I have worked at the Interlakes Theatre since 2014, and have been been in shows there since 2010. So I’d like to address some of the complaints I see listed here.
Before anything else, I’d like to say that last summer (2015) was awful. The cast and crew were all in all some of the worst I’ve ever met or had to work with. The tech crew didn’t do their jobs, the cast were a bunch of pot-heads and angry teenagers. It was a nightmare. However, I am extremely happy to be able to report that steps are being taken to ensure those problems do not re-occur.
-Our Producer, Nancy Barry, has hired a Production Manager many months in advance. He is overseeing the hiring of competent technical staff, and will also be managing that half of the operation.
-We are also working diligently on fundraising early on this year to ensure that we begin the season with a startup fund, so that we aren’t struggling to find money at the beginning of or during the season.
-We are working with local realtors well ahead of time to rent appropriate housing. Although there have occasionally been houses that have sprouted unexpected issues before, the rentals have generally been quite nice properties in this beautiful resort area.
If none of the above can assuage your concerns, keep this in mind: in the 8 years Nancy has been running this theatre, she was had ELEVEN actors book BROADWAY contracts (several of whom can still be seen in National Tours or on Broadway today). She’s also got someone in almost every non-equity tour currently running. So, if you are offered a contract here, you should feel pretty proud that you were spotted as a future working professional.
And for the numerous comments about how Nancy is “a nut-job” or “crazy”, I’d just like to point out that she puts her heart and soul into this theatre. She is truly passionate about this, and no, she doesn’t put up with bullshit from anyone about anything. So if expecting professionalism and decent work from the people she hires makes her “psycho”, then you’re damn right she’s crazy. And she has every right to be! If you talk to the people she’s hired who have gone on to be successful, I imagine they would agree with me when I say that I respect her immensely. And while working for her can be tough at times, in the end it makes you better at your job.
That’s my two cents. I’ll be working at the Interlakes Theatre again this summer, so if you have any questions for me, feel free to ask.
I was hired as a carpenter at Interlakes Theatre this past summer, and I can honestly say it was one of the worst experiences of my life.
Here is a bullet list why:
- you get paid $200 a week, but NEVER on time. and when you are paid, its usually never the full amount and Nancy pays you the second half sometimes almost a week later
-working conditions are OUTRAGEOUS! Technically, this theatre could be shut down in a second with all the labor laws Nancy breaks. Your tech team will consist of 3, maybe 4 people to build all 6 sets for the entire summer, led by an awful technical director such as Theodore Hoelter who will make the job ten times more impossible than it already is. You will work at LEAST 12 hour days working out of the "shop" which is a loading dock in the back of the high school, doing all your sawing, building, etc on the blacktop parking lot and fold out tables. You will continue working after the sun goes down, getting eaten alive by mosquitos, while sawing and operating power tools IN THE DARK. (thats right. worked outside at night. with no lighting. hooray safety)
-changeover. Sweet, sweet changeover. You WILL work 48 hours straight. They WILL NOT care that you have only slept 4 hours for the past two days. They WILL NOT care that you've only eaten once over the past two days. You WILL get worked to the bone. You WILL get injured. They WILL NOT care.
-No budget. Nancy Barry is psycho and I guess she thinks the shows always go up because of magic fairies that come do everything . (magic fairies being the 3 carpenters she's hired) You will get blamed when a set piece isn't finished even though you ween't given enough resources, supplies, or budget to go buy resources and supplies.
-no time. no organization. always frantically slapping things together last minute.
If you're desperate for a job, and I mean REALLY desperate, then take it. It will be... a challenge, to put it nicely. I would never ever take a job there as any tech position again. I hear actors have it pretty good though.
For those who read this and the review below, please keep my words in mind.
I also worked at the Interlakes Theatre this summer. And two particular carpenters this summer (who I strongly suspect wrote these two reviews, as they are dating and attending the same university, and these two reviews were posted within 15 minutes of each other) were 19 year old kids who obviously had no idea what summer stock is about, or what working at a summer stock theatre entails.
The “outrageous” working conditions, while certainly not good or even adequate at this theatre, are not unusual when one has two weeks to build a show. And the changeover’s were CERTAINLY not unusual, OR difficult. Many a summer stock theatre has their crew stay through the night into the next morning and even afternoon. These carpenters were incredibly lazy. And they worked so slowly that the box office staff had to stay late every changeover because they did not get any work done in a reasonable amount of time.
A few of my personal observations…
-One of our carpenters -who I will not mention by name- actually left with a couple of other people during one changeover to get food for everyone who was working. And while this person was out, they smoked something (marijuana) and came back obviously under the influence. This kid then proceeded to pick up a power tool and tried to continue working until our company manager sent them home.
-I personally observed the carpenters sitting down, goofing off, chatting, etc. while Theodore Hoelter was working on cutting or building set pieces. Theodore was the only one who actually got any shit done. The rest were lazy fucks who had no work ethic.
-All the carpenters were performers. Several often expressed their desire to be working on stage as opposed to being carpenters. They had no experience, and no real want to learn about the trade.
-They expected changeover to be done by midnight-1am. During West Side Story changeover (our very first of the summer), they all left before 2am because they were “tired”. Box office staff, company manager, stage manager, and our fucking producer Nancy Barry stayed until after 4am finishing up the work that the techies should have done.
Interlakes is not a great place to work due to various issues with money, professionalism, and organization. But you are paid in full before you leave, and the experience is worth it. So don’t take the words of two bitchy teenagers. If you want to succeed here you need to be professional, which these two were certainly not.
The city is beautiful with great restaurants. I worked with a lot of talented people, and enjoyed most of the creative team. They paid me all I was due by the end of the summer, but they were occasionally behind on per diem and paychecks. They work you really hard with crazy hours and little to no time off. It's thrilling in a way.
Also, prepare yourself for really bad housing and lots of un-professionalism.
If you are offered a good role or just starting out, go for it. With a good attitude, it will be a great experience. Just know what you're getting into.
who did you not like in the creative team?
I was an actor for one of the shows in their 2015 season. I made friends that I'll have for the rest of my life, and I learned A LOT. Professionally speaking, they don't have all of their ducks in a row, but if you need to build your resume, Interlakes still puts on really great shows. All of the actors they cast are always fantastic, the directors are great, so the shows end up being pretty awesome. This is not the place for divas or bad attitudes. You will have to go through things like not getting paid on time, figuring out transportation to the theater is sometimes a pain-in-the-ass, but Nancy is fun and it's a beautiful place to spend your summer. After rehearsals, the lake is the perfect way to end your day hanging out with the cast on the beach. It's a great time! :)
Inter-lakes Summer theater is actually hell on earth if you plan on being a "Carpenter" aka everyone's bitch. You get paid $200 a week (never on time, never the full amount) to work over 12 hours a day without a single day off for the entire time you're there. Actors get every other monday off, but you better believe you'll be working in the "shop" all day while they're out. I say "shop" because this theater has no shop. We spent the entire summer working out of a tiny loading bay/parking lot in the baking heat, with little to no tools/tables. Also, Technical Director Theodore Hoelter is the most incompetent man to ever lead a crew. You and one to two other people (yes, she will only hire around 3-4 techies total to do everything) will have to build EVERYTHING. During the changeovers, you will experience the actors bitching they have to do any tech work, while you stay at the theater until 4-8am and watch Theodore Hoelter make sad attempts to figure out rigging. DO NOT TAKE THIS JOB. Seriously, it isn't worth the money, time, stress, energy, lack of sleep, depression, or resume building. You will not be able to save money either. You WILL NOT HAVE TIME TO COOK, hence you'll be eating out every meal. Also, keeping a positive reputation there is nearly impossible, because Nancy Barry doesn't understand why things don't get done when she hires so few people do everything. Heed my warning, please!
Pros: Talented casts, gorgeous town, Wine'ing Butcher/Lakeside, working with a variety of directors/choreographers, only responsibility is striking the set (no cleaning or janitorial duties), gym membership.
Cons: Late pay (99% of the time), Nancy Barry, low pay, crap-shoot housing.
Truth? If it is your first gig, or you really need a variety of shows on your resume, take it. She gets a lot of first-time performers who (for whatever reason) have not worked professionally yet - which is how she gets away with her behavior. She never pays her actors on time and unfortunately, it's an almost awkward process to hunt her down for your check. You have absolutely no days off between cabarets and rehearsals.
The cast/creative team make the entire experience. If you get a cast that don't get along, it's going to be a LONG summer.
Housing is a mess - one of the houses had black mold growing in the ceiling & they later came to find out that she hadn't even inspected the house before deciding to house her actors there. The situation was rectified but not until more than halfway into the second show of the season. Another house had (apx.) 20 people living in it and two bathrooms (both bathrooms didn't work for an entire week before someone called a plumber and actors would get to the school early to SHOWER).
Meredith is a beautiful place to spend your summer and the families who get involved with the theatre are amazing and sweet people who are incredibly welcoming.
Really think about this and be prepared for what you're getting yourself into. Also, bring your own sheets and have some money saved before you go because it will most likely be about 3 weeks before you get your first check.
I had an amazing summer but it was because of the people I worked with and the town I was in. I normally wouldn't contribute to this tab on here but I felt a responsibility to make sure you know what you're getting into.
PROS: Some really talented actors, singers, dancers, designers and musicians. Made some great friends. Meredith is beautiful. The Wining Butcher is the greatest thing on earth and at the end of the day it's about the awesome people trying to make some good out of bad... because the rest of the day it's ridiculous.
CONS: There is no management of this place. From poor stage managers who can't schedule anything to a producer who can't seem to remember the last time she paid anyone (it was ALWAYS late). Throw in 25 people (4-6 people in one room), one working bathroom and 1 fridge meant for a family of 4 and you have a disaster on your hands (not to mention a possible safety hazard). The year before a bear broke into one of the houses. This is NOT a joke. One of the other houses is called Spider Castle. Spider Castle! And don’t forget your sheets because otherwise you’ll fall asleep cold on a gross mattress, crying the first few nights til someone is willing to drive you to Walmart.
Shows are on par with high school, because you are in a high school and the producer tries to spend as little money as possible.
OVERALL: This place is nuts. The producer who runs it is nuts.
And I feel I must say something so that people don’t make the same mistake.
I've never worked there, just received an offer for this summer and am regurgitating what others have said...
The pay is kind of shitty, but it's a non eq stock job, so there's that. Maybe $200 a week? The area is apparently beautiful, great scenery (lakes all around), and plenty to do on time off. Great productions, with great sets, but performed at a highschool. Housing sucks...4 people in one room kind of deal. They apparently had problems a few years ago getting people's final pay together, but a few actors who've worked recently for them claims that has been resolved.
From what I can see on youtube, the productions are great. I say if you have no other offers then definitely go for it!
The pay sucks and its disorganized BUT the productions, talent, and creative staff are kind of amazing. Every OTHER monday off. True summerstock experience. Work here for the right role
This place is awful. Yes, the talent is pretty good, but other than that it's the most terrible place I ever worked. The producer is a true nut job. Forget about being paid on time. She gives you every excuse in the book as to why checks are late. The housing is crap-- run down cottages and crappy rental houses with 6 to a room and mattresses on the floor. Oh, and meals provided on double show days? A couple packages of lunch meat and a loaf of bread. Maybe a bag of chips. Don't even get me started on the quality of the productions. I've seen high schools do 100x better. I would NEVER work here again. Not for a role, not for anything.
I recently worked here and everyone else's posts are spot on. The town is gorgeous, very picturesque, with nice weather. The theatre is in a high school. The quality of the productions was surprisingly high- a lot of talent and really great, established directors. Extremely long and insane hours. I was impressed by the professionalism of the productions, and disappointed with the unprofessionalism of the young casts (most in college, first gig kinda thing). The producer is kind of crazy and slightly offensive. Just know that she's like that to everybody. The pay was late, but I did get all my contractual pay before I left. The pay is really low and the housing is a complete grab-bag. You could get very lucky and have your own room, or you could share a non-air conditioned room with up to 5 people. Come with a car if you have one, it sucks trying to get a ride and everyone's too busy with rehearsal to take you anywhere. In all, I would recommend if you are just starting out or really like to work.
I was an actor through the season last summer and re: the actor threatening to quit on one of the opening nights ... while management was a bit behind on the pay, it was as much of a diva moment as anything else. All of us were paid in full before departing.
Interlakes was one of the best experiences I've had. I've met some of my best friends whom I see daily since most of us live in NYC. It's a TRUE Summerstock experience and everyone is there for the opportunity to build resumes whilst having an absolute blast. It's a lot of hard work and long days, but it the end it is absolutely worth every second of it. As long as you go into the experience with a "team player" attitude, you'll have a great time; Summerstock isn't the place for divas.
Since this has become quite the novel, I figure I might as well put in a plug for how awesome the town of Meredith is. Not only do you spend the summer doing theatre, you get to spend it in a beautiful lake-resort town. It's GORG and the restaurants are baller.
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