If I hadn’t become a journalist or PR executive, I would have loved to become an actor. It’s a tough gig but when you’re on a stage there’s no cooler feeling in the world, knowing you have an audience wrapped up in what you’re saying and the actions you convey. Time stands still when you act. For a microcosmic period of time, you’re the center of attention. Maybe that’s why I envy my future brother-in-law, Sean, who constantly enamors crowds as an extremely talented working actor on the Philadelphia theatre scene.
I got swept up in theatre while at Binghamton University. I never was cast in a “main stage” production but I took acting classes with professors; met my now closest friends performing in a dozen campus shows; and sang in a repertory company. When I wasn’t in a classroom, I was typically in rehearsal. In grad school I was the first, and to date only, graduate student to be named “Best Actor” by Boston University’s Stage Troupe for a show. Most recently, I had a starring role in Belmont Dramatic Club’s “Old Acquaintance” after an eight-year absence from the stage. The adage is true: no matter how long it’s been it is just like riding a bike.
Working as a reporter, my articles would occasionally return to the theatre. Getting to interview Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright/actor Eric Bogosian, and original cast members of the musical “Jersey Boys” are two particular highlights.
Anyone who feels acting isn’t real work is fooling themselves. It takes the same blood, sweat and tears to put on a dynamic production. When you take the stage, you’re responsible for holding the attention spans of your audiences, regardless of whether they number 10 or 1,000 people. One mistake and the entire mood changes. In the world of theatre, rehearsals can be grueling; tempers flares; and drama always unfolds (no pun intended).
Presently, I am happy to parlay my background in theatre into public relations work with Nantucket-based White Heron Theatre Company, a recent client addition to the Regan Communications Group lineup. At last, here’s a client I can talk Stanislavski and Meisner acting methods with and not sound like I’m coming from outer space!
White Heron has existed for over a decade but experienced a recent rebirth on Nantucket. The theatre is in the midst of a capital campaign to build a brand new building dedicated solely to Equity theatre in the heart of downtown Nantucket. The company is also currently producing shows in collaboration with other local theatre companies until their new facility officially opens its doors.
Theatre is a visual art form so from a public relations standpoint, all pitches, releases, articles need to be expressive and full of energy and enthusiasm to help garner interest in this company and its varied productions. If our strategy comes off as boring in any way, then media – like potential audiences – will not want to sift through anything we send their way.
Theatre is also an intimate art form so in connecting with media through our PR efforts, we need to establish connections with leading Cape reporters and theatrical publications to convey the importance of White Heron’s efforts to help Equity theatre thrive on the island.
With a series of broadcast and print interviews set up and taking place both Cape-side and in Boston; a pair of Nantucket theatre-centric articles drafted; and ongoing releases distributed throughout New England, we’re hard at work “breaking legs” to put White Heron in the public relations spotlight.
-Ira Kantor, Team Paula