published Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Curtain Call: Quick adjustments at Chattanooga Theatre Centre

  • photo
    George Quick, producing director of the Chattanooga Threatre Centre, shows off a captioning screen acquired two years ago for hearing-impaired patrons.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
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George Quick

• Hometown: Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

• Age: 54.

• Education: American Academy of Dramatic Arts and University of California, Irvine.

• Vocation: Executive Director, Chattanooga Theatre Centre.

CTC Schedule

Main Theatre

"Annie," Dec. 7-23.

"A Doll's House," Feb. 8-24.

"The Children's Hour," April 12-28.

"Legally Blonde," June 12-28.

Circle Theatre

  • "Santaland Diaries" Nov. 23-Dec. 8.
  • "The Divine Sister" May 10-25.
  • "Bloody Andrew Jackson" June 14-July 13.

There are a lot of advantages to overseeing the 40,000-square-foot Chattanooga Theatre Centre, according to Producing Director George Quick.

There is room for two theaters, a costume shop and a set-building shop. Old sets can be stored and reused on-site, and there is room left over for ticketing operations and offices.

It also has a beautiful view of the Tennessee River from the main lobby, making the space attractive for non-CTC, revenue-producing events such as weddings and holiday parties.

"It's an amazing facility," Quick said. "It's one of the biggest in the country, actually."

Quick has been on the job since 2008. Previously he was interim executive director of the Z Space studio in San Francisco.

He said the CTC has an advantage over his previous gig.

"Getting attention here is much easier," he said. "You get lost in the shuffle sometimes in a place like San Francisco."

It's not all champagne and roses here, though, Quick said. First of all, it takes money to maintain such a big building. Producing quality live theater, which is after all the CTC's main purpose, is also expensive.

Having the Main Theatre, which seats 380, and the Circle Theatre, which seats about 200 depending on how it is configured, allows for the theater to produce large and small-scale productions tailored to different audiences.

In the past, the Circle Theatre has primarily been home to Youth Theatre productions and edgier shows. Quick is trying to change the perception that one stage is better than the other or that some productions have to be on the "big stage."

One of the first things Quick did after taking over the helm was to reduce the number of performances for most productions to 10 spread over three weekends.

The total number of ticket buyers stayed about the same, he said, but it puts less stress and fewer time challenges on the cast and crew.

It also eliminated nights where the Main Theatre seemed empty because of small crowds. Quick has moved most non-musical productions from the Main Theatre to the Circle Theatre for future productions.

"We decided to move those so the audience and the actors would have an experience that is more fulfilling," he said. "Because we can project that no matter what, over the 10-day run, we will probably get no more than 2000 people to see a play that is not a musical.

"What I'm hoping this does is actually grow the audience."

Plans are to also stage some Youth Theatre productions on the Main Theatre so that the young performers and audience members can "learn proper theater etiquette."

"It's a different thing when you are sitting on carpet squares" as they do on some shows in the Circle Theatre, Quick said.

For the most part, Quick said he job here is not much different than it might be at another community theater around the country. Finding revenue sources is always an issue. He also works had to find the balance between presenting popular shows and newer works that challenge an audience to grow.

"I feel like we have turned the corner here, but with the economy, like everyone else, we are still treading water."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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