trollwood Performing Arts School in Fargo, ND; and Production Manager and Stage Manager at Theatre B in Fargo, ND.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your work at The Rose Theater? What does a Production Director do? What are some of the activities you do as the Rose Theater’s Production Director?

A: I make sure all technical aspects of a production are running smoothly. My job starts in the early planning stages when we are discussing schedules and designers for each show.  We then work with the director, designers, and production team to design and build the show before moving into rehearsals and performances.

Q: The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites was created by The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia and is visiting The Rose Theater on tour. What is different about bringing in a production that was created by another theater company?

A: A show like The Very Hungry Caterpillar is different because  I am brought on much later in the process than usual.  The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia has already designed and built the show, and we are putting it on our stage. I have to make sure we have what the other company needs to produce their show on our stage, then schedule our staff, and make sure The Rose Theater is ready before they arrive.

Q: What is your favorite part of being Production Director?

A: My favorite part is getting to see the finished production after months of hard work. It is so worth it to see the looks on the audiences’ faces!

Q: What is one of the most challenging things about your job?

A: One of the most challenging parts of my job is trying to balance the creative and the practical sides of the work.  Our designers and directors come up with some very imaginative concepts that are not always possible with some of the limitations we have, and so we have to figure out new ways to make the ideas come to life.

Q: Do you have any advice for a young person who might be interested in becoming a Production Director?

A: Learn about all elements of theater, particularly all of the backstage areas. Develop your writing and conversational skills so that you are able to clearly communicate with others. Become familiar with computer programs and keep up to date on new technology.

Thank you for sharing your talents with us, Erin!

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