Jon comes to Charcoalblue with more than sixteen years of experience as a theatre consultant. He brings to his consulting work a unique understanding of the theatre building and its operations from his experience in both theatre production and performing arts administration. His familiarity with the artistic, technical and operational requirements of theatre facilities informs his work in all aspects of theatre planning, design, and project management.
Jon’s production work includes lighting design for drama, modern dance, musical theatre, concerts and electronic music festivals. He has worked as a sound designer and engineer for regional theatre and as a staff member of the University of California, where he also supervised sound, lighting and digital media for the Performing Arts Center at the Santa Cruz campus. Additionally, he has experience in production, company and stage management for professional and educational theatre and music organizations.
What first sparked your love of theatre or performing arts?
An early experience performing in a first-grade production of Peter Rabbit in a non-speaking role as the angry farmer shaking a rake sticks in my memory. I also have to credit my parents for exposing us to countless summer Shakespeare in the Park performances as audience members while growing up. However, the experience with the most lasting impact was probably being given free rein to set up the lights and run the ancient dimmer board for high school productions. A few actual sparks may have been involved.
What qualities should a great performance or presentation space have?
The performer-audience connection is key to any space, but a great venue extends beyond the performance to foster community engagement and establish a unique sense of place within the physical and cultural environment.
How do you feel digital functionality will change performance in the future?
Emerging performance forms that are natively digital and fully immersive are exciting and dystopic in equal parts, with the potential to decouple performance from real physical space and forge new connections across communities. For many performance types the new digital technologies becoming available will more simply add another layer of design possibility that we should keep in mind when designing spaces and infrastructure. The concept in opera of Gesamtkunstwerk or a ‘synthesis of the arts’ comes to mind, where all of the performative tools available are employed to convey a theatrical vision but without emphasizing particular technique over human storytelling.