By: Lisa Middleton
Here at the Festival we just hosted our annual Loyal Service celebration where we recognize our devoted employees. I have been working at the Festival for more than 10 seasons now- I can’t believe it- and my tenure here is seems shockingly short compared to some of the veterans who have been here for 25, 30, 35 and 40+ seasons. In the Arts industry where things are often in flux the Festival has a strong history of a loyal and dedicated set of staff and artists- for me that speaks to the strength and pride that people take in working here. Employee loyalty is a great testament to an organization and the Festival is no exception.
So, what makes the Festival such a great place to work for (besides having access to some of the best theatre being produced inNorth America)? There are so many things I love about this place it is difficult to know where to begin- but perhaps it is the chance to grow and be stretched as a person and employee. When I began my journey at the Festival I was in the development department, from there I was given the opportunity to move to the audience development department around to help build our direct marketing program, further develop our website and web presence, build our analytics department and grow our Theatre Store before I finally was named the Director of Marketing and Audience Development- quite a journey! It’s the people that work at the Festival that give you the opportunities and instill the confidence in you to do bigger and better things. And my story is only one of many like this.
Loyalty to the Festival runs in the family—I think of Anita Gaffney, our current Administrative Director, who’s loyalty to the Festival runs all the way back to her father’s construction company who fought to build the iconic building we have today. Nora Polley also has a rich family legacy here at the Festival. Her grandfather was the choir master for our inaugural production of Richard III and her father rose to be the Administrative Director of the Festival. Nora followed in her family’s footsteps and has been at the Festival for 47 seasons in various positions, most notably, as a stage manager for 36 seasons! I think we’re going to need to start making recognition pins that read higher than 40 years!
As we are looking forward to our 2012 season it would be unforgivable not to mention some of the most loyal people at the Festival- our Members! Year after year they put an incredible amount of trust in us by making a financial donation above and beyond their ticket purchases. As our Members on sale week quickly approaches (November 14-!!!) our Members faithfully book tickets to productions even though they haven’t read reviews for yet or maybe haven’t even seen the production before. I feel so lucky to be a part of an organization where our patrons and staff are so dedicated to this marvelous Theatre that I have come to call home!
Please share your experiences with the Festival— a seasoned Member, a new attendee, past or present employee- let us know how the Festival has impacted your life!