Stage One Interview


Meet Stage One Member Brendan Howes

By Scott Bartelson, Management Associate

Howes participated in a Stage One-hosted gold-leafing event.
Howes participated in a Stage One-hosted gold-leafing event.

Hartford Stage has just entered its third year of Stage One, an initiative engaging young professionals to participate on our Board of Directors, including attending committee meetings and participating in board retreats and conversations to understand not-for-profit arts leadership and advocacy. Stage One also focuses on the cultivation of the next generation of theatregoers.

Brendan Howes is one of the newest Stage One members, although he has a history with Hartford Stage. Howes was a Trinity College 360 intern at Hartford Stage for a full semester and has been one of the strongest advocates for StagePass, the theatre’s subscription for modern audiences.

Howes currently works at Travelers in Vendor Management and Third-Party Data. We spoke with him about his reasons for deeper engagement with Hartford Stage.

Why were you interested in becoming involved with Stage One?

Stage One provides a unique opportunity for young professionals to gain non-profit board experience. As a new professional in the Hartford area, I was looking to participate in a non-profit board in the area. I was specifically interested in Stage One because of my history with Hartford Stage, both as a theatergoer and former intern. Now that I’m on Stage One, my interest is in gaining new skills and mentors but also applying my experience to the board and improving Hartford Stage’s visibility to younger members of the community.

Brendan (3rd from left) and some of his co-workers at a StagePass party.
Brendan (3rd from left) and some of his co-workers at a StagePass party.

How has your experience as a Trinity 360 Intern shaped your understanding of Hartford Stage? What activities and projects did you participate in?

The Trinity 360 program allowed me to spend time with most departments at Hartford Stage and learn about each area in a hands-on or shadowing capacity. I assisted Development in tracking Gala donations, creating a new worksheet for tracking dollars received. I also assisted Education in a middle school production of Once on This Island,both backstage and running spotlight during the production. The 360 program gave me a view of Hartford Stage I would never have had. I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to meet and work with everyone at the theatre, gaining insight into the day-to-day operations.

Why should younger generations attend the theatre and support the arts? What opportunities do they have at Hartford Stage?

There are many opportunities for younger generations to engage with Hartford Stage. Hartford Stage has made itself highly accessible to young people, either through Education programs or via StagePass.

Supporting the arts, and specifically Hartford Stage, will continue (and hopefully grow) access to these programs. Broadway is what most people think of as “theatre,” but Hartford Stage gives people the rare opportunity to see shows before they become commercial successes, like A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murderand Anastasia,but in a much more intimate setting.

In your opinion, what role can businesses (like Travelers) in downtown Hartford play in developing relationships with Hartford Stage?

Downtown businesses have the ability to support Hartford Stage financially, with sponsorships, and educating their employees on the opportunities Hartford Stage offers. I would love to see more internal promotion of adult acting classes (many professionals can benefit from improvisation or acting skills) or StagePass. Company support should go beyond just the financial.

What are some ideas and/or projects you hope to work on during your time on Stage One?

I’m currently assisting Pete Carey (Individual Giving Associate) and Jennifer Roberts (Director of Education) with the crowdfunding campaign for an education program. Additionally, I’d like to explore new ways that Hartford Stage can draw younger members and diversify audiences. Last year, Stage One hosted a pumpkin gold-leafing event that brought in a younger audience, and we are hoping to host some type of murder mystery dinner in the near future. I’d like to assist in creating new opportunities for younger adults to explore theatre and become engaged.