Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why Endstation?

We have less than a week left of the 2011 Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival. The final shows will be performed, end of the summer business will be handled, strike and clean up will happen, hugs will be had, maybe a few tears shed, plans to keep in touch will be made.....and then just as fast as it all will be packed up, flights and trains caught, and everyone will scatter to various part of the country for the year.

The end of the festival is always the time when I begin to get particularly nostalgic for many reasons, and before you think this is going to be a completely depressing post, let me assure you that I am simply going to open up for a minute and speak from the heart.

(Geoff and Krista in 2007 after the final DC Fringe Festival performance of Tell Tale Heart)

Since we are constantly moving forward and planning for times ahead, Endstation is not just a summer thing, but a year- round commitment for all of the core staff. I have gotten the question before from my friends and family of why.....why endstation, why the involvement in this particular company?

I first met Geoffrey Kershner in the summer of 2006 when I was stage managing a show for his dad (Dr. Bill Kershner). Geoff had come in to do the fight choreography and we met and chatted briefly. He told me about his and Krista's plan for a professional theatre company here in the local area, and I immediately got excited at the prospect. I remember thinking how neat it was that he wanted to return to where he grew up and got the feeling of just how special this area was to him.

(shot taken during dress rehearsal for The Bluest Water in 2008

Fast forward a few months to the winter of 2007 and I was reminded of Geoff's plan when I saw he was in the audience for a show I was acting in. Through a series of e-mails I signed on to stage manage the 2007 summer production, the first official Endstation production occurring in the area. I had a feeling something special was brewing with this company, and I was excited to be a part of it.

I soon met the cast and design team and off we went. That summer the show toured in Lynchburg, VA; Sweet Briar, VA; Charlottesville, VA; and Washington, DC. We were met with different challenges throughout, but we rose up and worked through it all as a team. I was really impressed with the professionalism and artistry that this group brought to the table and I did not not have to think to hard when Geoff asked if I would be interested in coming on as a company/staff member.

(Romeo and Juliet 2008

Little did I know the journey that being part of this company would take me on. As we have continued to grow over the years there of course are things that have changed, but there are many things that have not. Geoff and Krista remain true to the mission statement they first created back in 2006, and all of us put our heart and sole into every production that rolls out from Endstation. Everything has a reason and purpose for why it is done. Everyone that has joined us no matter for how short the time, can feel the energy that the company collectively produces and it excites them to be a part of something incredibly special.                

(shots from Midsummer Nights Dream and My Brothers Knife, 2009

Like any company we have our growing pains and different challenges that we are faced with, but we figure it out and move forward. We come up with new and innovative ways to handle things. We have been loved and supported by the community around us and it's a huge motivating factor for us. We continue to be amazed and thankful at how every summer turns out, and it's such a joy to sit back on opening night and watch these incredible productions unfold. 

(shots from Complete Wrks Abridged, Alice in Wonderland, and Hamlet, 2010

So when people ask me why endstation......I say it's because I love it....I love the people, and I love the chance to be a part of something unique. A chance to watch creativity, artistry, and a true craft unfold every year. Yes, there are many other theatre companies, and many other summer theatre festivals around the world out there. But there is only one of our company, this special group of people that I get the privilege of not only working with, but being able to part of each other's lives and calling them friends. It's nice to be reminded and thankful for the time spent with Endstation throughout the year and during the festival. I could think of other places and things that I could be pursuing, but I choose here, and I choose Endstation for this time in my life and I am proud to be part of this company. And with the fear of sounding too sappy......(may be too late), it's all because of these two people who had and pursued a vision, saw it through and continue to do so. 

So thank you Geoff and Krista for what you have created..........I am honored to be a part of it. 

Till next time~
Maria Hayden
Company Manager

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