Whitmore and Moore move into administrative positions
summit daily news
You might think that reporting on staff changes is ho-hum; after all, turnover in Summit County is the norm. But what makes the personnel changes at the Lake Dillon Theatre Company significant is the position in which it puts the theater to grow.
When artistic director Chris Alleman took over in October 2002, he was a one-man show.
“I did everything, and when I say ‘everything,’ I mean from directing, designing, vacuuming, making deposits, invoicing, business, all the kinds administration,” Alleman said.
Phil Rohrbacher brought some relief about three years ago as the other full-time employee; he worked as the business manager. But when he moved to Lakewood recently, Alleman and his board re-evaluated the theater’s needs and decided hiring Ben Whitmore as managing director and Bob Moore as a part-time bookkeeper made the most sense.
Whitmore’s story is interesting simply in the fact that he didn’t give up on his vision – and he chose a life in Dillon over New York City. Whitmore studied theater and graduated with a fine arts degree from the University of Florida in 2007. That summer, he acted in Lake Dillon Theatre’s summer repertory season, volunteered with the theater and returned in 2008 as the assistant director for the summer repertory. It was his first taste in arts administration, and he liked it.
But New York City dreams beckoned, and he followed. From September 2008 to April 2009, he worked with Broadway companies in advertising and promotion – including standing on the streets and trying to lure people into to the show. The stint provided more experience in the business side of the arts, but he found himself in the common trap of working 60 hours a week at part-time jobs just to make ends meet – and he still wasn’t on stage. Plus, he knew he was happier in Dillon, so when Alleman asked him back for the 2009 summer season, he jumped at the opportunity.
On April 1, Alleman hired him as a full-time managing director, doing stage managing, marketing and more.
“Ben knows so much about the organization,” Alleman said. “Other than me, he knows it better than anybody. He’s a real smart individual, so I knew I could throw a lot of things at him and he’d be able to pick it up. And he knows how to work with me – and that’s really important.”
With Whitmore’s extensive knowledge of how the theater company works, he’s able to support Alleman’s goals to become the most professional year-round theater company outside of Denver.
“Now Chris is freed to build the organization and take the next steps,” Whitmore said. “I’m making his job easier by running the day-to-day (tasks).”
For Whitmore, it’s a dream come true.
“It’s always been my goal to be able to do (theater) full time because it’s what I love to do,” he said. “It still hasn’t hit me yet that my job is to produce art. That’s just monumental in my mind.”
Moore, a long-time actor in Summit County who recently moved to Glenwood Springs, will now be bookkeeping two days a week.
“(Lake Dillon) is a great organization, and I’m kind of footloose and fancy free and have experience in business management and business consulting,” Moore said. “I like these folks, and it seemed like a good fit – and I like to drive.”
He and his wife, Wendy Moore, moved to Glenwood Springs because after living in Summit County for 20 years, the winters got a little long. Still, they like maintaining ties and still actively participate in the arts communities (Wendy Moore will direct “Menopause Monologues” at the Backstage Theatre this summer).
“I like working with Chris and the rest of the people,” Bob Moore said. “That always makes the workplace a little sweeter on the palate.”
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