Claire Guyader as Michael Banks with Elliot Peters as Mr. Banks, Penny DellaPelle as Winifred and London Raftery as Jane in Mary Poppins, JR, 2018
Each month on the BLOG, we feature an interview with one of our incredible volunteers. We have dedicated volunteers who have been with us for more than 20 years and some who have given of their time for less than two months. All are deeply appreciated and deserve a moment in the spotlight!
In honor of ACT’s The Little Mermaid Jr., this month’s Volunteer Spotlight features two of our amazing volunteers who also happen to be parents of an ACT actor: Brenda and Andy Guyader.
Volunteer Director, Tasia Trevino-Hill, asked Brenda and Andy a few questions about volunteering at SLO REP.
TTH: Tell us a bit about yourselves! What do you do when you’re not volunteering?
Brenda: Although we moved to New York for five years, San Luis Obispo has been our home since 2005. And because we’ve moved often, I have reinvented myself a few times. Be it journalism, stay-at-home parent, or business owner, I keep very busy. But if I were to color myself anything, it would be a writer at heart who makes a living doing seismic analysis. Plus, I sew – I have a second small business making eco-friendly bags and accessories.
Andy: I teach engineering courses at Cal Poly. I enjoy hiking, exercising and riding my electric bike around town. When not volunteering at SLO REP, I enjoy going to shows there.
Claire as a seahorse (on the left) in The Little Mermaid, JR. with Sebastian (Nolan LeMay) and fellow seahorse Kyan VanderWeele.
TTH: How long have you been volunteers at SLO REP?
Brenda: I’ve been volunteering at SLO REP for four years.
Andy: About a year. I enjoy the set strike volunteering even more than working the lobby crew. However, when I work the lobby, I enjoy sweeping the patios – both front and back. Those are nice places for the theatre crowd to enjoy before the show, at intermission and after the show.
TTH: What duties have you done while volunteering? (Front door, costumes, sets, etc.)
Brenda: I try to take a stab at every aspect! To date, I’ve done bartending, concessions, front door, set strike, and assisted backstage. I am always learning something new. In fact, I hope to one day help with costumes.
Andy: Front door, main bar, side bar, and set strike crew.
TTH: What (or who) got you started volunteering at SLO REP?
: Our daughter, Claire, started taking camps and classes through the ACT program
. I thought it was important that she learn that many hands go into making a live theater production come to life. So, she and I starting volunteering by sharing a single shift position together. Now, she is old enough to take a shift of her own and our family sometimes does all three show stations – bartending, concessions and front door. My husband and I were “athletes” with no theater experience, and it’s been so much fun learning about theater in this way. Bonus – now we get to volunteer at shows she’s in!
Our daughter Claire has been fortunate to participate in a few shows so we started volunteering during her performances starting last summer with Mary Poppins, JR
. I enjoy that I can still hear “Step In Time” in my head.
TTH: What is your favorite part about volunteering here?
Brenda: There are so many wonderful things that come with volunteering. I love seeing some of the inner workings of the show and watching cast members run through the lobby as they prep for cues. Plus, greeting cast members as they arrive early, meeting the regular theater goers and getting to know families who’ve traveled far to watch a loved one or friend in the show is always fun.
Andy: Seeing the actors move thru the lobby area during the show – using different entry points into the theatre.
TTH: Do you volunteer (or have you volunteer recently) at any other nonprofits?
Brenda: Prior to moving to San Luis Obispo, my husband and I were very active with Five Acres. It’s been years now since we’ve been hands-on, but it’s purpose still resonates: Five Acres strives for a permanent, loving family for every child. They offer community-based therapy for families in crisis, foster care and adoption services.
Andy: Right now, this is the main one.
TTH: Do you have any word of advice for new volunteers or someone thinking about volunteering?
Brenda: First – no experience is necessary for show day volunteers! Like most nonprofits, SLO REP volunteers are deeply appreciated. Plus, the more you volunteer, the more people you’ll meet, and the closer you feel to the theatre!
Andy: Give it a try – it is quite fun to participate in this fashion.
The cast of The Little Mermaid, JR. Claire is in the foreground on the left.
Our volunteers are what keep SLO REP running smoothly. From painting sets to setting up the coffee bar, stuffing envelopes to organizing costumes, pouring wine and mixing martinis, the incredible volunteers who give their time to this theatre mean the world to us and to our patrons.
For more information about joining our volunteer crew, backstage or in the lobby, please visit our volunteer page, where you can find out more and sign up! And speaking of incredible volunteers: ALL of our show photos are courtesy of RyLo Media Design, Ryan C. Loyd!