Justine Thompson is a Producer, Director, Writer, and Burlesque Performer. After graduating with a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Hawaii, Justine worked locally in Hilo at a variety of professional performance spaces and theaters including; The Hilo Palace Theatre, The East Hawaii Cultural Center and Museum, the University of Hawaii Performing Arts Center, The Hilton Waikoloa Edgewater Ballroom and at the Hilton Naniloa Crown Room. She has also stage managed many burlesque shows and comedy one night stands at the Hilo Palace Theater. She has spent many summers working with Shakespeare companies in Colorado and Hawaii, with productions such as: Loves Labor Lost (2007 Hilo Community Players’ Shakespeare in the Park), Julius Cesar & The Servant of Two Masters (2009 Colorado Shakespeare Festival), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2017 Hilo Community Players’ Shakespeare in the Park). She is probably best known as the den mother and founder of Acme HourGlass Burlesque Co. and she believes wholeheartedly that every performer should be well rounded…meaning NO ONE TRICK PONIES! Get some tech experience and know what you need as a performer. Her theater technical experience includes: Stage Management, Lighting Design and op, Sound Design and op, Costume Design and construction, Makeup Design and wigs, Set Design and construction, and last but not least; Direction and production. Justine is also thrilled to be involved in her second year at BurlyCon with programming and events committee helping with their blogging and planning the Friday night bash!
1. What’s the hardest thing you have ever been asked to do?
To direct and organize the 49th annual Shakespeare in the Park festival in Hilo Hawai’i. Hilo Hawai’i gets about 300 inches or 25 feet of rain a year! It’s basically putting on a highly technical show in the middle of the rainforest.
2. Why do you love Stage Management?
I love it because I know what needs to be done in a show, and I’m happy to be the one that helps guide a show to success. Sheep dog duties really. It’s all about guiding the heard. It’s air traffic control.
3. What are the top 3 tips you would give a new stage manager starting out?
Get organized! Seriously. Go nuts at an office supply store and get what you need in order for you to have all your information in order. Every chance you get work on the rehearsal schedule if you have one…it will be your bible. Get everyone’s contact info…everyone’s. And never be scared to message or call someone at a moments notice. Never wait to get in contact, do it now! Be the timekeeper! Always know what time it is. Keep people to their rehearsal times and hold them accountable. Your first priority is always the show and keeping to a schedule makes everything go much easier.
4. What is your go to checklist?
Get a fat stack of index cards and a brand new composition notebook or legal pad for every show. Make sure to get EVERYONE’S contact information! I can’t say that enough! All the cast, crew, production, and venue’s information. All cells/mobiles, emails, office phones, and even home phone numbers. Checklist for a show always starts with a roll call! Then tape up several set lists…it stops excuses and makes cues quicker. Then sound check/mic check if needed
5. What do you alter for different shows?
Festivals are different than plays, and one night stands or comedy shows. The biggest difference is the rehearsal time. But the secret to everything, and it’s not really a secret…the more organized the better.
6. What are the best tips and tools for a stage manager?
Tips: you have a job to do, that doesn’t mean that you have to be unkind or unpleasant. Be professional…even if someone else doesn’t have that capability. That however doesn’t mean that you have to put up with disrespect, you are running this show. Tools: Literally get some tools. Every stage manager should have a basic tool box. Scissors, tape (all kinds!: duct, electrical, gaff, mic tape, packing tape, and bandaids), screwdrivers – flathead and Phillips, screw gun if possible, phone chargers, extension cords, glue gun, safety pins, and a battery operated book light to clamp to your clipboard…it’s easier than your cell phone light.
7. Whats the main differences / problems between managing a normal show compared to a festival
#1 – There are no “normal” shows, each one will throw you a curveball…hope for the best plan for the worst, always have a plan B…C…& D, and if you stay ready you never have to get ready. All the platitudes!
8. How do you deal with glitter?
It’s a losing battle. But lint rollers are a god send. But if possible spray glitter should be sprayed outside. Don’t wet mop it, a dry Swiffer is better