I first had the opportunity to talk with Kirsten Park (Pioneer Theatre Company) in the very early days of the UTBA. In fact, she was the first of a few theater professionals that encouraged the UTBA to not be afraid to be honest about productions. “We can take it.” This attitude is one the UTBA hopes is shared by all of the theatre groups we visit. It both encourages an increased quality of Utah performances and acknowledges a need for critical perspectives across the Wasatch Front.
With great pleasure here is our Q & A with Kirsten Park!
1. What is your title?
Director of Marketing
2. What show/shows are you currently working on?
The 2010-2011 season ticket campaign, which includes : Hamlet, Dracula, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Black Comedy, In, The Diary of Anne Frank, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard and Rent.
3. In one sentence, describe your job.
Marketing and advertising PTC’s season ticket packages and single ticket sales.
4. What skills are necessary for a person in your position?
The ability to manage advertising, hit deadlines, and communicate, on paper and screen, the essence of a live play.
5. What kind of training did you go through to get to your position?
I’ve been in a different marketing roles for 20 years. Marketing is marketing.
6. What was your first job in theater?
7. Why do you think theater is important?
Theatre brings us the opportunity to safely live another person’s life and share their experiences; shared empathy is good for our broader community.
8. What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
Butts in seats. Theatre depends heavily on season, versus single, ticket sales. But times have changed and we are more mobile. We are less likely to fix our future plans if we don’t have to. Committing to seven dates up to a year in the future is daunting for the typical theatergoer, even those who regularly enjoy and attend theatre.
PTC has 15,844 seats to sell for every single title we produce, whether its a new author no one has ever heard of, or a classic like “Hamlet,” or a blockbuster musical like “Rent.” It’s too many to realistically sell one seat at a time so we have to convince audiences to plan ahead.
9. If you could change just one thing about the industry with the wave of a magic wand, what would it be?
I wish everyone felt as I: there is no bad art. You experience art, you have an opinion, and it either speaks to you or doesn’t. But you are still better off having experienced it, even if your opinion was “I didn’t like it,” than not having experienced. There are no wasted nights at the theatre.
10. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to do what you do?
Make sure you have a budget and don’t be scared of technology.