Rainforest Theatre Festival

Perseverance Theatre, Inc

Funding Received: 2013
Douglas, AK
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
April 8, 2014

Keith Giles (left) and Kari Groven (right) watch as Nancy DeCherney, Executive Director of the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, lights candles  at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center to celebrate the Council's 39th year as the official arts agency of the City & Borough of Juneau. (JACC photo by Michael Penn for the Juneau Empire)

Perseverance Summerfest is following the weather pattern in Alaska and is beginning to heat-up! One of the major challenges of Summerfest is turning the space we have downtown into a theatre that can handle a repertory of three plays for a majority of the summer. Our technical director and artistic director have been hard at work with the team over at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center (JACC) to being the transformation.

Plans include installing a lighting grid (which the JACC has never had), building audience risers and other space modifications. One of the benefits of this work is that the JACC will be able to retain the lighting grid and offer that as an additional feature to future community users. Included in this update are some photos of the JACC as it is used today (i.e., community events and wedding receptions). There are also music events that take place at the JACC, but they’ve always been limited in what they could in terms of technical specifications.

Also included is a picture of one of the set models in the space. A end-stage/proscenium type set-up with audience risers and curtained wing areas. There will be a total of three sets that will be loaded into the space and changed over on a daily basis dependent on the show schedule. In this rough model you can see the top of portion of the room, with the bay of windows along the top. The technical team will black these out so that the Alaskan summer of perpetual light can be blocked out for the shows.

JACC Photo Courtesy of the JACC

Photo Courtesy of the JACC

Recent Wins
-- One of the major cruise companies has agreed to help us get the word to their passengers. This is a major win in that this carrier brings a major amount of passengers into Juneau during the summer months.

-- Excitement abounds for our summer workshop programming of new plays. It will be an exciting mix of local Alaskan and national artists that will be playing in the new play space this summer. More information to come in future blogs as commitments are finalized.

-- Calendaring is complete! This is a major win as logistics is one of the biggest challenges for this festival. Having staff, networking contacts, marketing, and production understanding when/how/where things are is a major step forward.

One of the biggest challenges of Perseverance Theatre Summerfest ‘14 is its scale. It’s been a major challenge to our staff—especially those in production—who are facing new challenges (and opportunities) that are both large and sometimes overwhelming: turning a space that isn’t a theatre into a theatre at the same time as building and working on the regular mainstage season, for example. It’s also been challenging as the summer market in Juneau is big business and working to find partners who can understand the potential impact of Summerfest has been challenging.

As we continue to plan and strategize our questions are really becoming more practical. Who do we need to hire to help us? How will manage all the resources needed to make this event happen? How can we not overwhelm our staff and burn everyone out before we even get to launching the event.

The size is a giant challenge for this organization. The opportunity to expand and stretch ourselves through partnerships and collaboration are key elements to our success!