Theatre manager Jason Asbell juggles phone

A day in the life of a juggler, er, theatre manager

When I was in my 20s I dated a juggler. He could keep anything in the air: balls, clubs, machetes.

When I was in my 20s I dated a juggler. He could keep anything in the air: balls, clubs, machetes. Not long after that I became a mother and something of a juggler myself: meals, schedules, hand-me-down clothing. I know a thing or two about juggling.

Nelson Civic Theatre manager Jason Asbell could teach the course on juggling. I’ve seen him juggle things at the Civic in ways that make flaming chainsaws look like nerf balls.

That’s a rare talent.

Recently, I asked him how his week was going.

“The weekend is normally relaxing,” he told me. “In theory, I have the program sorted out for the following week: I know the films, I’ve got the publicity lined up and the newsletter ready to go.”

Jason’s hands start to move unconsciously. One ball, two balls, three.

“Then on Monday, it’s all up in the air again. The film that was supposedly confirmed did too well nationwide the week before. So the distributor decides — just like that — to change the terms.

“I had put together a unique program that included some independent films, the documentary The Bus, a member Monday film, and then we’d roll into a film on the break, Guardians of the Galaxy. But now Disney required a two-week commitment, nothing else showing.”

Showing a film on the break — when it’s first released — often comes with restrictions that make no sense for a small community, so I can imagine how pleased Jason must have been to get terms we could live with, and then be able to plan a whole week of eclectic programming around it — and then poof! A distributor’s sleight-of-hand means all your balls come crashing down.

“The plan had changed with four days to go,” says Jason. “I was scrambling for an alternative program to lock down before noon and deal with the publicity fallout.

“Mondays too often turns into this. In this case I was able to push our film booker to push Disney harder with a sad luck story that we had made a two-week flyer including Guardians and we would be in a pickle if the program were to change.

“Disney came around at zero hour. But I have a few more grey hairs to show for it.”

If it were just about juggling chainsaws — er, bookings — Mondays would be hard enough. But that Monday Jason had new equipment coming in, and it turned out a separate circuit was needed.

So there’s Jason, trying to find an electrician on short notice, returning hard drives from the last films, catching phone calls from prospective renters, throwing calls out to suppliers, cranking out publicity, amending said publicity, lining up ducks and juggling them, too.

“This is when I ask everyone to support us in getting a three-screen theatre so we never have to have these mad programming dashes again — and I can hold onto my hair a little longer,” he said.

Three screens, of course, would solve the programming juggle, keeping distributors and Nelson’s eclectic audience happy.

With a 19-month-old at home with a penchant for hunting out unattended scissors and hot cups of coffee, Jason’s juggling abilities clearly serve him well in all aspects of his life.

At home, as at the Nelson Civic Theatre, support is everything.

“I work with amazing people,” he says, and it’s true: it’s easier to keep the balls/chainsaws/machetes/ducks spinning when you’ve got good people around you.

The Civic Theatre is a testament to juggling skills and a whole lot of good people helping us keep our balls in the air.

But for everyone’s sake, best to keep the chainsaws at home.

— Anne DeGrace is the past president of the Nelson Civic Theatre Society. To buy or renew memberships or find out about upcoming movies and events go to civictheatre.ca.

 

Just Posted

RDCK calls for reversal of Sinixt extinction

The board opposed a land transfer to the Westbank First Nation this week

Nelson city council to update banner policy

Council will revisit the wording of the policy at its December meeting

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

Meteorite fragments found near Crawford Bay

The pieces came from the fireball that exploded over Kootenay Lake in September

Nelson honours veterans on Remembrance Day

About 200 people gathered at Nelson’s cenotaph on Saturday to pay their respects to Canada’s veterans

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Man pleads guilty to Leafs recycling depot theft

Dezmond Waggoner had been charged with theft over $5,000

Nelson Leafs stretch winning streak to six

Jack Karran scored twice in the Leafs 6-3 win over Fernie

Nelson city hall selling bear-proof garbage bins

The city has purchased 100 bins and is charging residents $205

COLUMN: Will West Kootenay forests survive?

As with most things around ecology, the answer is not simple, says columnist Greg Utzig

Julien Locke races to NST World Cup berth

Black Jack cross-country skier Julien Locke races to first place at World Cup qualifier

B.C. sport groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Most Read