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I got more and more excited as I pulled up to the Bay Area Children’s Theatre (BACT) office in Piedmont. A few summers before, I had been at the same building to put on the Youth Education Program version of Annie Jr. I looked around curiously at the small, cozy office filled with cluttered desks and posters of previous plays.
Nina Meehan turned to say hello. As a child, Nina wanted to be the next Jane Goodall and play with chimpanzees. She had no idea that she was going to become an amazing executive director until much later. Nina was also one of the first people to start BACT, an idea that she and her friend came up with while working for a company that did productions for schools. Nina loves working with such great people to come up with an exciting line-up of shows to do in the next season.
I also chatted with Rebecca Posamentier, the Youth Education Program Director. While in school at UCLA, Rebecca studied some theater, although acting isn’t what she ended up doing with BACT. Part of what Rebecca does do, though, is reach out to kids who don’t know about the Youth Education Program. They put notices about the next children’s performances in the playbills and talk about classes at the productions. Rebecca is friendly, outgoing, and enjoys using her talents with children.
Min Kahng, the marketing manager for BACT led me down a short hallway to another little office where Eden Neuendorf, the associate producer, was working. Eden is a big part of putting on productions. She helps to find a script that fits the different locations and has a cast that will work well for the story. Eden also does a bit of hiring, as well as does the workshops for the school productions. Her favorite part of being associate producer, though, is how every day brings something different and comes with problem solving.
Derek Travis Collard, who is the development director, walked in and shook my hand. I recognized him immediately from interviewing him as Frog in BACT’s Frog and Toad. He admitted that he preferred being an actor over development director because he’s been acting for so long (he was on Broadway at nine years old!), however being a development director has its highlights for sure. He loves meeting people who want to support BACT because he believes bringing theater to children is so important.
Last, I spoke with Min Kahng, who I mentioned before. He’s the marketing manager for BACT. Before I started the interview, I had been wondering what a marketing manager does, exactly. Min explained that he partly does advertising, and partly helps the audience understand BACT. Before starting at BACT, he did ads for Safeway. When Nina was looking for somebody to be marketing coordinator, he volunteered. He was just promoted to marketing manager this year! However, he isn’t just a marketing manager. He first started at BACT in the year of 2008, as a pianist for The Emperors New Clothes. He also enjoys writing. Min’s most recent play that he has written for BACT was Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
There are some really great shows coming up at BACT. Derek Travis Collard is very excited for The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane because he really enjoyed the book when he first read it. Both Min Kahng and Eden Neuendorf can’t wait for Three Little Birds. Eden loves it because of how colorful and happy it is. Min is excited because it is a unique and lesser known book. He thinks it’s cool how Bob Marley’s daughter wrote it!
I noticed that all the desks in the office were personalized. I saw tons of posters over Eden’s desk, and Derek Travis had candy and toys. I saw pictures of families on almost every desk. I really liked that everybody seemed happy and comfortable in their work space.
I had so, so much fun touring the office and talking to all these awesome people. I really love BACT! Special thanks to Min Kahng for organizing the whole thing, and to Nina Meehan, Rebecca Posamentier, Eden Neundorf, and Derek Travis Collard for letting me interview them.