A Thanks to the People Behind the Productions

As I look in past folders and sort through old files, trying to work my way into this new role, I know that I am following many talented, passionate people. It is wonderful to look through old minutes and newsletters and see the amazing support given by this community, from show attendance to memberships and sponsors. Just today I found a great piece written by our own Julie Stewart, via Backstage News January 2005. It seems that even ten years ago she was sending advice my way.

People ask, “What does it take to produce a show?” It’s sort of like having a baby. The first contact is exciting. Then there are the months of planning. Finally, as the date draws near, it is almost agonizing to make sure everything has been done right, all obligations and promises have been fulfilled, everything is ready, and the nest has been built. Then, at last, the curtain opens, sometimes figuratively, and the audience responds with loud applause. Wow! It’s actually happening. The show has started. Everything looks great.


After initial contact with the performer (or agent), discussions begin about dates, times, payments, etc. The artist/production company provides a “rider” (needs list). This list is brought to the attention of the technical committee to make sure that we can accommodate the event. All the available information and personal impressions are brought to the production committee. After everything is reviewed and approved, a recommendation is presented to the Board of Directors. Upon approval, the contract is signed and the real work begins.


We begin marketing an event approximately eight weeks prior to the scheduled date. Tickets and posters are printed, fliers are posted in local businesses, and community calendars are notified. Two weeks before the show, our concert/show teams meet. Some examples of tasks to be satisfied are box office, concessions, hospitality, greeters, ushers, sound, and lights. The technical team is usually the first on the scene at the Opera House. They try to have everything set up so that it is “Plug ‘n Play” as much as possible when the artists arrive. Once the equipment is set, sound checks begin. This is always a tedious process; no unnecessary personnel are allowed in the auditorium, Once the sound is deemed “perfect,” the lighting is set. It’s almost SHOW TIME!


The performance ends. Everyone has had a good time. The merchandise has been sold, autographs have all been signed, the performers have left.


CLEAN UP! CLEAN UP! EVERYBODY CLEAN UP! Change the marquee. There’s another show coming up. It’s about to start all over again!

So much goes into each show and so many people volunteer their time and donate their money to help bring these productions to Hawkinsville. I want to thank each of you for welcoming me into this new position. I want to thank Julie Stewart and those before her for working hard to keep the arts alive in our small town. They have set high standards and wonderful footsteps for me to follow.

We have an incredible gift in the Hawkinsville Opera House. Beautifully restored with perfect acoustics, I am so thankful to represent such a jewel. If you haven’t already stopped by for a visit, then let us take you on a tour or better yet – come to our next show!

Another thanks to all of our supporters, both in time and financials. We honestly could not do this without you. If you are interested in volunteering or becoming a member or sponsor, email us at info@hawkinsvilleoperahouse.com or visit the membership or sponsor pages on our website. And don’t forget to check out our upcoming shows, with more added soon!



  1. Reply
    Liz Popwell says

    The Hawkinsville/Pulaski County Arts Council was so fortunate to have such an effervescent and talented program coordinator in Julie Stewart for around 18 years. We are equally excited now to have Kristen Berryhill join us in that capacity. We hope you will stop by and welcome her to the Opera House.

  2. Reply
    Merle Nelson says

    After taking a “leave of absence” due to sickness in my family, I attended my first meeting back as a Board Member of the Hawkinsville Pulaski Arts Council. I am also a volunteer. We appreciate the team of Julie and Mike Stewart for all those years. Yes we are very happy to have Kristin Berryhill to join us as Program / Events Coordinator. I could feel the excitement in the meeting. This town is very fortunate to have the Opera House. We appreciate your support.

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