Sue Ann Collins


Sponsor Spotlight

An Interview with Sue Ann Collins, President of the Hartford Stage Board of Directors

By Nicholas Denninger, Development Apprentice

Sue Ann CollinsHow long have you been involved with Hartford Stage overall?

I’ve been involved with Hartford Stage for about the past 15 years. I attended shows periodically before I started serving on the Board of Directors in 2007.

What first attracted you to Hartford Stage? How did it all begin?

I’ve enjoyed theatre my whole life. I’m from a small town in Maine; and once a year, from seventh grade through high school, my class was taken to see a Shakespeare play in Beverly, Massachusetts. That’s where my love of theatre began. I moved back to Hartford in 2003 and started attending Hartford Stage regularly with John McGarvey, a dear friend. I met Michael Wilson through John (they are great friends) and, subsequently, Michael and I became friends. I attribute my involvement with Hartford Stage to both Michael and John.

What roles have you played on the Board?

I was first on the Finance Committee and then became the Finance Committee Chair, a position I held for several years. I was also involved with the Investment and Strategic Planning Committees. I believe I was asked to be President by the Nominating and Governance Committee because of my enthusiasm for all things related to Hartford Stage and my strong committee work.   Needless to say, I was thrilled to receive that call.

What has been your most favorite part or aspect of being involved with Hartford Stage?

First, I enjoyed being involved in the committees I mentioned before. But my favorite part was being asked to be on the search committee for the new Artistic Director in 2010. It was so much fun and was very much an out-of-body experience participating in the hiring of a different kind of professional. I’m an actuary, and I usually only get to hire other actuaries!

We had a search firm assist us, and the first question assigned to me by the firm was to ask each candidate “about his/her aesthetic.” I asked the search firm to provide the follow-up questions as well because this question was not part of my normal interview repertoire. Now that I’ve seen more shows at Hartford Stage and paid more attention to the aesthetics on a regular basis, I have a better grasp of what that question is really asking.

I’m also a member of the current search committee for the next Artistic Director after Darko’s departure; but this time, I’m not serving with the same sense of naiveté. I will, however, serve with the same great enthusiasm.

Do you have a favorite show or season of shows that you’ve seen?

Not really. It’s very hard for me to pick one show that’s my absolute favorite, so here are my top seven: Anastasia, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, The Orphans’ Home Cycle, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hamlet, Divine Rivalry, and Dividing the Estate. If I had to pick my top two of those seven, they would be A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and The Orphans’ Home Cycle.

What is it about Hartford Stage that inspires you to keep serving and contributing?

Hartford Stage puts great work on stage. It has an education program that touches so many students in Connecticut in a time when government support for the arts is declining. Hartford Stage employs lots of professionals who build sets, make costumes, etc. and also attracts many people to downtown Hartford to see its shows; all of this has a beneficial effect on the local economy. And lastly, to a person, all visiting artists who come to work at Hartford Stage provide rave reviews about how welcoming the professionals at Hartford Stage are, which speaks volumes about the team here at Hartford Stage.