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Meet Barb Jorgensen

Q: What are your earliest memories of live theater?

A: I saw no live theater as a child. However, our Brownie troop did little skits for audiences and in fifth grade our Girl Scout troop put on a “real” children’s show with a playwright director, auditions, line memorizing, costumes, a big stage and a paying audience. I was the lead and it is a wonderful lasting memory.

Q: What about theater first attracted you?

A: I’m not really sure. I just liked being in front of people and being someone else. I had no formal training. Age and experience helps, as does the guidance of good directors.

Q: Who have been your theatrical mentors?

A: I like to have help in developing the character and their point of view and I’ve been lucky to have worked with good directors who have been kind and helpful. Giving sincere, meaningful guidance is the best director trait.

I’ve had no mentors as such. Jim Payne helped me develop my mature acting skills in my first leading role in Dayton in “Broadway Bound.” I was so nervous and his direction was so special. It worked.

Greg Smith has directed me in 17 shows and he is magical for me. He knows me well and he brings out the best I can do.

Q: What have been some of your favorite parts and why?

A: There are so many that I have loved doing. “Broadway Bound” was special because it was my first big role in Dayton. Dorian was my first singing part onstage. I played multiple parts and had seven costume changes

Other roles that allowed me to really develop the characters were in “Collected Stories,” “Wallis” “Outward Bound,” “Lost in Yonkers,” ” 100 Saints You Should Know,” “The Waverly Gallery,” “The Gin Game,” “Yellow to Lavender,” and “Southern Comforts.” Of course, the goofy, over-the-top Southern/Texas parts were great fun.

Q: What would you like to do in theater that you haven’t yet has a chance to do?

A: I would like to do a one-woman show before I get too old to remember all of those lines.

Q: What can be done to develop new audiences for live theater?

A: That’s a question that all theaters ask. Easily accessed theaters and good shows is my best answer. Of course, good publicity always helps.

Q: What theatre jobs have you done over the years in addition to acting?

A: I’ve made many, many costumes, worked on sets, produced, done box office, and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. At the Guild I am the Membership Secretary and the Executive Secretary.

I’ve done acting/readers theatre classes for the Osher LifeLong Learning program at the University of Dayton and for the first years of the Hall of Fame, I was in charge of all the mailing of invitations and collecting reservations and money. For two years, I chaired the nominating committee for the Theatre Hall of Fame.

Q: What upcoming shows are you involved in?

A: I am producing the first show of the 2014-15 Guild season — “Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music.” As producer, I’m responsible for the technical designers, the crew, the program, the pictures, and anything else the director needs to have done.And there are several parts in the season that I would like to audition for.

Q: What advice would you give to parents whose children are interested in acting?

A: I would encourage any child to develop those skills if the urge is there. It helps with self-confidence, public speaking and people skills even if they don’t make it their career. I used my performing skills every day as a teacher in my classroom.

Q: What’s special about the community theater?

A: That’s easy — the wonderful people you get to work with and the wonderful audiences that make it all worthwhile. It allows many more people to see plays at a reasonable price in a comfortable setting.

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