Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Producing Director Leta Tremblay on the FullStop Collective

Leta Tremblay
 "Be humble and grateful. Be vivacious and empowered. Don't be afraid to fail."
- Leta Tremblay
 Producing Director 

 How did you come to theater?

I started performing onstage as a dancer when I was 3 years old. Looking back on my childhood now, I realize that I was constantly making up stories with my dolls, stuffed animals, friends, and cousins. I eagerly devoured the plot lines and characters of any TV show, movie, or book that I could get my eyes on. In Middle School, we took a class trip to see a college production of WEST SIDE STORY and I was hooked. I've been involved with theater in some form or another ever since.

Why did you decide to start a theater company?

In the fall of 2005, I attended the Eugene O'Neill National Theater Institute in Waterford, CT with 28 other student theater artists. While there, we kept up a rigorous 7 day a week schedule that included acting, directing, playwriting, design, movement and voice. We trained with the SITI Company and the Wooster Group and we learned how to be an ensemble. After graduating from our respective colleges a few years later, a contingent of us found ourselves in New York City and wanted to create a space where we could continue to work together and support each other's artistic goals. It was out of this desire that FullStop Collective was formed.

What differentiates FullStop from other companies?

The "Collective" part of FullStop Collective is central to how we are organized and function as a company. We have rotating Core Members that make up the Artistic Committee and those members make all artistic and business decisions for the company using a consensus based model. It's time consuming and sometimes frustrating but ultimately we've found that more voices are stronger than one. This has also led to a wide variety of productions over the past five years because we've been able to support individual artists' varied  views and aesthetics.

2012 IT Awards Party (Back row: Megan Weaver, Brian Hashimoto, Alexandra Bassett, Patrick Shaw, Christine Drew Benjamin, Front row: Diana Oh, Christopher Norwood, Leta Tremblay)
The Core Artistic Committee is also the main producing body of FullStop Collective so each of us have specific roles and responsibilities to ensure that we stay organized and everything gets done. For example, I've been FullStop Collective's Producing Director since 2009 and as such, I take the lead on renting performance and rehearsal space, hiring design personnel and other production roles, coordinating auditions, and a hundred other little things that come up that could never be listed out in a job description. We have organically found a system of checks and balances between our roles and are also always willing to lend a hand if anyone else on the team needs support.

Where do you see the company in five years? Ten?

Something that is so great about FullStop Collective is that it's constantly growing, shifting, and changing based on who joins the company. Many of our founding members are in graduate school programs or pursuing individual careers, while new artists have joined our ranks. 2013 will be a year of transition for us in which we'll be talking a lot about the future and our goals as a company and individuals. We would love to see the company grow to sustain at least 1-2 full time employees that don't have to play a balancing act between a day job and running a company in the near future.

Any advice for people thinking of starting their own company?

Have a strong vision of what you want and then be willing to compromise. Gather talented people around you that you admire and respect and who have their own strengths to add to a common goal. Be humble and grateful. Be vivacious and empowered. Don't be afraid to fail.

Do you have a day job, and how do you balance that with running FS?

Of course I do! It's a tough balancing act for sure. I often feel like I'm working two full time jobs but it's all worth in those moments when I see magic happening on stage. That's what I live for and I've found that it takes real determination and strength of will to get there. I try to get out of the city as often as I can to replenish my artistic well, take deep breaths, and find inspiration.

What (besides your current production of Lucy Gillespie's Outfoxed) is inspiring you right now?

I'm working on the development of a new musical inspired by the creation myth of Peter Pan and Neverland. I'm working with two amazing collaborators and we are on the hunt for a composer to round out our team. It's inspiring to read about the history that surrounds this story, discover vibrate images that paint the visual landscape, and just to be in a room filled with "yes and". 
What's coming up?

Next up for FullStop is our fourth annual short play festival at Galapagos Art Space, FOREPLAYS 2013: SPRING FEVER, which runs March 14-15, 2013. Tickets are already on sale! The event culminates in two seductive nights of bold theater, short films, and live music all based on the theme of "foreplay". We're accepting play submissions through December 16th at FOREPLAYS@fullstopcollective.org and are in the process of filling out our artistic team. Auditions will be held in January.

Sweet or salty and what kind?

Totally depends on my mood but predominately sweet. I'm vegan now but I used to LOVE ice cream. That was the hardest thing for me to give up. I have found a great raw vegan mint chocolate chip ice cream alternative that has a cashew base. Mmmmm.

Anything you'd like to add?

Thank you for having me, Micheline! I'm so glad that our paths crossed!

 Me too! 

Full Stop Collective is currently producing Lucy Gillespie's new play Outfoxed at Access Theater in Manhattan (interview coming soon) from now through December 16th. For ticket information, take your foxy self here.

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