Peter Royston: Theatre Industry Worker Tag
We are asking anyone working in any capacity of the theatre industry what they love about it and have learned along the way. Here is Peter Royston based in New York, USA.
1. Do you remember your first experience within the theatre/entertainment industry?
I performed with a ballet company for two years after being inspired by my first encounter with the Nutcracker.
2. When did you know you wanted to work in the entertainment industry?
I went to see the Nutcracker when I was five years old. It was a behind-the-scenes look at the production. A dancer showed us how his costume was manipulated so it looked like he was riding a horse. A stage manager showed us how the tree grew at the beginning of the ballet. I remember being so excited about the whole experience and seeing all the pieces of the show. At the end of the presentation I said, “when can we see the whole thing?” On that day, many moons ago, seeds were planted that would manifest into who I am today.
3. Did you study the arts?
Yes. I went to a high school with student run company, participate in three additional musicals a year, studied tap, jazz, and voice work.I went to a small liberal arts college and studied at a professional studio for fifteen years.
4. What was your first job in the theatre/entertainment industry?
Production Assistant on the world premiere of SPLITTIN’ THE RAFT. I was credited by the director and creative team for serving as the Assistant Director, Assistant Stage Manager, Co-props artisan, and wardrobe.
5. What’s the best role you ever had?
For me it is the people and the shows that matter. When I get to be a part of something special that changes the world, that is the best role I’ve ever had. I’ve had some beautiful experiences and I’m forever grateful for them.
6. How is your role misunderstood outside the arts and how do you explain what you do to people?
No one knows what we do. No one knows what I do. Even conversations between stage managers can be fruitless because what sets someone apart from others is not always tangible. It’s magic. We are magical beings.
7. What are the top three skills you need for your role?
LOVE for theatre and people. EMPATHY and CONPASSION for yourself and others. ORGANIZATION, LOGIC, and FLEXIBILITY.
8. What advice do you have for anyone looking to do what you do?
Do it. Just do it. If you truly love it, you will find a way.
9. If you could do anything else in the theatre/entertainment industry what would it be?
I have done it. I am doing it. And will continue to do it.
10. What advice do you have for anyone looking to make a career in the arts?
LOVE what you do or get the hell out.
11. What do you wish someone told you before pursuing a career in the theatre?
We are all learning. No one knows what they are doing. Show them how it’s done.
12. Were you still able to work in the theatre/entertainment industry during the Pandemic?
Yes. I participated in four podcasts, three Instagram takeovers, one webinar, one live blog conversation. I was stage manager for a virtual theatre festival and closed reading of a new musical. I am also writing a lot… stay tuned. ;)
13. What are you most looking forward to in the theatre/entertainment industry when we reach a new normal?
A more equitable and inclusive industry at every level. I look forward to seeing ACTION instead of empty WORDS and PROMISES.
14. What do you love the most about the theatre/entertainment industry?
The STORIES and the PEOPLE. I LOVE you ALL.
15. Would you ever want to leave the theatre/entertainment industry?
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