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Meet the Playhouse: Jeff and Valerie

by on April 20, 2016



At the Fredericton Playhouse, we’re proud to have a dedicated team working behind the scenes to bring you incredible live performance experiences. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to introduce you to some of the staff members who help make the magic happen! First up, we have our Technical & Facilities Director, Jeff Fevens, and our Director of Programming, Valerie Hillier.

Name: Jeff Fevens

Job title: Technical & Facilities Director

How long have you worked at the Playhouse? As The Technical Director, since January 2001; as Facilities Director since July 2006.

Describe your day-to-day job: As Technical Director, I manage the Technical Department – crew (full time and casual), production equipment, stage envelope, budgets, etc. I advance the technical needs for incoming performances, and when needed, outreach activities. Then I supervise, in partnership with the Playhouse Head Tech, current shows on stage.

I also manage the care and maintenance of the building envelope and corresponding budgets, working in partnership with the City when needed. I monitor and operate all the mechanical systems for the building.

Describe your background: I have a BMus Performance from Mount A University, and over 25 years of working as a Technical Director, 16 of those years here at the Playhouse. I have also done freelance work with various production companies in the Maritimes, and completed a work study at the Banff Centre for lighting design.

What’s something you like to do outside of work? I’m a photographer – nature, street, portrait, candid, whatever! I also design lighting, mainly for theatre and dance, and I do consulting for theatre upgrades and designs.

What’s your favourite thing about Fredericton? The river in the summer and the variety of cultural and artistic experiences to be had.

What’s your favourite Playhouse memory? The week-long, 24 hours a day fit up, design, rehearsals and world tour opening for Leonard Cohen.

Name: Valerie Hillier

Job title: Director of Programming

How long have you worked at the Playhouse? Eleven years in May.

Describe your day-to-day job: As the Director of Programming I oversee and manage five different programs.  I select artists and artistic companies to present for the annual Spotlight Series, KidStage and school field trips; then manage the execution and fulfillment of all contracts with presented artists. I work with key staff members, artists and community partners to create and deliver quality enrichment programming through our Experience More! series. Furthermore I work with many different community non-profit agencies to provide wider accessibility to artistic experiences to community members through the Arts are for Everyone program. I also manage and oversee the delivery of The Playhouse Honours – a recognition given annually to a deserving member of the performing arts community.

I regularly collaborate on the development and execution of audience development strategies and marketing/communications plans for presented performances and activities; seek new community partnership opportunities to deliver programs and projects; and develop and maintain relationships with agents, managers, and other presenters though travel to arts markets, conferences, and association activities.

Describe your background: I am a graduate of the Theatre Arts Technical program at Red Deer College in Alberta. That experience allowed me to apply to the Banff Arts Centre where I did three consecutive internships in arts administration and programming and eventually lead to a position in the marketing department there. I lived in Alberta for nearly 10 years before deciding to return to my roots in NB and eventually landing a job with the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival for four years before landing a dream job at the Fredericton Playhouse.

What’s something you like to do outside of work? I enjoy gardening.

What’s your favourite thing about Fredericton? Downtown, the walking/biking trails, the river, the small size of the city, which makes it comfortable to say hi to anyone out walking, biking or running even if you don’t know them.

What’s your favourite Playhouse memory: I will go with one of my first and most memorable moments. My mother used to bring me to the Playhouse when I was young. The first time I ever saw ballet live was at the Playhouse and it has forever remained one of my favourite performing art forms. We saw the National Ballet of Canada perform a contemporary piece as well as a more traditional ballet piece. I remember we were sitting in the third row and every so often I felt spray from dancers sweat on me. I was in awe of their physique, strength, artistry and movement. I remember getting a poster of Veronica Tennant after the show and it lived on my bedroom wall for many years.

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