Aly has cultivated her skills as an educator and performer since graduating NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She has worked as an independent educator in NYC through Arts Connection and since moving to Vermont, she has had the great pleasure of directing several youth theater productions and performance camps with Essex Middle School, Shelburne Community School and Lost Nation Theater. Every Saturday, she co-hosts "Soundsmith Radio," a variety show on 90.1 WRUV-FM (soundsmithradio.org). Aly believes in the capacity of arts programming to enrich young people’s empathetic reach, to give them a sense that their work matters in the world, and to deepen their listening and leadership skills.
Emily, a graduate of English Literature from Salve Regina University, has a passion for books and travel that drove her to Scotland, where she lived for a year while earning a master's degree in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling. After moving to Vermont, she previously worked as a Marketing Coordinator for Ashgate Publishing Company, a publisher of Academic books. Emily is a lifelong lover of both Performing and Visual Arts. In addition to work with Vermont Stage, Emily is the Associate Nonfiction Editor for the Mud Season Review, an international literary journal run by members of the Burlington Writers Workshop. She firmly believes in creative expression, regardless of the form it may take.
Take a look at this Q&A session we had with Aly and Emily:
Aly: As the Education Manager I will be organizing and maintaining the Vermont Young Playwrights Program and the Vermont Young Playwrights Festival, a partnership between the Flynn, Young Writers Project and Vermont Stage. I’m really excited to work with so many different artists from all over the state. The program and festival is a collaboration between teaching playwrights, actors, directors, and most importantly, young people. We are adding skills into a student's tool kit, integrating creative writing and live performance while sharing the medium of the stage as a unique space for the realization of ideas.
Emily:The Marketing and Sales Manager position is very exciting to me because my job is all about telling anyone who will listen about the great shows put on by Vermont Stage. Our current subscribers are great, and it will be up to me to expand our reach. I will be in contact with our audience members, subscribers, and sponsors alike, building lasting relationships based on a passion for the theater. These relationships and these passionate people are what have kept Vermont Stage going for 22 seasons.
Q: Tell us what you hope to do with this position/what difference you hope to make in the organization in a couple of sentences.
Aly: I'm inheriting a program that has been around for 22 years. This program has got some major mileage! It's got feet, and it's walking strong and tall! Now, I get to come in and pave the road for new directions, and sure up the structure a bit. If I create a strong foundation for the classroom teachers and the teaching playwrights through structure, training, and enthusiasm, then the work of the students can really flourish. I hope to create environments where art is not divorced from other aspects of life. Integration--it's all about integration. Enthusiasm and a big heart, those are also there.
Emily: The obvious answer, of course, is that I hope to spread the word about Vermont Stage to new and eager theater-goers! Our productions aim to improve our community, and their messages should be heard throughout Vermont and by all ages. I know that increased participation would benefit everyone--the audience, the artists, Vermont Stage, and our community as a whole.
Q: Aly, how is your background in education and theatre helping you navigate this new position as Education Manager?
Aly: Theater has always offered an environment to connect with people. In my performance ventures, that's what I want: for us to reach a place of understanding, empathy, and discussion. In teaching, it is the vitality of young people's view of the world that inspires me to keep returning. How can we bolster and support young people in their expression? How can we share tools and language so they feel capable to express their needs, wants, and hopes? I try to topple some of the hierarchical structure embedded in teaching--the students and I are in conversation, we affect one another.
Whether you are a performer, a teacher, or an administrator, it’s about recognizing the other person. "I see you, I listen to you, I am in relation with you." There are so many people involved with the success of Vermont Young Playwrights. If I can infuse that authentic connection, inspiration and communication with those who are involved, I’m doing my job well.
Q: Emily, which aspects of your publishing background are helping you adjust as the Marketing and Sales Manager?
Emily: I have found that my background in publishing is incredibly transferable, largely due to the invaluable training I received during my postgraduate studies. Not only did I take courses in marketing, but also in management and editorial work. Since graduating I have put all of the theory from my classes into practice. It did not take me long to realize that any job is about communication with a variety of individuals—coworkers, clients, consumers. Working in publishing offered me many opportunities to refine the skills necessary for my new position here at Vermont Stage. Communicating with authors and organizations, formulating booklists, attending conferences, and designing marketing materials have all given me tools to use so that the transition from English Major to Marketing and Sales Manager feels completely natural.
Q: What show are you most excited to see this season?
Aly: I’m so excited to see all of them and I’ll tell you why. Gregory Ramos, the director of Mothers and Sons, just directed Marat/Sade at UVM. That show had great production values and I’m interested to see how he brings his unique artistic vision to a Vermont Stage show. I’m excited about Dancing Lessons because Jordan [Gullikson] and Cael [Barkman] are incredibly strong performers. Their work is inventive, solid, challenging. I’m looking forward to I and You because it follows two young adults. I hope it's quite clear why that is exciting to me. I'm looking forward to seeing young people highlighted in a mainstage show.
Emily: While I am eager to see each of the upcoming productions, I am most excited for Dancing Lessons. The script is brilliant, funny, and striking. Dancing Lessons tells an important story and I can’t wait to see the characters brought to life on stage.
Welcome to the team, Aly and Emily.
To learn more, visit our Staff page.