House Managing at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater

Article written by Melissa, an undergraduate student in the Arts Management program (BSAM) with a focus on music at SPEA. During the academic year, Melissa serves as Vice President of the IU Music Industry Networking Club (MINC) and interns with Spirit of ‘68 Promotions in Bloomington, IN. This summer she is currently interning with Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington, IN. When not working events at the BCT, Melissa loves to enjoy a great cup of coffee and live music of all genres. Connect with Melissa on Twitter @its_sommer_time and Instagram @melissa_sommer.

As another eventful weekend here at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater comes to a close, I am happy to report that I still love my time here at this beautiful, historic landmark of Bloomington, IN. On Sunday, July 12th, I served as House Manager for a screening of the 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz. As house manager, my role is similar to that of hosting a big party. I am in charge of making sure that the party (the show) runs smoothly and that party guests (patrons of the theater) enter and exit with a smile. Of course there were a few small bumps along the way, but the event was an overall success.

wizard of oz

One of the coolest moments of working this showing The Wizard of Oz, and of working here at the BCT so far, was meeting a patron named James. James, a regular here at the BCT, first saw The Wizard of Oz when it came out in 1939. Nine years old at the time, he went to a grand movie house in Chicago, IL with his aunt to see the movie. However, unknown to both of them at the time, James was legally blind and could basically see nothing but blurs on the screen. After the movie ended his aunt asked him how he liked it, but unfortunately he had no idea what he had just seen. So James replied with a polite, “Oh yes, I liked it very much.” James eventually got his vision repaired and decided that he wanted to give seeing The Wizard on a big screen another chance. This was his chance. Before the movie started on Sunday, I got to speak with James and hear his excitement about seeing this classic movie back up on the big screen. After our conversation ended I wished him to enjoy the show, to which James replied with a big smile, “Oh I’m sure I will… I can actually see it this time!”

james bct

James about to watch The Wizard of Oz at the BCT

It’s moments like these that make me passionate about working in the arts. Although this is my first summer away from home, this internship has helped me realize that my passion for the arts can be my home away from home. There really is nothing like the feeling after seeing a crowd full of smiling patrons and knowing that you have helped them make a lasting memory. I guess Dorothy was right… “There’s no place like home.”

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