Gig&Tell: Clear Space Theatre

  • Holy shit don't do it. So many things not okay. Details to come.

    06/23/2015  12:14am

    Prepare for a word vomit.....

    No words can describe how unorganized, unprofessional, and pretty much awful working for this company is. It hurts to even give it a single star.

    First off, the brand new artistic director decided to take an acting job in another state, so he showed up oh I don’t know about 5 days the entire summer. He was also the “director” of one of the three rep shows....but you really can’t call him that since we basically directed ourselves along with our choreographer leading everything.

    

Not the best pay...slightly better than some other non-eqs but still not great at all. Especially during the rehearsal process...The days were way too long with only half hour breaks for meals. They absolutely should have made these breaks longer AND provided meals. Especially since pretty much everyone had housing at LEAST at 20 minute drive from the theater.

    

If you decide to work here...which I don’t advise....don’t bring a car. Because you will end up with housing far away and spend most of what you make on gas and parking is a bitch in Rehoboth. While it’s nice to be able to drive away to go places or just grocery shopping, you will instantly become the theater/other actors’ bitch.

    

You will be required to do things not originally stated in your contract and not get paid extra for them...Long photoshoots, put-in rehearsals for when actors quit because it sucks so much and they refuse to bring in a replacement so everything gets even more fucked up, rehearsals at different locations for their outdoor show, long extra rehearsal days or photoshoot days where they do NOT provide dinner between that and the evening performance.....A lot.

    Our Rent director was clueless. She hadn’t even seen the show before our first day of rehearsal and had NO idea how to direct. It was a clusterfuck.

    

Our Grease director’s mother passed away so he left, and one of our actors took over which is never a good idea.

    

And our Seuss director was our AD who was never there.

    

Sounds like a blast, right?

    The casting was a mess. There were some people there that had absolutely no talent and either were there because our AD was into them or because too many smart people turned down the contract and these were their only backups. 



    Everything tech-wise is a disaster. The sound people are clueless. We had issues EVERY SINGLE NIGHT through the end of the run. Lighting looked like shit. If you sat in the audience during a tech rehearsal you could see how horrible it was. We only got to use mics for the leads in Rent, only two part way through the run for two leads in Seussical, and only a couple cheesy middle school-esque handheld mics for Grease. There was only one guy doing the sets and it was incredible how much work he did in so little time, and he is an amazing artist, but the sets were still extremely minimal.

    Our stage manager would be drunk the majority of the time and swearing at us constantly. Props to her for literally running the entire theater when she was only 21...Without her things would have been even more of a mess. But still....so unprofessional.

    Lots of people had housing and driving issues. The rehearsal process was a waste of time. Everything was run horribly. Our music directors would fly through the music, it would sound like shit, no parts would be gone over, and we would move on. We wasted complete DAYS doing this.

    We were all miserable. It was a JOKE. Oh and also - They hired one of the actors as a choreographer, too, and she was the absolute worst person I have EVER worked with. But no one said a word to her about it because no one had any balls and we had no authority figure. She made everything a living hell. Obnoxious person and useless choreographer and performer.

    I could go on...........But you probably get the point. I would not work here ever again and warn you not to, either. They have a LOT of work to do if they ever want to bring in non-local actors again. Yikes.

    09/02/2015  1:52pm

    Agree with the post above for the most part, but you're also screwed if you don't bring a car. Sure, it's cool to live/work near the beach but it is so touristy and crowded and you're stuck taking (and paying for) the bus every day. Clear Space needs to get their shit together when it comes to travel and housing or they won't last beyond this summer when it comes to bringing in non-locals.

    Speaking of...A couple of the locals will always get lead roles even if they aren't right for them. One girl in particular was a perfect Gertrude in Seuss but a horrible Maureen in Rent and the role should have gone to someone else. Nepotism, peeps.

    I don't think anyone was really happy this summer. This is our final weekend and I think most of the tears shed will be ones of joy...

    09/04/2015  1:45pm

    I think the above posts are a little uncalled-for. I was one of the summer hires at Clear Space this summer and while I admit that there were some organizational issues, there were many perks to working here.

    1) After three long weeks of rehearsal (which are yes long), we all had every day to ourselves with shows at night. So we had the choice of relaxing and going to the beach or getting another job. I've worked at theatres where they work their actors to death.

    2) Clear space was also great about offering some of us extra jobs to help us earn more money throughout the summer

    3) The AD is very sweet. It sucked to not have him around, but as an actor, I can see why he took the other job, which was at Penn Shake. He was super generous, too. I heard that he helped pay out of his own pocket for some actors to get here this summer and he even paid for the Wifi at one house where five actresses stayed.

    4) The theatre is very unique. It is an old church that was made into a theatre, and while this is part of why there are some lighting and sound limitations, it was cool to perform in such an intimate space. The stage is a thrust so you have audiences on three sides of you. It's almost like theatre in the round, but not. Different and interesting.

    5) Everyone locally was really nice. In fact, the only negative people were some of the ones who came in (as you can see from above). Yeah, some actors who were hired were more disappointing than others. Some girls who claimed they could dance really couldn't and some of the singers were inconsistent and flat, but sometimes that's the trick with auditions and especially video auditions. You don't know what you really have until everyone's there. The locals who were cast (and btw, who only had a total of four leads across all three shows) were actually pretty good and the best options for the parts they had. It sounds like the two above just didn't get the parts they wanted...jealous actors, maybe? I don't know, but everyone suited their parts just fine and each show was praised by the people who came.

    The AD kept saying all summer that this was CS's first time bringing in so many actors and he was open to CONSTRUCTIVE criticism from many of us. I'm sure next summer will be even better.

    Finally, the pay is pretty good in comparison to most theatre and for the time you have to put in, its actually a good deal. Yeah, you have to show up for put-in rehearsals and photo calls (who doesn't?) and you have to feed yourself during rehearsal and get yourself to rehearsal, but isn't that what most adults have to do in the real world? My mom and dad certainly always have to feed themselves and get themselves to work. No one buys these things for them.

    I hope that you're not distracted by the above posts. I'm not blowing steam up CS's butt because there were organizational and technical issues which felt a little unprofessional at times, but then again, some of the people coming in were really unprofessional and frankly babies about so many things.

    All in all, a good experience. I would come again and I would give it a chance. I'm sure things will only get better.

    I'm giving this four stars to balance the negative stuff above, but I would probably actually give it a 3 just because it does have some work to do.



    09/05/2015  11:50am

    Any time replies are this long on a G&T, you can almost assume that it's gonna be a fun read. You can also assume the place is horrendous. This sounds like a nightmare, and I personally wouldn't let my enemies work here. 100 dollars "or so" per week is not a living wage to dig ditches, never mind rehearse and mount shows.

    Adding ancillary work for profit and STILL making this little? That's sweatshop labor, not theatre. Shameful. Avoiding.

    09/21/2015  12:25pm

    I have worked at clear space a total of three show in the "off season".
    (Billy Crocker in Anything Goes, William Barfe in spelling bee and in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels as an immediate replacement for a weekend.)
    I am from Pennsylvania and I can honestly say that the theatre was very accommodating with all that they could offer to not only meyself but my fellow actors/actresses. Clear space is like a second home. They try to bring in the best talent to their productions while already having amazing talent in the area. This theatre is nice if you are just getting started in theatre or are a seasond professional.
    David the artistic director is such a joy to work with. He went out of his way to make sure my time in Delaware was a positive one. In fact the entire staff at clearspace has been amazing. Everyone from the board of directors to costumes and the scenic designer. (Sets are amazing!) They may have minimalistic orcastras (keys and drums) for some of their shows but it fits well with their space and productions. The musicians they Bring in are amazing Musicians.
    I did have local housing but I was told that housing would be provided for free. That is hard to come by with my experience.
    My experience was very enjoyable. I've worked there the past two winter/spring seasons. Although I had to get a survival job while I was there at a local pizza shop I found myself bringing in enough money to live at the beach. They were accommodating with my situation and honored my new schedule.

    I hope to one day be able to go back to clear space and work for them again!
    Thank you all for a great time in Delaware.

    Joseph Chubb

    06/18/2017  12:56pm
  • 09/07/2015  5:51pm

    Guys....a little over $100/wk is NOT standard non-eq pay. Have some self respect--this is low. And the $400 every two weeks included the extra camp money. We're honestly all worth more than this and I'm disappointed in myself for accepting this and not trying to negotiate or turn down the contract. But hey, sometimes there are roles you just can't turn down. I would only go back if it was my only offer, I could change up my contract, and for the opportunity to play a dream role. It's nice that Rehoboth has a theater but so many things were wrong...a lot of these things were brought to the attention of the AD and SM but still not resolved. There was also just a whole lot of swearing at the actors which is really not okay. I don't know what other theaters my fellow cast members worked at that this one could possibly seem good or normal in comparison...But it's not. I have a lot of other thoughts from the summer but most have already been touched on.

    Too many times in life we focus on what's bad and really, there's so much good. So, I decided to write about the positive experience I had. I had a blast working with some truly wonderful actors- summer stock and locals! It was a pleasure getting to know them and I am so grateful for their kindness and friendship. I consider myself very lucky to work and learn from so many talented people.
    Our AD is an awesome man- talented, kind and brilliant! He is someone that always comes from a place of love and this summer he tried his best to make our summer stock guests happy and comfortable. Every year this theatre gets stronger and stronger and brought to a higher level of excellence because of this incredible man.
    Our musical director is an inspiration! She is a gifted musician who treats everyone as if they were her child. She is always willing to go the extra mile to help someone with music- you just need to ask.
    All three of the choreographers were amazingly awesome and deserve major kudos! Our Rent choreographer did double duty- choreographing and performing- outstanding work! All three shows received many comments on how great the choreography was.
    There were many standout performances this summer- too many to list but I do find it necessary to comment on the brilliant performances of one of our locals. She was Gertrude in Seussical and Maureen in Rent. She was perfectly cast in both roles- playing both to perfection! Broadway would be lucky to have her and I am not alone in my opinion. I was head of house for Rent and heard many times how outstanding her performance was and that she was in a league of her own! I am in awe of her talent and feel it's a privilege to share the stage with her.
    Our staff; directors, musical directors, lighting and sound techs, set designer, stage manager and costume designers all work together to get the job done. We are a team here at Clear space- a family. I feel like I am one of the lucky ones in life. Too many people in this world are unhappy in their work place and that’s so sad. I have a job (jobs..lol) that I love and work with people that I love- awesome!!
    Mary O’Neill

    09/10/2015  11:27am

    Okay this is NOT AT ALL what Gig & Tell is for. While I agree it was rude of whoever insulted Erin in a different comment, G&T isn't about reviewing performers. It's giving a truthful description of what working at the theater was like so other actors have helpful info when it comes to deciding to audition for a theater and/or accept a contract.

    Also let it be known that Mary, the above poster, is the resident costumer and a good friend of David's, the AD.

    09/10/2015  3:44pm
  • The Good & The Bad 09/06/2015  5:19pm

    First off, I wanna say that this Monique posting so no one gets confused about who's words they are and also so if anyone has an issue with anything said they can address it to me personally. I'm not going to comment on the posts above because I think everything has gotten a little tit for tat which is not what these post are supposed to be about. I'm going to speak on behalf of MY experience this summer; all the good and all the bad. I don't mean to offended anyone with my words so I hope no one feels that way after reading.

    THE GOOD.
    - You are literally steps away from the beach everyday!! It's pretty nice to be able to lay on the beach and relax for a couple of hours before doing a show. If you have a car or can carpool with someone your only a short car ride from Dewey, Ocean City Maryland, Cape May and DC which are all great places to go and have fun.
    - Yes the rehearsal process is long and grueling. You are putting together 3 shows, in 3 weeks. Put after those three weeks your have the ENTIRE DAY to do whatever you like. Weather is lay out at the beach, shop at the outlets, have amazing seafood or work another job to make more money. You can!
    - Great happy hours at the bars!
    - Your getting paid decent non eq summer stock money. About $400 every two weeks. Plus you have the option to work a summer camp for a week and make some more money. You can also work for the theatre (I.e. Box office, costumes, etc.) for some extra money as well. All you have to do is ask.
    - Housing is pretty good. Most of the actors stayed with host families with gorgeous and spacious homes in or near Rehoboth. Myself and a few other girls were further out in Bethany but still had a decent cabin to ourselves with a dock and kayaks for us to use. We were only about a 20min walk from the beach which honestly isn't that bad and 5 min from WAWAS!!
    - Our stage manager was the best! Did she have her faults, of course, who doesn't? But she single handily staged managed 3 shows for 3 months all by herself. Keeping everything afloat and in order. I think she deserves a drink or two.
    - The theatre itself is a really cool space, if used wisely.
    - The locals were really nice and welcoming but I will say that I think some casting opportunities could have been given to other non local actors.
    - The cast was diverse. Of course we could have used some more men and ethnic people but all in all, we all looked different and brought different styles and experiences to the table which was nice to work with.

    THE BAD.
    - Although the beach is beautiful, it is a pain to get to. If you don't have a car it is VERY difficult. I would suggest trying to work something out in your contract about travel to and from Rehoboth if you can. Once there you can figure your way around with the Park and Ride which really takes you everywhere you need to be.
    - Parking, for those who do have cars, is annoying. There is no private parking for the theatre so you have to either take the Park and Ride, which will add on time to your travel, or drive around and hope for a parking spot on the street.
    - If you have a car, expect to be driving ALOT! If you're going to bring your car, defiantly clarify in your contract who you will be driving, to and from where, will you be compensated for miles and gas. And how that all should be handled between you and the AD.
    - Review your contract and ask questions! Regarding housing, costumes, all performance dates, photo shoots, tech. Make sure you know everything that will be happening during the summer. We were blind sided by ALOT of things this summer merely based on lack of communication from higher up.
    - Expect to be in rehearsal from about 9am-9pm. With three 30 min breaks in between. It's rough. You can either bring your own lunch or go run out and buy it. Just use your time wisely.
    - Be prepared to do a lot of things for yourself, as an actor and as a person. There was a lack of direction and presence from all 3 of the directors and some of the choreographers . Actors had to create their own blocking, their own table work, their own choreography, etc. There was drama within the cast personally, that leaked onto the stage and create a hostile working environment. Of course, this all steamed from a lack of authority from the beginning of the process to the end.
    - There was only 1 music rehearsal which made shows like RENT and Seussical very hard, due to so many intricate harmonies and vocals. So best you know your music before coming to the first day of rehearsal because you might not get a chance to go over it again. I will say that the Musical Directors were very present and were always available to help with anything.
    - A lot of issues were over looked or not even address due to the staff not wanting to "step on anyone toes". No one wanted to step up and make decisions, which resulted in time being wasted. It seemed everyone was afraid to confront people about simple matters that should have been handed easily. Just be read to speak your mind in a professional manner and not back down.
    - Although the Clear Space staff was very sweet and welcoming, I feel they try to wear too many hats. They will try to be your director and friend at the same time and sometimes it's very confusing and does not work. Now, if you like that kind of environment then props to you, you'll be fine. But if you don't, I would try to express that early in the process so everyone can be on the same page and feel comfortable.

    Lastly, at the end of the day, THIS IS A JOB. You are hired as an actor and that's what you go there for. A lot of mistakes were made on both sides this summer, the actors and the staff but it was a learning experience. I'm sure next year will be a lot better and have fixed most of the things that have been written about in these post. In the end, I had a pretty nice summer. I meet some really great people, learned a great deal about myself as an actor and a person. I had new experiences and got to play some really great parts. Though I don't agree with every one I meet this summer, I am grateful for the experience. If they offer you a dream role or a show that you have been DYING to do, then take it! Have a summer at the beach and try to leave the drama at the door.

  • Yikes.    
    09/05/2015  10:29pm

    My thoughts on the theater/this summer:

    Pay/Contract: Not so great. No travel provided (although apparently for some people there was...?) Not an equity house (nor should it be...) so no EMC program/points. Pay could’ve been worse I suppose.....but boiled down to only like $100something/week..including rehearsal weeks with 12ish hour days.

    Housing: Most of us had host families in or around Rehoboth and then there was a house of a few girls without a host family. I think everyone for the most part had a good experience with their hosts/houses/rooms but getting to and from the theater could be a pain. You either had to rely on someone else for a ride or take a bus and the theater did not pay for this.

    Production Team: Hit or miss. Our Seussical and Grease choreographers were absolutely wonderful people and choreographers. Our Rent choreographer had a couple good/unique ideas but was a horrible teacher and not a very nice person. We didn’t really have any good directors for any of the shows, but one of them did save the day when it came to stepping in for Grease and taking over when our old director had to leave. Our music directors Jerry and Mel were such nice people and really worked so hard. Our stage manager had a lot on her plate working all three shows and being young. I would say it was very up and down how we were treated from one moment to the next.

    Show Quality: The shows were pretty good. Nothing phenomenal, but some nice moments and the people of Rehoboth/tourists seemed to really enjoy them. Grease almost always sold out simply because it’s Grease haha. Rent and Seussical had good nights and bad in terms of seats filled. The sets were nothing extravagant but worked for stock. (But also can we talk about how incredibly illegal our production of Grease was with changing and adding roles, songs, lines, etc...? Somebody call MTI! Haha. This was also stupid of them because they have been fined in the past for rights issues........)

    Venue: The theater itself is small, house of less than 200. But the stage has a platform and a pretty big thrust. The dressing rooms were way too small. One of them didn’t even count as a dressing room. The building could honestly collapse any day now with all the water damage and crap going on in it. It actually probably isn’t a very healthy or safe place to be working in so hopefully they fix it at some point soon...It’s disgusting upstairs where the band has to sit. Additionally, It’s pretty funny if the 4 star post above is actual a summer hire because every single person bitched and moaned the whole summer about the way things were run.

    I don't think anyone was “jealous” of anyone's roles. We all knew what roles we had coming in, and I don't think anyone ever wanted to have to go on as an understudy since they were not rehearsed haha.

    “Actor” above - I’m not sure what other theaters you have worked for or what pay you are comparing CS to, but damn...definitely NOT good in comparison to the majority of theaters, stock or not. And most theaters DO pay for extra rehearsals, shoots, etc. And provide meals on lengthy days when actors cannot go home to eat.

    To say the AD was generous is laughable. Sure, he was a nice guy. As a person, not an AD/boss. If he paid for some actors to travel there and not others, that is simply unfair. And providing internet at a house of cast members staying there for 3 months should be a given, not a privilege.

    I am glad that I made some good friends this summer and grateful that I got to perform at the beach. But I do wish I had accepted a different contract and I would not go back to CS, nor would I suggest it to my friends/fellow actors.