On Thursday, Philly Improv Theater announced some staffing additions: Ralph Andracchio will be heading up a new artistic direction team, along with Jessica Ross (Variety Director), Emily Davis (Improv Director), Kristen Schier (Seasonal Director) and Brian Kelly (Sketch Director). Here’s what Ralph had to say about his new role, and his plans for the theater.
WitOut: You’re the new Artistic Director for PHIT! What exactly does that entail?
Ralph Andracchio: The Artistic Director’s job is to oversee the quality of the shows the theater is putting on, to ensure the theater is following its mission, and to connect with other performers and theaters to make us a bigger part of the performing arts community as a whole. My job is basically to make sure PHIT is turning out high quality shows that make us the number one spot for alternative comedy in Philadelphia.
WO: What are some of the plans you have for the theater?
RA: Hoo boy, what plans DON’T we have? The theater has grown so much since we started back in 2005, and we now reach thousands of people each year; whether it be through attending a show, taking a class, participating in a corporate workshop, or performing on our stage. We have the opportunity to reach even more people now, so the Artistic Team is focused on streamlining our schedule and putting together a coherent, quality lineup of talent that will bring in even more people to experience what we have to offer. And we have so much talent to work with now, it makes our job that much easier (or tougher, depending on how you look at it).
WO: As evidenced by some photos of a roundtable meeting/pizza party, it looks like the artistic team has already gotten to work. What changes and new ideas have you guys talked about so far? Are there any projects the producers have proposed that you’re particularly excited about?
RA: Let me begin by saying this team is awesome. Jessica Ross (our Variety Director), Emily Davis (our Improv Director), Kristen Schier (our Seasonal Director) and Brian Kelly (our Sketch Director) are all talented performers who bring so much experience to the table. Our first meeting was really successful, and everyone brought some really great ideas. Our immediate goal is to look at what shows, schedules, and processes we have in place now and see how we can make it all work better and make more sense. As our 2013 runs begin, both the performers and the audiences will see many gradual changes that over time will add up to a better experience for all.