In my long career in theatre, I have never experienced anything like the Arundel Barn Playhouse. From start to finish, the experience was a nightmare. I will never, ever forget the way the owner/producer treated myself and fellow company members. I could write endless paragraphs and give hundreds of examples of what happened during my summer here, but let me simply say this...Beware.
honestly I'm curious. I want details.
It's still just as wretched now. The owner is abusive, the living space is unlivable, and there is nowhere to go in what down time you have. An absolute miss unless its your only offer. DO NOT bother unless you land at least one leading role for the summer, she's marginally kinder to the less-replacable, and the directors work hard to act as a buffer, so thats something.
DO NOT work for this theatre company.
Do they hire AEA or only NON EQ
YESSSS!! The producer is without a doubt the most psychotic, abusive , hideous person I have ever encountered in the business
I've actually done several seasons at this theatre, my last season was just a few years ago. I had auditioned for them at Strawhats initially. It seems everyone has their diferent story and feelings of Arundel. I had a wonderful time and experience and got along with the art. Director perfectly fine.never had an issue. If I had ever experienced what people suggest I wouldn't have ever gone back. And I think for young non union actors this is a dream job because you're not gonna find yourself getting to play these roles. It pays slightly better than some non union & apprentice/internships, and you're not being stuck in the chorus for the summer like most places.
I had a wonderful time at Arundel. That doesn't mean I'm blind and deaf. Adrienne, the owner and HBIC is a tyrant. I've worked for some crazy people but she is really abusive. Once told me she does her best not to hire minorities or homosexuals because they 'are mouthy.' Her treatment of you is also in direct proportion to how big your role is. And people, a bunch of leads that you are 20 years to young for do nothing for a professional resume.
how is the production quality?
The production quality is very low. The owner/artistic director/madwoman is verbally abusive. The place is a dump in the dangerous sense: they've had OSHA called in previous years and fines were levied for a reason, folks. The directors are great, though, and generally try to act as a buffer, but there is only so much they can do. The nights up there get very cold, especially at the edges of the season, and she does not allow you to turn up the heat, and yes her tech minions will rat you out just to avoid taking the brunt of her screaming fits (everyone lives together, so its pretty obvious when one part of the house is magically warmer than 60 degrees.) The backstage area is very tiny and you WILL get random splinters. There is nowhere near enough tech staff so be prepared to take care of your own needs if anything happens too close to curtain. Basically, if you have any other offers at all, skip this place. If you do get stuck here, bring extra blankets, be prepared to have 3 minute showers (unless you're okay with using your meal breaks to shower instead of the morning or evening) and your shoe repair kit (it's all mud and gravel here.) There's nothing to do in the area, as it's basically a geriatric tourist area, so at least you'll have an easy time hanging on to that paycheck. The cost of groceries is pretty high in this area as well, so it's not a bad idea to load up on staples if you're driving here. Also, if you're not bringing your own car, it is going to suck hard unless you're the type to be everyone's best friend at all times. There are way too many people per kitchen, as there are two small domestic kitchens for everyone, which means if you like a hot breakfast get up at 5am, and if you like hot lunches and dinners, try to organize group meals so you have a chance to use the stove. Also, just try not to take Adrienne's crap personally, she makes way too many people cry every week and it's mostly just a result of the fact that she's an ex-ballerina who has become old, fat, and achy and takes out her own body image issues and pain days on whoever looks like a viable victim.
In response to the question on production quality, it varies based on who is hired as the budget is half a shoestring. Here's a link to production photos from Nunsense a few years back: www.aleeviliesis.com If you keep your head down and try not to let the owner get to you, it's not too bad. I definitely wouldn't go back for a second round. If it's your only offer for the summer I wouldn't pass it up, but I'd take less pay elsewhere for sure. I know a few friends who have had paycheck issues here, so there's that to consider too. The most comfortable positions are actors with leading roles as they only see her nicest side. A word of advice, try to avoid colloquialisms and turns of phrase around her when she's having a bad day or looks tired: I've seen a few arguments that would have been hilarious who's-on-first moments if they were on stage instead of backstage.
This theatre has closed.
I nearly turned down this contract due to the overwhelming negativity I read on Gig and Tell. I'm so happy I didn't.
Yes, Adrienne, the owner and Artistic Director, can be a difficult person to work with. She commands respect and has a very short temper (she admits it herself). There's no doubt her bedside manner is terrible. But if you can get over that and listen to what she has to say, 90% of the time, she's got a good point.
At the end of the day, she's 77 years old and probably the hardest working employee at the theatre. And although her views are sometimes skewed, she's just trying to put on a great production.
The directors she hires are great! I enjoyed working with them immensely.
As to the housing, I really didn't find it that bad. There's two houses, with a mix of double and single rooms (only a few people had single rooms). The kitchen's were fully functional and if you communicate a bit with your housemates, there's plenty of time and space to do your own cooking. Each house has two bathrooms, which I never had to wait too long to use.
There's PLENTY to do in the area. You're less than 15 minutes to the beach, by car. And about 30 minutes by car to Portland, Portsmouth or Ogunquit.
Lots of cast members had cars so it was easy to get around. But Adrienne makes it very clear that there's a company car which administrative staff will happily drive you for both personal and fun matters.
It's summer stock. They don't have a ton of money. But they make the most out of what they've got. Is it the best place I've ever worked? No. But I had a great summer and am so happy I went!
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