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Full production team lifts KTG to new heights

Serina Marshall • Oct 21, 2019 at 10:33 AM

When audience members are in their seats watching their favorite theatre productions, there is a whole other world of activity happening off stage. For the first time in what seems like forever, Executive Director Tina Radtke says there’s a full production team making that magic happen at Kingsport Theatre Guild.

This team, which frees Tina up to do various other tasks within the theater and the community, comes together to produce and present the theatre our community sees every time they walk into a venue to watch a show. These dedicated members of the production team deserve recognition, Tina said, and an introduction.

Running the box office for KTG is Donna Lockhart. After working the box office for two mainstage shows now, Donna feels a bit more comfortable in the role.

“I love the theatre and my kids are the ones who have dragged me into KTG,” Donna says. “My middle child has Asperger syndrome and he loves to act and sing on stage. He has appeared in three shows (‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ being his first) with KTG and will be appearing in ‘Scrooge the Musical.’ He is the first one of us to get into theatre. His little sister has appeared in one show with him and his older brother has been in a show with him and three on his own.” Donna got roped into being onstage during “The Beatles Slept Here” and then was brought into “The Actor's Nightmare.” She was in the production of “110 Stories” which was a very emotional and moving show.

“For someone with anxiety, being on stage is a difficult thing, but I pushed through and we made an incredible show,” Donna continues. “I enjoy learning about the inner workings of theatre and would rather be behind the scenes, in the box office, or just an audience member.” Donna says she has already learned a lot from Tina and the many directors within KTG. “When they say that theatre brings people together into a tight-knit group, it’s really true. I feel like a part of a really big family. I don’t really have any plans for myself, but I would love to see my children excel in theatre and become well-rounded adults who respect and enjoy the arts.”

Isaiah Johnson has become an integral part of KTG by being its wig master. Currently a senior at Daniel Boone High School, Isaiah’s passion lies in theatre where he has been active in various productions throughout the past six years. He is excited to join the new production team as they bring you the 2019-2020 season. He has been interested in wigs since a very young age and this interest has grown through the years as he has been part of the theatre world. Isaiah is looking forward to the challenge of creating new designs for the upcoming season. Isaiah would like to thank KTG for giving him the opportunity to grow and develop new ideas in the field.

The production liaison for KTG is John Kaywood. John graduated from ETSU in 2013 with an Honors B.A. in Theatre/Dance.

“I started doing theatre in high school at Sullivan South in my senior year when I first played the storyteller/narrator in ‘Aladdin’ in 2009,” explains John. “Since then I have went on to work on 105 productions in multiple ways ranging from director, actor, stage manager and light designer.”

John served on the Kingsport Theatre Guild board before becoming production liaison. “Although my current position is at Kingsport Theatre Guild, I have worked in other local community theatre such as Johnson City Community Theatre, Two Pence Productions, and Jonesborough Repertory Theatre,” said John, who also served in the summer of 2015 as a venue director for the New York City International Fringe Festival and logistical stage manager for the Fresh Fruit Festival in New York City.

“When it comes to the theatre I love every aspect of the wonderful productions that we put on and that is the reason this position is great for me because I am able to aid in every aspect by watching rehearsal and making creative suggestions as well as helping lead the production team along with Tina,” John explained.

Michelle Weintre is part of the costume team and is the caretaker of the costume room at KTG. She moved here from southern California seven years ago. “I grew up in theatre and got the theatre bug from my mom,” Michelle said. “I was introduced to KTG through my sister Krista Billings back in 2013. Her boys were having a wonderful experience in the after school educational program taught by Tina Radtke. They were looking for someone to do costumes for a production of ‘Wind in the Willows.’ I was hooked!” Since then, Michelle has costumed shows including design and production.

“I've worked tech and been assistant stage manager, and I've been out under the lights in front of the audience,” Michelle explains. “I've expanded to different community theaters over the years, but KTG is where I got my groove back! It's a wonderful way to express my different levels of creativity.”

Joining the technical team is Matt Curry. Matt grew up in Cross Lanes, West Virginia, and has lived in Jonesborough the past six years. “I got involved with KTG after meeting my wife of five years, Jessica Hauldren-Curry.” Matt says his favorite part about working within the theatre is working with so many talented people on the production team and all of the actors and actresses who bring the sets they build to life.

Travis Dugger joins Kingsport Theatre Guild as the sound technician and operator. Travis’ love for theatre was born out of watching his daughter perform in local theatre productions. He found his skill and ability with sound was a perfect opportunity to join her in the fun. Since joining KTG, Travis has had the opportunity to work with many talented actors and singers in this region. Travis looks forward to many more theatre productions.

Taking care of props and posters is Jessica Hauldren-Curry. “The first time I volunteered with KTG was 13 years ago,” Jessica says. “I was the props mistress for a production of ‘Steel Magnolias.’ I initially auditioned for the role of Annelle. When I was cast as her understudy, I volunteered to help with props. I also ended up being part of the tech crew during the show. And, I loved it.”

Since then, Jessica has performed on stage a few times. But she’s done more of stage managing, costuming, set design, set dressing, and recently, directing. “I love being involved in all creative aspects of the theatre,” she said. “So, I was delighted when I was asked to help with props and show posters.”

There are so many different parts that go in to making a great show. Jessica believes Kingsport Theatre Guild is headed in a great direction toward improving the quality of shows. And, she enjoys finding good props that contribute to the shows.

“I will never grow tired of standing backstage as the lights come up on a new show,” she said. “All the hard work and love that comes together for that exact moment; that’s my favorite part of theatre.”

Every single team member helps create, evolve and bring the theatre to life. Their hard work and passion for the art is evident with every aspect of production. You can see that teamwork in action when Kingsport Theatre Guild stages “The Crucible” beginning Oct. 25.

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