Many changes herald Door Shakespeare’s 17th season. Quite possibly the most important change is the addition of new Managing Director Amy Ludwigsen, a long-time member of the Door County arts community.
Brittany Jordt (BJ): How has it been so far, transitioning in as the new managing director for Door Shakes?
Amy Ludwigsen (AL): It’s been really, really good. The organization has gone through a lot of changes. I’m coming in at really interesting time in the season. In my car driving up here, I thought, “Wow, I’m really excited to meet everyone!” I had no idea what I was walking into…but it’s been like coming home. I don’t feel intimated or alienated – personally and professionally. I think it’s good to have somebody with a fresh, new set of eyes.
BJ: What about the new position are you looking forward to?
AL: When you step into a very well-oiled machine you don’t get the chance to make the same impact. I feel like there’s an amazing foundation that was built by everyone that came here before me. I also feel like this is a great opportunity for me to take all the knowledge and experience I have from Utah, New York, Scotland and London and implement it. It’s such a beautiful theatre company – such a beautiful space – I hope I can contribute some contemporary theatre practices.
BJ: You have quite an extensive repertoire of experience in theatre, including work for American Folklore Theatre (AFT).
AL: I started doing professional theatre first by interning with AFT when I was 16, and then performing with the company. It was an amazing experience. I decided to go to graduate school in Scotland because I had a parallel goal of arts administration and producing. My sister and I always wanted to eventually – someday – run a theatre in Door County. I never thought it would be this early in my career. So much traveling made me think of where I wanted to work and live as a theater professional.
BJ: What are your goals for Door Shakes?
AL: I’m hoping to phrase this as our alumni year. I’d like to appeal to a lot of actors, directors, designers, audiences and patrons that have come through the gardens. There’s been so much support in seeing the theatre make it through this transition.
In the long-term, I would love to see Door Shakespeare have a more permanent home. Not only in terms of rehearsal and office space, but a more complete experience: a photo gallery, bookshop for supplemental readings of our plays, and research information. Theatres are culture centers. It’s called creative space making: revitalizing arts communities through these efforts, which in turn provide professional development opportunities and exchange programs.
BJ: What’s the reality behind building a sustainable theatre business?
AL: It’s always been something that interested me – solving that puzzle is more of a key to success than ignoring it. How do you make it all balance and work? That’s my challenge.
Door Shakespeare’s outdoor season opens June 29 and runs through Aug. 12 in the Bjorklunden gardens on Hwy 57, one mile south of Baileys Harbor.
As You Like It will be performed on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, while The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) will be performed on Thursdays and Saturdays. All shows begin at 7:30 pm. For more information or to order tickets call 920.839.1500 or visit http://www.doorshakespeare.com.