by Vincent Hannam and Ting Ting Cheng
Both Vincent Hannam and Ting Ting Cheng became writers for the Park Square Theatre blog that was launched during the 2015-2016 season. Hannam possesses extensive theatre experience, having worked both on and behind the stage, therefore able to offer an inside-the-business perspective. In contrast, Cheng, without a theatre background, often writes from a general audience viewpoint.
Before the new season begins, we thought it would be fun for you to find out how they had started blogging for Park Square Theatre in the first place. So, without further ado, here are their stories in their own words.
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I was completely new to the Twin Cities last summer and subletting a studio apartment in Minneapolis, working a nondescript temp job to stay afloat until I could get something solid under my feet. Finally the summer doldrums passed and with the start of the new season at Park Square Theatre came the opportunity to come on board.
I distinctly remember sitting down with Connie Shaver, the Marketing & Audience Development Director, fully expecting to interview for a Front of House position, but was wonderfully surprised to hear her interest in my personal blog and social media presence. Eventually I got into the box office, but from the start I was always involved in the actual goings-on of the theatre-making process. My first assignment of the season was the show Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue and to attend the opening night party with my handy dandy camera in tow.
The night was marked by good spirits as everyone knew how well the play had gone. I got to interact with the actors as both a fan and professional, taking pictures and making memories. I met Richard Cook, chatted with Rich Remedios about his Meisner training, took candid photos of Ricardo Vasquez and started my first year in the Twin Cities on the strongest foot I could ever think possible. Elliot was a great show, yes, but as I reflect it was a great experience all around; my first at Park Square and the first of my year.
TING TING CHENG:
Unlike Vincent, I didn’t start blogging until near the end of last season. Since I was a daytime usher for the Education Program–a job that did not require me to do any writing–I was totally taken by surprise when Connie asked me to join the blog team. Her offer seemed to come from left field.
But throughout my ushering stints for the past two seasons, Connie would often ask the staff for feedback on the Park Square plays that we’d seen and even on the season’s brochure. I tended to answer those email requests in depth. That’s how she’d seen my writing. This is the first job that I’ve ever landed for being verbose and opinionated–something I’d get fired for anywhere else!
I was concerned at first, thinking I may be at a huge disadvantage for not knowing the inside-outs of show business. But instead it’s been great fun to approach the blog from the angle of not knowing. I simply ask myself and others who are not steeped in theatre know-how: What would you like to read about? Then I go find out the answers. Much of what I’ve learned has raised my respect even higher for those who run the theatre and put on all these productions.
While Vincent’s first play to see at Park Square was Elliot, mine was The House on Mango Street from two seasons ago when I was hired as an usher. It was a new play for Park Square Theatre and the first to be in the brand new Boss Thrust Stage. Seeing the play multiple times with diverse school groups was special for me because I love the book and readily connected to the depiction of the immigrant experience. It will be exciting to see Mango return this October but newly produced for the Proscenium Stage.
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As the 2016-2017 season approaches, watch out for more in-depth blogs about all the upcoming plays at Park Square Theatre and many behind-the-scene glimpses. Learn more about our actors, staff, education program, special events and much, much more!