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PUBLISHED: 4:36 PM on Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Perseverance Theatre's producing director reflects on experience
A brief on business with five questions
Jeffrey Herrmann has been with Perseverance Theatre since 1999, and currently is producing director.

He will leave Juneau in mid-September to work as managing director at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C.

During his time at Perseverance Theatre, he has overseen the production of 11 premieres and eight tours, as well as completed a $1 million endowment campaign and is in the final stages of a $1.1 million facility renovation and expansion project.


Photo by Amanda Gragert
  Cast members rehearse during the Fall 2006, showing of "Noises Off" at Perseverance Theatre.
He has taught "Arts Administration and Grant Writing" at the University of Alaska Southeast since 2002 and has been a guest speaker in other UAS theater courses and business administration classes.

In addition to these administrative and teaching duties, Herrmann also regularly works as a sound designer at Perseverance Theatre.

What changes have you seen at Perseverance Theatre during your time there?

A lot of changes. The budget has doubled in the time I've been here.

We've gone through an artistic director change, the million-dollar endowment and our expansion project.

I think I'm leaving at a good time in the theater's history.

We've done a lot to secure the theater, and I'm glad I could do my part to make that happen.


  Jeffrey Herrmann
What makes for a successful season?

A successful season is a mix and balance of programming. As the only professional theater in state, Perseverance has a responsibility to provide for everybody.

That includes musicals, dramas, comedies, something edgy and also shows that are family appropriate.

What we show is really diverse, and we provide something for everyone out there.

We have to think about everyone.

Why or how did you become interested in theater?

I started as I think most people do as a performer when I was very young.

I started out on stage, and as I got older started to get interested in behind the scenes. My parents took me to plays growing up.

That initial spark came from being exposed to it as a kid. Research is pretty clear that participation in arts as an adult is linked to exposure as children.

That's why it's really important that we do a good job with our youth programs and school outreach because they'll come back to you as supporters, actors and volunteers.

What funds the theater?

It's a combination of earned and unearned.

Earned as in ticket sales, educational program and anything that is a service we provide.

Unearned is donations, which is everything from individuals, government support and foundation support. So it's a mix between those two things.

How do you see the relationship between Perseverance Theatre and the community?

I think Perseverance has such a strong national reputation, and that's why people look at what we do here. It's that relationship with the community and that's unique. From the programming on the stage, we do shows unique about Alaska culture to performers we use primarily from the community and state, to the support. The community helps us by reaching out like folks taking in artists who are in town or donating cars when we are needing to get people around. Sometimes we need weird props for a show and folks call and say, "I've got that in my basement and you can use it." If we ever lost that connection to the community, which needs vigilance, how this theater works would really be lost. The community is fundamental.

Editor's note: Capital City Weekly each week will feature a business or organizational leader to answer five questions. To send suggestions for interviewees, send e-mailto Amanda Gragert at amanda.gragert@capweek.com.


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