Sue Kessler, Development Manager from Northern Stage

Sue Kessler

From the Northern Stage web page: 'Sue Kessler comes to the Upper Valley from Chicago, where she has enjoyed a diverse career in the creative arts, from strategic planning and operations management to audience outreach and community engagement. She helped articulate the reimagining of Chicago’s Navy Pier as a new cultural arts district, curating all manners of arts programming – free and open to the public. The Executive Director and co-founder of the theatre for young audiences enterprise, Hamlet’s House, Sue has written several live theatre “epic-sodes” for Hamlet the dog and his friends. An avid marathoner, she parlays her passion for running into significant fundraising efforts on behalf of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and she is currently serving as a St. Jude Hero Ambassador, empowering other runners to similar achievement. Sue received her B.S. in Theatre from the School of Speech at Northwestern University and is honored to have the chance to serve the inspired and inspiring family of Northern Stage"

We learned that Northern Stage moved to its new White River Junction home, The Barrette Center for the Arts, in 2015 after a successful 18 month capital campaign to make it possible to move from the Briggs Opera House to the new Center. The theater seats 240 patrions.  If is a thrust theater. In theatre, a thrust stage (also known as a platform stage or open stage) is one that extends into the audience on three sides and is connected to the backstage area by its upstage end.

We learned that Northern Stage is a League of Resident Theatre (LORT). LORT is the largest professional theatre association of its kind in the United States, with 75 member Theatres located in every major market in the U.S., including 29 states and the District of Columbia. LORT Theatres collectively issue more Equity contracts to actors than Broadway and commercial tours combined

Sue Shared info about the joys and challenges of producing live theater.  She talked about the costs of obtaining rights to various productions (e.g. $40,000 for Matilda); and maintaining and supporting positive relations with the three unions that allow them to have Broadway caliber talent (Actors Equity, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and United Scenic Artists).  She described the leadership team at Northern Stage as being crazy and dynamic.

The current production is Venus Rising.  Playwright Marisa Smith, the creative mind behind 2016’s hit Mad Love, is back with a hilarious and deeply perceptive story of aging gracefully – or sometimes not so gracefully – and how we try to care for one another in the face of life’s challenges.

Susan shared stories about various productions and educational programs offered by Northern Stage. Northern Stage’s Education & Artistic Outreach department seeks to broaden our relationship to the community by engaging with theater lovers of all ages through youth training and in-school programs, external events, internships, and adult learning opportunities.  To see a larger copy of the brochure posted below, Click Here