Behind the Scenes with Chris Marrion and Looking Ahead to the Future

Vice President of Communications for The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory Lisa Condit spoke with Vice President of Advancement Chris Marrion about what the summer and fall hold for the theatre. Read on for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview below. Then tune in to Talk of the Commonwealth with Hank Stolz on WCRN 830AM Fridays at 9 AM and Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews.

Color headshot of Chris, a white man with brown hair and facial hair. Chris is wearing a suit jacket, button-up and tie. He has glasses on and is smiling. The background is warm, out of focus tones.

Lisa: Welcome Chris Marrion, our newest member of the strategy team. He’s our vice president of advancement. He has quite the background. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Chris: I’ve been working in the arts for about 23 years. I started as a musician. I was a freelance singer for a while and figured out early on in my career I was much happier on the administrative side of the arts. My first real development job was at Boston Lyric Opera, a wonderful company. Then I had the incredible opportunity to go work for Yo-Yo Ma at Silk Road for eight years. After that, I went back to my alma mater, Boston University College of Fine Arts and I was assistant dean.

Sometimes extraordinary opportunities come along, totally unexpected, and that was the opportunity to come and join the team at The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory. I am excited to be able to work in a place where I can help dig into those bigger questions as well as contribute to the success of the organization.

Questions like, how do the arts transform a community?  How do the arts change the way a young person thinks about the possibilities of the future? How do they connect people who otherwise might not seem to have anything in common? This is what was exciting to me about coming to The Hanover Theatre, the way it has transformed the landscape in Worcester.  

Theatre Creates Community

Chris: We’ve been spreading the word about our production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar on Worcester Common in August. We want to bring live theater back to Worcester. 

It is a wonderful opportunity for many people to see their first Shakespeare play for free, outdoors. It’s a communal experience to feel like you’re part of the production, the way Shakespeare was originally intended to be experienced. 

Black and white image of Worcester City Hall's clock tower, reflected horizontally. The text on the image is red and reads, "Ides of March Match," and then in smaller red letters "We did it! Thank you!"

We had the opportunity to do the Ides of March Match thanks to the generosity of Veronica and Howard Wiseman. We really feel this is an opportunity for people to understand that everybody can be a supporter of the arts. The arts are a thing that we all make happen. People in Worcester are very generous. There’s a real sense of investment in knowing that when we support the arts, we’re getting something back. I’m thrilled with this community support.  

Lisa: Absolutely. Many of our listeners have their own businesses, so if you’re interested in potential advertising opportunities and sponsorship, it is not too late. My friends, we still have room for you. 

Chris: We have lots of room. Olivia Scanlon, our artistic director of THT Rep puts it beautifully, this is not just a theatrical performance, this is an entire event. We want people to come and see this. We want them to come and experience downtown. We want them to support local businesses. This whole thing is a wonderful experience that we’re trying to create to celebrate all that Worcester has to offer in the arts and beyond. 

I have quickly become a passionate Worcester cheerleader. Everybody is happy to help, and they understand that it’s good for us, it’s good for the city. Everybody really benefits when we’re all participating in our cultural life, it’s been really inspiring. 

Black and white faded image of Worcester City Hall's clock tower. The text on the image reads, The Hanover Theatre Repertory presents in partnership with the City of Worcester Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Looking Forward to a Safe Return

Lisa: Is there anything else you really want people to be thinking about as we reach even past Julius Caesar into the fall and into next into next year? 

Chris: Pay close attention to what we’re doing.

We’re working hard to get open and to bring back all the wonderful, cultural life, all the performing arts that we know people have been missing. We’re also thinking about how to keep people safe and to be responsible.

It is great to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I cannot wait to be back in the theater when it’s full of people all excited to be there and have this wonderful shared experience.