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Gig&Tell: Florida Studio Theatre

  • FST 05/02/2012  8:52am

    Fun place to be. Cute little theatre but the housing is disgusting! If you can handle that, then you will have a fun time.

    and Sarasota has the best beach in the contiguous states!!! :)

    05/15/2012  3:36pm

    Can you share more about your housing experience?

    01/05/2013  5:48pm

    Any more comments about this theater? And what was soo bad about the housing?

    08/23/2013  3:21pm

    Please elaborate on the housing, thanks!

    09/04/2013  7:36pm

    Great little theatre. Did a staged reading there. Everyone is very professional and nice. As far as housing, I had no problems. I had my own little house and it was great. I know they have several apartments, so I don't know if the previous reviewer stayed in a weird place. Housing is walking distance from downtown which is very cute. Full of shops and a Whole Foods for the health nuts. You'll be fine. Plus, if you do have housing issues, tell them. They have a guy they send out to fix anything. Take the gig, you'll love the area.

    09/14/2013  6:32pm

    How was the pay at this theatre?

    09/25/2013  11:37am

    Does anyone have any info on their apprentice program?

    12/19/2013  1:06pm

    Well...where to begin...

    Housing - not so bad. You want to live in 'Casa de 5th' or on 8th street. Otherwise, your housing will be on the old side, which may or may not be infested with rats.

    Cars - they give company cars, most of which are death traps on wheels. Faulty breaks, caving roofs, non functioning tail lights, stalling motors, tricky ignition.

    The theatre itself - they are cute performance spaces, but they are slapped together without and logic, thought, or intelligence. I witnessed one theatre space being prepared by interns (marketing, acting, stage management interns, at that) who were doing jobs that should have been performed by listened contractors and electricians. There was a sink whole, a loading dock door that never stayed shut, and a heating/cooling system that never worked correctly.

    Internship/apprenticeship - if you like doing the work of 10 people, handling a wide variety of jobs beyond what you signed up to do, and being guilt tripped into thinking this is your only option of employment, then this is the job for you! (Good luck trying to put in your notice, they won't accept it.)

    Pay - pennies on the dollar. If they remember to pay you.

    Safety - bring a hard hat and steel toe boots to tech. And perhaps have your AEA rep's phone number on speed dial.

    But, you'll be in Florida, so there's that.

    Ps - get ready to meet some interesting meth and crack heads.

    02/03/2014  11:15am

    Take the gig! If you're hired on as an actor, by all means take it.

    I did a show there 2 years ago and couldn't have had more fun if I tried. We were treated with so much respect and given anything we wanted. If there were issues with anything and I mean ANYTHING they were addressed immediately.

    Housing...there are 2 sets of housing. Actors and interns. The intern housing was sub par. But the actor housing was excellent. I, at the time, had an entire house to myself. My fellow actors were a mix of local and NY hires. But were all superb.

    Facilities were clean and pretty fun venues. Nothing huge and they're making due with the space they have but the theaters were not bad at all.

    Also opportunities to sit in on readings or participate in readings of potential shows. As well as invites to watch the other shows rehearsals now and then. (you know to give them an audience)

    There is a real sense of "we're all here together."

    Again, if you get offered the gig...take it.

    However...if you get offered an internship, you can do far better elsewhere. They pay interns very little.

    03/19/2014  3:17pm

    Subpar all around. I agree with the above on the part about the interns doing the work of 10 people who should be paid staff. The housing is not great, the pay for union actors is not great. A plus is the housing for the most part is downtown, so lots of access for things to do as far as coffee shops and restaurants. There are no longer company cars so Target and the mall is out of the question. There is a big grocery store about a mile from the housing. The beach is about a 3 mile walk but a beautiful one. Some of the staff were not helpful or kind and simply toe the company line to keep their job.

    11/27/2016  3:33pm

    Worked at FST recently and it was easily one of my favorite contracts I've ever done. I'd even say I stayed in one of the "lower tiered" houses, and it was still great. Private rooms (even for the interns), perfect location near the best beaches in the country, and a very supportive community!

    As pointed out above, there is a HUGE difference between being offered a position as an actor or as an intern, and I definitely agree with the fact that the interns are worked to the bone. BUT you should know what you're signing up for beforehand, especially when dealing with an internship. With that said, if you're offered an actor contract, I'd say 100% take it. The internship ? Maybe steer clear of unless you're very new to the business or are very financially well off and want to spend some time in a beautiful city.

    04/22/2017  10:18pm

    Could I get some more info on the Acting Apprentice Non Equity Company, if it is worth it? Also how long did it take for you to find out if you got in?

    05/22/2017  12:56pm

    Be warned: Work at FST at your own peril! This company is a hothouse environment where rumors abound and people are outwardly kind and generous, but inwardly incredibly selfish and vindictive. The leadership cares more about making money and cycling shows through than they do about performers' health/wellness or the quality of the artistic work. If they have decided, for any reason, that you are a person they have taken a disliking to, they will do everything in their power to make your life there miserable.

    I would strongly recommend avoiding FST at all costs.

    04/14/2018  10:15am

    About the acting internship - it's worth it if you are a talented singer/actor/musician, as they let apprentices understudy the mainstage, stage 3, and cabaret roles for EMC. No guaranteed performances, and they'll throw you in with 24-hour notice with maybe one or two put-in rehearsals before. They also don't allow understudies to observe rehearsals. And keep in mind, most of the roles are for white people.

    There are 2 possible tracks for apprentices. The in-house track does the in-house TYA, Christmas, and Young Playwrights Festival track. The touring track tours to schools for most of the year and participates in improv (house manages, available for rehearsals, can join the on-deck cast). The In-House track also does crew (every show for 2+ months) for some of the other mainstage shows. The touring track frequently gets on the road by 6am and gets back to FST around 4 (and in turn has a "lighter" secondary schedule). All tracks have secondary duties, which are basically primary duties since more hours/week is spent doing those than acting, and include box office, house managing, crew, shop, development/marketing, and other administrative work.

    Like I said, it's worth it if you are multi-faceted talented and you can sustain 14+ hour days a few times a week while doing customer service with old rich white people. You get a lot of practical experience working in a bunch of different areas of a factory-like regional theatre which chugs out 3+ shows every night. You meet a lot of great non-staff in the restaurant, who are all just people trying to do their thing just like you. They're awesome. Every few months the staff creative team will do workshops with the apprentices, but the real good info comes from talking to and making friends with the guest artists. Their advice as current working professionals in the business is invaluable and personally taught me so much more than I learned from any staff member.

    Worth it if you know your worth, can stand up for yourself, can put up a good facade, and effectively hunt down what you want to learn. Not worth it if you're not prepared to quickly learn how to do the above.

    Intern housing is 4/10. Guest artist housing is 6/10.

    Do it, or don't. But may the odds be ever in your favor.

    04/18/2018  10:50am

    I thought this was worth a post given things flying around from particularly negative individuals.

    I worked at FST this past year.

    Housing: First, they just opened up brand new actor housing. It’s beautiful. It’s called the Kretzmer housing. They also have several homes they use as well. Casa and 8th Street being some of them desired one.

    Car situation: isn’t the best. If you can bring your own do so. BUT, everything in Sarasota is very bike friendly. Weather year round is glorious. I’m not sure how, but several actors got bikes from the theatre and used them for the whole contract.

    Contract: It’s a TON of fun. You’re doing theatre minutes away from some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Everyone at the theatre is really nice and the work is high quality! I felt well taken care of the entire time I was there.

    During peak season they have several productions going on at once. (They have 5 performance spaces!!!)
    I saw some great theatre- I would have never saw otherwise.

    They have one of the largest subscriber bases in the country so, your shows are going to be always sold out.

    Just like anything else, what you put into it- you’re gonna get out of it.

    The theatre is constantly doing play-readings, workshops, and various festivals (improv)/galas and events. If you want to be involved in those while you’re doing there- they can be a fun way to keep your artistic juices flowing outside of your show.

    My day often looked like:
    Wake up.
    Go lay at the pool at the Westin/Ritz
    Or Go to Siesta/Lido Key
    Do a show.
    Enjoy Sarasota’s night life (yes, it exists)

    I’d totally work their again.

    07/31/2018  9:02am

    DO NOT WORK HERE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!! Florida Studio Theatre is where artistic dreams go to die. Everyone here is overworked and underpaid - especially the interns, who RUN THIS THEATRE for almost no money. Honestly it’s a crime. It’s all about saving money - these people pinch every penny they can and it’s the employees who suffer the consequences with less-than-cute living situations and production value that is just “good enough.” Artistic director doesn’t like your show? Maybe he’ll change it… after it’s opened. Need something? Tell 5 people and maybe one of them will pass it along to an intern, who will eventually get it done. Request a prop or set piece modification? Good luck. The tech team’s favorite words are “no” and “we can’t do that.” It’s honestly not their fault - they’re overworked and underpaid, just like the rest of the staff. Everyone is doing the bare minimum and not a single ounce more… except the interns… did I mention the interns?! Even though they’re like 20 jobs, don’t worry, if they mess anything up or they’re late even one time, they’ll be scolded by their superiors, or treated like a child, or told how disappointing they are by the artistic director personally. Literally. NO ONE DESERVES TO WORK HERE. This is NOT a place where you will learn professional theatre skills. This is NOT a place where professional artists can create or where real art is appreciated or even recognized. I have never felt less like an artist than I did at Florida Studio Theatre.

    08/16/2018  9:24pm