Gig&Tell: Surflight Theater Company

  • Great Experience at SurfLight 01/07/2015  6:53pm

    I just finished a late-fall/pre-Christmas production at SurfLight. I find some of these reviews kind of troubling as I had a remarkable time at SurfLight. Ours was an isolated show and not a large summer stock with cast coming and going and new productions rehearsing while old ones were running. I can see how that would be stressful and I can see how a terrible creative team or a disenfranchised cast member could be tough to deal with. But let's be honest, that just describes the problems with ANY job out there. We were fortunate to have a remarkable and collaborative creative team, a talented and friendly cast, and an tenacious crew. And the administration was supportive the whole way. They even went as far as providing a full Thanksgiving dinner during tech week AND an opening night party. Hannah Huling (Assistant GM) is probably the best thing at SurfLight. If there were any problems, she took care of it immediately. If we needed the van, we had it. Of course we did have our problems. One of the sponsors pulled at the last minute and the administration had to scramble (ensemble started a week late, the orchestra was replaced with tracks, and the carpenters only had a week to build the set). This hurt this smaller theatre company as they don't have the money such as big LORT theatres do. This definitely added A LOT of stress to our tech week, but we had talented artists and tireless technicians (and a whole lot of alcohol).

    There isn't much to do on the island in winter, but we were creative and still managed to take walks on the beach. It is also 2 hours from the city, so going back for an audition wasn't that hard. I recommend this theatre for anyone who likes to work, who appreciates the team effort and hard work that goes into putting on a production. I fully recommend SurfLight Theatre. Keep in mind it wasn't a summerstock but a later production. This theatre has potential, but so do you.

  • If Bill Martin is there you do not want to be    
    12/09/2014  1:03pm

    Unless you are a semi attractive man the current general manager, Bill Martin, will make it very clear that you mean nothing.
    He has screamed at patrons, employees, donors and more and yet nothing has been done to stop his behavior.
    he has driven away countless talents and wasted precious money ( Julie Budd?! )
    It's truly ashame that one awful angry man has been put in charge.

  • NEVER AGAIN. 09/30/2014  4:36pm

    Surflight could be a good theater, but they drove director Norb Jorder, the one good thing they had going for them, to quit and let Charlie Siedenberg direct a show. Charlie is the "press agent" for the theater and to say he's unqualified to direct theater professionals is the understatement of the year. The man had no plan, no notes, and no clue what he was doing from day one. It was the single most unprofessional experience of my career. All actors should avoid at all costs. The AEA housing is fine, though they may put you in the run down shack out back if they run out of actual housing, oh and if your door is broken it'll take two weeks for someone to fix it. The theater, however, is filthy and members of our cast got sick the day we moved into the dressing rooms. The GM was nice to me, but all we heard were stories about him yelling at others and he calls all the shots as there is no Artistic Director. Please do yourself a favor and don't work at Surflight.

    In regards to the comment above, I offer the alternative review.
    I know the person who posted that comment and while he is entitled to his own opinion, so is the rest of the cast and crew that he treated so poorly. I was a member of the tech staff for the summer and I have never worked with a less professional actor than him. Sure, the director wasnt great and sure the theatre could be better, but we all worked hard to put on a good show and he obviously did not. He should also remember that he was at a small summer stock theatre. He would walk around backstage making rude and gross comments. Onstage, he was as interesting as his bland, personality.

    He thought he was above everyone there and even missed a few performances because "broadway called". Or at least an audition for a broadway show did. Guess what. They never called him back.

    10/06/2014  10:34am
  • Thoughts? 03/29/2012  11:56am

    I was just offered a contract for the whole summer. Anyone work here before? Any thoughts? I'm noneq so it's basically NO pay but I do get points and would totally take the job if the theatre is great to work at.

    Honestly I've worked there before and the location of the theatre is awesome enough. And it may feel like the pay is crap, but it is NOT! You save SO much money by living in a place where everything is walking distance. Consider yourself lucky. As for the new creative team.. I don't know any of them anymore so I can't speak to that. the Locals are very kind; be kind back.

    04/10/2012  12:12am

    I worked at Surflight in the off season as a technical intern making 150/wk plus housing, but I have heard that they are now only offering 75/wk. For a technical person, I cannot reccommend working at Surflight. The organization of the new artistic crew was sub-par, for example: there were always events or things going on that didn't have technical crew coverage until the last minute- you never knew your schedule.

    Housing was good for summer stock- it is literally right next to the theatre, but if you have a problem with ants- good luck, they are everywhere (that's one of the trade offs of living so close to the beach)

    Overall, their touring children's theatre program seemed pretty good if you are just starting out, but the stage manager position was underpaid as well.

    08/23/2012  2:18am

    Surflight is in the midst of a monstrous change over in management. They are currently understaffed, underpaid, and require far too much of a single person.

    Actors:

    Non-union actors are hired on board as one of two position. Apprentice or Surflight To Go.

    Apprentices: I cannot recommend this job to any actor. You are paid $75 a week and are forced to do technical theatre jobs with the "opportunity" to understudy a mainstage production. Even if you are given the opportunity to understudy you rarely are attending rehearsals because they require to put in your shop hours for the technical aspect. The upside is if you do get to understudy you will receive EMC points.

    Surflight To Go: If hired on as a member of Surflight to go you will do what most children's theatre tours do. load unload drive and perform childrens shows anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 & 1/2 hours away from the premises. You get paid $54 per gig and then are left with tons of free time to do with as you please. I have heard few complaints from this program however you must hope you work with people you like for the 3 month contract with a optional 3 month extension.

    Equity:

    The general consensus i get from Equity performers is that they are underpaid and the housing is currently not up to equity standards. If you just want to work and are okay with making minimal production contract level pay. Then hop on board, but if you are used to being pampered this is not the place for you

    10/01/2012  4:27pm

    This theatre is not a good one to work for. Performers have heard the upper management state that Actors are interchangeable and that they are a dime a dozen. Whats more is that if you are non equity you will be required to do "other work" for the theatre like painting and building set pieces. A friend who is currently working for their educational touring company said he has been told to move furniture around to different housing, help the current TD clean out the theatres unpaid storage units and to shovel snow in winter. The only bonus this theatre offers to non union performers is EMC points for each summer prouction they do.Which seems to be the least they could do providing in addition to the $75- $150 you make as an actor. I wouldn't recommend working here to even my worst of enemies.

    03/16/2014  10:24pm
  • Surflight is getting their act together!    
    09/13/2013  9:30am

    I worked at Surflight for 4 months this summer and I have to say it was almost definitely the best summer theatre experience I've had. That being said, it is still summerstock.

    The new management is doing their part in reviving and upping the quality of the productions. Their biggest step toward that is that they had Norb Joerder direct the entire season this year (including White Christmas in Dec). He is awesome and, between him and all the quality actors they got, the shows really were great. I'm pretty sure he's coming back for next season.

    As far as working/living conditions go, the theatre itself is not in too bad of shape considering it went through a hurricane less than a year ago. Currently the only rehearsal space they have when the stage is in use is an outside dance deck, but Norb is pushing to get a better space. The housing is sufficient, but definitely not luxury. Non-eqs are 2-3 to a room, but there's a good size living room in each house as well. There are definitely some improvements to be made in the housing, but it really wasn't bad. Pay this year for interns was $50/wk, non-eqs $150/wk, and equity obviously varied, but I believe the base pay was somewhere around $400/wk. Also, interns/non-eqs get EMC points.

    The real draw of the place is 1. It's literally a block and a half from the beach and 2. the people. They had a great company of actors and other staff throughout the summer and there is some great support from the community. We had BBQs and potlucks hosted by both the staff and volunteers and even were invited to a couple's home for a 4th of July BBQ.

    So, to wrap this up, I think it's a great place to work and you get to do good shows with good people. The perks outweigh the negatives for sure and spending a summer at the beach is a great thing! I would definitely work here again!

    Equity getting to play a role you want on your resume? Do it. Intern/Ensemble? Good luck.

    I wish Surflight luck, and hope it can return to the quality theatre it once produced.

    Blocks from the beach, and a fun touristy area!

    01/14/2014  1:14pm
  • Show Place at Surflight 04/01/2013  2:21pm

    Hey all! So I was recently offered a job working for Show Place at Surflight. I understand that the company is under new management but I was curious if anyone had any feedback on what it is like to work there. I am also curious what the average tips are like per week there? Any feedback on this would be wonderful!