Nick Throop is a sophomore BFA Theatre Administration major from Springfield, Illinois who has been involved with PDST since the first day he got to Millikin. I firmly believe he’ll be here till the day he graduates as well. This semester Nick is Managing Director of PDST.  I got the opportunity this week to have an email conversation with him (he’s a busy guy) about his experience with PDST and why he thinks it’s such a great company.

 

Q: Tell us about your history with PDST?
A: My first semester at Millikin I worked as a volunteer usher with PDST. I loved the opportunities that my friends were getting and wanted to get more involved. I joined on as a staff member in my spring semester and served as the head house manager for our spring 2011 season. I interviewed that spring with the advisory board and was hired the following fall as the company’s production manager. I currently am hired on a year-long contract as the managing director.

Q: You’ve been involved in PDST since your freshman year, why stick around?
A: I love the opportunities that PDST provides the students with. I can say that I’ve run a theatre company before I was 20. That’s pretty exciting, and it’s definitely a resume booster. people are always excited and intrigued by the concept of PDST. Now that we’re successfully producing there’s a great sense of pride that has kept me around. I love this company. I’ve invested so much into it, and I don’t think I could ever truly be removed from it.

Q: What excites you about a student run company?
A: Like I said, I love that I have had real life managerial experience before hitting age 20. I’ve learned a lot of skills by trial and error that will save me trouble in the future workplace. The hands on ‘lab’ experience that I get with PDST is something you can’t teach. You have to do it. You have to make mistakes to figure out what works. But once you figure out what works, it’s magic. Seeing such great success with rabbit hole gives me great pride. This past weekend was one of the most exciting parts of running this company: the success we’re now achieving.

Q: Why did you interview to be managing director? What do your duties include? What are the challenges? What are the rewards?
I wanted to try my hand at managing director because it was an opportunity to bring the dreams and goals I have for the company to fruition. Traditionally, the managing director is the one who leads the company. I wanted to be able to lead the company towards a strong future. I’ve seen 3 different levels of PDST. I joined when we were a rental house, encouraged full producing, and facilitated our first produced season. I want to lead us towards progress, and I definitely think we’re on the right path. 

My duties primarily revolve around the financial aspect of the company. I develop a budget for the season and work with the production manager to manage expenses on each production. I’ve also taken a strong hold on big fundraising projects like our technical overhaul. The challenges are pretty consistent with any position in the company. This is a full time job that we’re doing in 10 hours (ish) a week, plus 15-18 credit hours as a student. It’s a lot, so finding time to get everything done is always difficult.

The rewards come in moments like this past weekend: producing a great show that is well attended and well received. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m like a proud papa!! 🙂

Q: What’s your future with PDST look like?
A: Well it’s a little up in the air now. I’m definitely taking some time off next year. I’ll have two stage management assignments on the main stage, and I want to make sure I’m fully devoted to whatever project I’m hired on to. If I leave for a spell next year, I’ll certainly be back. I’ve put too much into this company to completely remove myself from it. I’m excited to see what others can do with the company. I’ve had my turn 🙂

Q: What do you want to do after Millikin that PDST is helping you with?
A: When I joined the bfa theatre administration program I had no idea what I wanted to do. At first I thought finance was nowhere in my horizon (I’m horrible at math), but look what I’m doing now! 🙂 I know that directing is something I’m interested and passionate about, and PDST definitely offers those opportunities to students. Stage management is something I’m passionate about as well, and having any type of managerial experience is a great way to hone in your skills.

When I was production manager in PDST, I was also the assistant production manager for the department of theatre and dance. I’ve learned that this field is something I’m really interested in and passionate about. I wouldn’t be looking for jobs in production management if I didn’t have the experience in PDST. 

Q: Give us a sneak peek at Reefer Madness. What’s your role with the show?
A: Reefer Madness is going to be amazeballs. I’m the music director on this show, and I can guarantee that you will be entertained, freaked out, and leave the theatre humming the songs all night. We’ve got 16 fantastic performers. The dances are more than you’re expecting (I promise you that). The voices will surround you, entice you, and certainly impress you (we don’t play games. we’re legit). And the staging is quite unique. We’re doing a unique stage setup that utilizes the space in ways you may not have seen before.

Oh, and our opening night is Thursday April 19 at 11:59pm. That’s right. A midnight show beginning the 4-20 ‘holiday’ *please note: PDST does not support or encourage illegal drug use. At all. We don’t break the law.* but for those who do, we have an awesome show about marihuana propaganda that you should totally check out. Visit www.pipedreams.ticketleap.com for tickets to our midnight show!!

Q: What do you want to see PDST become?
A: I want people to be proud to list a pipe dreams show on their resume. I want our product to be so solid and well defined that people know when they’re seeing a ‘pipe dreams show’. I want solid, well developed original work from both Millikin students and those abroad back in our space. I want us to sell out every show. I want us to not have to worry about money (hey, a boy can dream, right?). I want equipment that works. But most importantly I want our black box to be a place for the theatrical rebels to come play. It’s safe here. Bring your crazy piece (scripted or not) into our space and come play. Take chances. Be daring. Be innovative. 

 

If you have any questions for Nick contact him at nthroop@millikin.edu.

 

-Jane Davis

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