Friday, January 29, 2016

Going Behind-the-Scenes, Building Deeper Audience Connections

Kimberly Colburn and Andrew Knight.
Knight interviews Sandra Tsing Loh at the Inside the Season for The Madwoman in the Volvo.
Knight speaks with actor Paige Lindsey White from Abundance.
Colburn interviews the authors of Images of America: Vietnamese in Orange County, Thuy Vo Dang, Tram Le and Linda Trinh Vo, during the Inside the Season for Vietgone.
Guests tour the set of Abundance.
On a select Saturday morning during each show's run, just a few hours before the first performance that day, an audience gathers as South Coast Repertory staff members prepare for them. Director’s chairs are set in place, microphones readied, special guests arrive and, by 10:30 a.m., it all begins. SCR’s Inside the Season offers a lively two-hour discussion with in-depth interviews featuring cast members, people from the creative team and artisans from SCR’s production staff. The program offers attendees an opportunity to directly converse with the artists behind the production. SCR’s Literary Director Kimberly Colburn and Associate Literary Director Andrew Knight share the responsibilities of organizing and hosting the discussion.

“It’s a little like being a journalist,” says Colburn. “The preparation generally includes identifying guests, thinking up the best questions and gathering information from people around SCR to see if there’s anything we’ve missed or didn’t know about.” Whether it’s learning how the props department created edible sushi for the stage or how rain is created on stage, no detail is too small.

Once prepped and armed with insider information, Colburn and Knight engage the audience in the discussion, fielding questions and interviewing special guests. All these efforts culminate in a deeper insight into the creative process.

“I love that Inside the Season is a very frank behind-the-scenes look at SCR’s productions,” says Knight. “It’s actually rare for artists to have a casual, but supportive environment to speak about their work. We joke that what happens in Inside the Season stays in Inside the Season!”

“I like the sense that anything could happen,” adds Colburn. “I’m always surprised by the questions from the audience. Sometimes they think of questions that are of interest to them that would never have occurred to me to ask. Like what a stage manager’s book looks like or what lighting instruments we used.”

“I also think that the length of the program allows Inside the Season patrons to develop a deeper connection to the production,” continues Knight. “With two hours for discussion, no question is too small and no detail is omitted. The conversation is richer and more surprising because of that.”

Inside the Season allows those seeking a closer look into SCR’s productions the opportunity to explore, question and learn more about the work, challenges and accomplishments of those involved.

“By getting this full picture I think the Inside the Season audiences can truly appreciate the ingenuity of artists,” says Knight.

Special benefit for donors: If you’re a Friend of SCR who has given a gift of $75 or more, one of the benefits is complimentary admission to Inside the Season. Please arrange for your complimentary Inside the Season tickets by visiting the box office or calling (714) 708-5599. These special tickets are not available for purchase online.

If you’d like to become a Friend of SCR and take advantage of this benefit (a $180 value), please call (714) 708-5590.

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