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Work never ends at Kingsport Theatre Guild

Serina Marshall • Mar 18, 2019 at 10:30 AM

Now in the midst of its 71st season, Kingsport Theatre Guild is no stranger to the inner workings of the arts. Between numerous shows and events, KTG Executive Director Tina Hite Radtke keeps busy not only running the non-profit organization but getting shows on stage and occasionally performing in a few as well.

Most recently, Tina has been training a student from Sullivan North High School within the theatre as part of a work-based learning class offered at the school. North senior Javier Villalpando has been spending his semester at Kingsport Theatre Guild learning the ropes of the theatre from the business side as well as the performance aspect. Tina trains Javier one-on-one offering a unique experience where he is exposed to different elements of theatre.

“It is a culmination of things – from behind the scenes to on stage,” Javier says. “I have learned financials, deposits and computer skills that I have never done which will help me in general later in life. I have learned how the theatre is run, to how directors run auditions and shows. It really is a culmination of everything.”

According to Tina, the work-based learning happens within that specific class period or in the evening. “It is hard to fit it into that one period because theatre happens outside the normal work day” said Tina, but that doesn’t stop Javier from learning all he can about the various experiences offered within the theatre realm.

Theatre is something Javier was definitely interested in and where his focus finally landed. “I tried other fields such as medical and engineering, but none made me want to learn more about them. I read and researched more about theatre and it is what caught my attention.”

Javier relayed this information to his work-based learning instructor and the instructor in turn contacted Tina to get Javier in with her to study his passion. Javier will be shadowing at Kingsport Theatre Guild through May and will eventually have his own desk for checking emails, voicemails and selling tickets, in addition to learning quick books, filing, light and sound set up, and the audition process.

“Javier will be like a part-time office assistant which will help with real world skills regardless of business choice,” Tina explained. Following high school, Javier plans to take a gap year off to study more about theatre before attending his university of choice, the University of North Carolina.

So, what else is going on with Kingsport Theatre Guild?

They are wrapping up a big season and next season will be even bigger!

Currently, they are in rehearsals for “The Secret Garden,” which runs April 5-14. This particular show is one of Tina’s favorite stories, who reminisced that “Growing up, I looked for secret doors and passages in stone walls that were covered with vines.”

“The Secret Garden” is appropriate for all audiences and has a cast of 29 including a pretty large children’s ensemble. This show will boast a brand-new crew, all new to Kingsport Theatre Guild but very experienced. The lead role of Mary Lennox is played by another new face to Kingsport Theatre Guild, Lily Perdue. In fact, 14 of the 29 cast members are new to Kingsport Theatre Guild.

Following “The Secret Garden” will be the musical based on the movie, “9 to 5.” This show does have a PG-13 rating. It features the classic “9 to 5” made popular by Tennessee’s own Dolly Parton. The jubilant score and easily relatable characters will bring familiarity as folks you know from your every day life. A live band will bring high energy and foot tapping music straight to the stage in this classic.

The Gala – where the new season will be introduced – will be held June 1. Next season will include four downtown shows, two shows geared toward a young cast, and six school shows. All told, there will be 14 shows next season, whether main stage or downtown.

Auditions for the first show of the new season will be held May 6-7 for the well-known musical, “West Side Story.” There will be many opportunities to come out and either audition for a role, volunteer with ushering, or just to be a part of the audience.

Kingsport Theatre Guild offers opportunities for everyone in the community to be a part of the arts, and plans to do so for another 71 seasons and beyond.