Kendra Andreska is the Development Apprentice at Gulfshore Playhouse.
Hello All! My name is Kendra Andreska and this is my second season working at Gulfshore Playhouse. Even after two years, the sense of community this theatre and the city of Naples creates still amazes me. Between the staff, the volunteers, the creative teams, and the patrons, it’s a whole big family of kind, generous, and wickedly talented people coming together to make art.
In college, my main focus was performance. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little worried about missing the stage side of the theatre business when I took a job in development. Luckily, I work for a unique company. Gulfshore Playhouse strives to make sure I feel included. One of my favorite things we do as a company is our first reads. For every show we do, the whole staff is invited to watch the cast read the show’s script for the first time. (In case you don’t know about table reads, this is the very first day of rehearsal). It’s one of the rare times that everyone who works for Gulfshore Playhouse gets to come hang out together. Not all professional theatres invite their whole team to witness this moment. In fact, many of the actors we work with are always so surprised when we all come together the first day of rehearsal. From costume designers and carpenters to accountants and interns, we all gather together to celebrate the art we create together.
While many other theaters have some type of opening night party, the ones at Gulfshore Playhouse feel special. There’s something mystical about having all the people involved to put on a show in the same room with a real audience seeing the show for the first time. After the show, patrons are able to talk with the actors and ask the director questions. Patrons chat with the props artisan and learn random things like just how long it takes to make 2000 paper flowers. We all feel like we’ve shared a role in the show we just experienced, even though our experiences were all different. After all, none of it would be possible if all the separate pieces didn’t join together to make a complete puzzle. I like that we all need one another equally. Without staff members, creative teams, and actors there wouldn’t be a show for patrons to attend and without patrons there wouldn’t be a reason for there to even be a show. And in Naples, Florida everyone involved seems to truly understand that. Our patrons appreciate great work and our staff delivers it. Community is at the center of art and I’m proud to work at a place where creating beautiful art is at the center of its business.