Gig&Tell: Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre

  • Don't do it.    
    08/28/2016  4:13am

    I worked one contract at WHDT and only spending two months there, so take my advice with that grain of salt.

    I'll start with the good:
    - SOME of the higher-ups actually care and are fun to work with
    - the full-time kitchen/dinner/bar/box office staff who aren't in the shows are wonderful people

    That's where my that list ends.
    I'll proceed with the bad, and I'll try to be as objective and specific as possible:
    - the pay is measly
    - the housing is absolutely terrible. It's small, it's dirty, it's badly maintained. I think that if a licensed inspector took a look, the building would be condemned. If you have a choice, stay away from the basement bedrooms (black mold and rats have been sighted), and try to get your own room (good luck). The bathrooms and kitchen are dingy and outdated. The "house manager" situation is ridiculous. There is NO AC--and in the summer, that house is simply unlivable. Personal AC systems are banned, however, some 'veterans' (I'll get to that next) get away with it. The laundry is awful, the dishes and trash simply don't get taken care of. There are bugs EVERYWHERE.
    - the 'veterans'. This theatre keeps hiring the same people over and over again, whether they're the locals or those who can't seem to find better jobs. The actors that keep working here think of themselves as elite--and they will treat you that way. This is my biggest beef with this place. I am usually happy to bite my tongue and do my job, but when you're going to Wohlfahrt Haus high school it becomes difficult. These veterans will think they are better than you, worth more, more talented, and (most importantly) consider themselves above the law--they break rules, fraternize with the creatives, disregard common curtesy/respect because they consider themselves Wohlfahrt elites. It's disgusting. As a newbie you will have no rights, respect and will be looked down upon--not a fun feeling when you're going to do a job.
    - the blatant unprofessionalism, from actors changing the choreo/blocking/costumes to something that suits them more. Showing up drunk or extremely hung over. Chewing gum on stage. Actors giving other actors notes. And NO ONE is held accountable because no one actually does their job, and no one wants to offend the 'veterans' who are the biggest culprits of these offenses.
    - there is nothing to do in Wytheville. Especially if you don't have a car. There's enough to do for a few days off... But by the time you're done, you'll be begging for civilization and walking-distance amenities.
    - NOTHING IS DONE TO TAKE CARE OF ALL THE PROBLEMS MENTIONED. no one seems to prioritize solving all of this theatre's problems. No wonder it's losing money and gaining a bad reputation--no one seems concerned about fixing it, from the poor business model of hiring the same awful people over and over, to the shameful way some of the regulars act. I couldn't get out fast enough.

    I took the contract thinking it would be a refreshing break from the bustle of NYC and higher-strung theatres. However, it's unbelievable unprofessionalism has left such a sour taste in my mouth, I will never be returning. Save yourself the disappointment.

    ^^^ OMG! 1000% YES! Couldn't have said it better!

    09/14/2016  7:45pm

    Yes, as he suggested, take his advice with a grain of salt. He got in an argument with someone at the theatre, he was in the wrong, so he posted out of anger. He was not thinking objectively.

    - The pay is not great initially. However, negotiations can be made. Also, with serving and tips I have more than doubled my salary every week.
    - The housing is not terrible. It's not small. It's a nine bedroom house. The bedrooms are big. There are two large kitchens, both including all major appliances. There's a large living area with a separate area with a table to sit down and eat at. There's a large front and back yard. There's a basement with laundry facilities, a double sink, and a ping pong table. When it's unbearably hot in the summer, not one thing is said to anyone with an a/c unit. The ones who had one asked. You just have to ask! I've had one, and I am not a so called "veteran." No one there wants you to be living miserably or uncomfortably. The theatre is run by reasonable people. Ask.
    - If you are rude, unkind, disrespectful, or not easy to get along with over the course of any contract at any theatre, you will not be respected. If you come to the Wohlfahrt Haus with a positive attitude, ready to work hard and respect those who do return, you will be loved and accepted and always have a place to return to. Since when is it a bad thing that a theatre rehires talented, smart, hard working actors that the patrons love? That's called smart business! The "veterans" are kind people who work elsewhere non stop, and choose to come back because WHDT is a good place to work. In fact, the one veteran whom you are mainly referring to, books work all over the country constantly. Perhaps jealousy clouded your judgement.
    - There's enough to do in Wytheville, even if you don't have a car. You just have to leave the house and walk! It's worth it. The area is beautiful. Just a couple of blocks from the cast house you will find Main Street. On Main Street there are several wonderful restaurants and shops. There's a farmers market, a smoothie shop, brick oven pizza, an amazing clothing boutique (you can make your own perfume or buy a unique outfit,) and night life. Also within walking distance (seven min walk) is a grocery store, two dollar stores, the post office, churches, and the library. You just have to walk! If you're against walking, well then, not having a car will be a problem. And yes, it is a small town, but I enjoy the beautiful mountains for a few months.
    - Losing money and gaining a bad rep? Where did you get this information? They are doing just fine. There was just a sold out run of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, including added shows.

    Clearly, this is all about perspective. If you come in with a positive and optimistic attitude, you will more than likely have a positive experience.

    12/28/2016  5:22am
  • Don't Do It    
    07/02/2013  3:31pm

    Just don't do it. You'll regret it. Just trust me on th

    Can you elaborate? I mean besides that pay scale. Woof.

    07/02/2013  8:35pm

    -There is nothing in that town. NOTHING. The population is less than 15,000 TOTAL. And the locals are...WOOF. Not a day went by where I didn't see a Confederate flag.
    -The creatives and production team are good-hearted people with good intentions, but the theater itself is terribly managed and those working to make it all happen are spread far too thin.
    -Many of the actors are talented, amazing people, but the theater tends to use the same people over and over so you never get to grow as an actor - especially if you are not one of the favorites (and they definitely play favorites). This also leads to bad casting decisions with many roles going to the creative team members (which I'm against).
    -Actors have to strike the set. Always a 'no.'
    -If you don't drive down there, you will have no means of transportation besides fellow actors. And oh, TRAVEL is NOT provided.
    -No understudies or swings. So if you're hurt or sick, you're either 1) going on anyway, or 2) someone else has to hurriedly learn that track and the cast has to endure put-ins.
    -The only way to make additional money is to serve in the kitchen, but shifts go according to seniority so don't expect a whole lot to start with, and the kitchen manager is a world-class b-word. She's condescending and cold and unless she's changed her lifestyle, quite round and bitter about it.

    07/02/2013  11:53pm

    I had an amazing time working at the Wohlfahrt Haus! I performed at WHDT for 6 months a few years ago and went back for another contract last year. It was like coming home! The friends I made here are like family, housing is provided, we got paid to do what we love, and there ARE fun things to do in Wytheville/the surrounding area. A few of my favorites are: West Wind Winery, Big Walker Lookout, Cascade Falls trail near Blacksburg, Seven Sisters trail, the Log House, Skeeter Dog, and the Farmer's Daughter (a cute little store in town). There's even a public library that's walking distance from the house! Not to mention, the amazing Fitness Center near the theatre which has a water slide and a hot tub!! :-)

    08/21/2013  8:19am

    This theatre is basically glorified community theatre. Years ago it was great but now it's a mess. They have several issues to work out. The production quality is very low. You see the set on opening and assume it's not finished when it is, the music director doesn't know what they're doing most of the time and will teach people the wrong parts and can barely play the piano. The stage-manager rarely watches the shows and will only intervene when something goes wrong and one of the performers that has been there for many contracts complains. If your contract is broken they won't do a thing about it. There are actors who have staff jobs (i.e. company manager, backstage manager) that will tell you when you are doing something that bothers them but when you come to them with a problem they will say "not my job". Laundry is always an issue as in sometimes it doesn't get done and the people who are PAID to do jobs like costumes, props, etc complain when they have to do their job. The staff has just gotten lazy and none of them are truly qualified to do the job they are paid to do. I say give it a few years before working there and they will hopefully work out the kinks or close. Don't expect to serve because even if they tell you that you will be serving they may not put you on the schedule. The town is small and there isn't much to do unless you have money which at the rate they pay weekly you can't afford it. If you don't have a car you are basically stuck so if you do work there then make friends with someone with a car.

    If you need an escape from the busy world and want to be in a beautiful place with lots of mountains for a few months then take a contract here or if you can't do anything else but theatre then take a contract here. The housing is decent, the pay is low, they treat you poorly, and are lazy but you see lots of mountains.

    09/06/2013  2:14pm

    The powers that be that work there are a group of good people who have just been in that town far too long. I had a so so experience with the company a couple years back but I've been told that things have kind of gotten worst. I truly feel if they would open their minds to hiring new talent instead of keeping the same people over and over that the product once again will become fresh. I feel WHDT is a great company they just need to stop hiring the same people over and over again.

    09/17/2013  4:14am

    The one take-away story I have about this theatre is summed up in this sentence.

    Sleeping on cots in the orchestra pit.

    11/30/2013  11:37am

    Alright y'all - just got an offer for a two-month contract with them. Has anyone heard of anything new since November 2013? I'm curious to hear more, but these reviews are not making me feel too confident...

    12/29/2014  8:13pm

    Hey, any updates on this house? Deciding whether to accept a contract or not

    07/17/2015  4:40pm

    I enjoyed my time at The Wohlfahrt Haus, and I would go back. The pay scale is negotiable, and if you work as a server a few times a week you can make a couple hundred dollars extra in tips. I actually enjoy serving. The other people who are not actors who work in the kitchen are fun and super sweet! The cast housing is fine. I had my own room, and my cast worked together to keep the common areas clean. The town is small and cute. There are wineries near by, hiking trails, state parks, as well as bars with live music. Most of the people in charge are kind, extremely hard working people. There are some exceptions; however, that's anywhere you work! The shows are usually good, and the band that plays for the live band shows is amazing. Really, they are some of the finest musicians I have worked with. There are some communication issues sometimes, some gossip (lol), and the mics could use updating, but I really feel like anywhere you work there will be a few things that aren't exactly perfect. If you get offered a contract, at least try it out!

    01/25/2016  2:39pm