Meet the Staff
Darryl VanOudenhove, Box Office Manager
By Theresa M. MacNaughton, Community Engagement Associate
I am a Connecticut native, born and raised in Rockville! I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and Theatre/English Literature from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York; and I spent a decade living and working in New York. I experienced many different types of performance environments, from my first gig as a stage manager in a refinished warehouse space on the West Side Highway to more well-known venues such as The Tank, Access Theatre, and The Public.
Tell us about the first time you experienced live theatre and how it impacted you.
The first time I experienced live theatre is when I was in kindergarten and played the Christmas star in our school play. I remember my mother being a little put-off because I had so many lines to learn, but I was ecstatic that I got to wear a head full of tinsel and sit on some unfortunate 8th grader’s shoulders the whole time.
My first professional live theatre experience was here at Hartford Stage. I came on a high school trip to see Oedipus, during the 2000/01 season, and it was amazing. I was so captivated by how emotionally rich the show was, when I had just finished reading a play that, to me, had seemed ancient and dry. It inspired me to read with a creatively-active mind and made me realize what an incredible, transformative impact artistic and production staff can have on a show.
Take us through a day in the life of a box office manager.
My average work day is like a sandwich: the beginning and the end of the day are composed mostly of paperwork and reporting, and the middle portion varies depending on the time of year and what we have going on at the theatre. This can involve departmental meetings, training and hiring box office staff, and sorting through donations requested by other non-profits, just to name a few.
What aspects of your job would most people be surprised to learn about?
I think some people would be surprised to hear that we do a great deal of behind-the-scenes work to thank patrons who are kind to our staff. It sounds simple, but is a fairly rare practice these days. I think it goes a long way towards making our wonderful patrons feel appreciated, and it helps our representatives stay positive by focusing on finding new ways to say “thank you.”
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
The most difficult part of my job is being the one who has to say “no” – whether it is to my staff and or to patrons. It’s never fun.
As part of our renovation project, the box office has been relocated. How has the team coped “without a regular home” this summer, and what can patrons expect from the changes to the box office?
Being separated, in our own offices on the third floor, feels a little foreign since we are used to sharing an open-plan office. Plus, we truly work best as a team, so we’ve been popping in and out of our doors like little groundhogs all summer! The permanent third floor residents have been very patient with us.
The new box office is going to be beautiful and much more functional (for us and for patrons.). We will have many new and improved features, including a wheelchair accessible window, floor-to-ceiling glass panels, and larger openings to facilitate conversations.
Which show are you most excited about this season – and how are you sharing it with patrons?
Romeo and Juliet!!!!!! (Can you tell exactly how excited I am?) I’m always happy to share my love of Shakespeare and to engage in a spirited discussion with anyone who thinks this show is not one of his best. Our patrons already know that Darko (Tresnjak) is a masterful director of the Bard’s work, so I’ve been lucky to have most of them share their excitement with me, instead of the other way around.
What has been your personal favorite production at Hartford Stage?
Reverberation, by Matthew Lopez, is my favorite Hartford Stage production thus far. I found it to be relevant, honest, and utterly heartbreaking. I have a photo above my desk of a scene where Jonathan and Claire are each sitting alone in their apartments, one directly above the other, encapsulated in their own loneliness while mere feet away from each other.
Do you have other talents or passions outside of working in theatre?
I am a voracious reader, an animal lover, and I enjoy spending time in nature. I also love many different styles of dance and would love to see a surge in professional dance performances in the area.
What is your personal motto in life?
You have as many hours in a day as every person you have ever aspired to emulate. If you choose not to waste those hours, you too can do amazing things.