Town Talk Features

Get to Know: Catherine Campbell

Catherine Campbell’s theatrical journey has taken her across the United States. She has worked on productions for some of the nation’s most esteemed companies and venues including the Hollywood Bowl, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Columbia University and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Art. Now, she’s taking on the StL as the new director of production at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

where i’m from …
I’m originally from Ontario in southern California—not to be confused with Canada. I went to Cal Poly Paloma and studied theater production and education. From there, I’ve worked in Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles and Minnesota.

how i discovered theater …
I sort of fell into it in high school. Originally, I wanted to be a chef with my own Food Network show, but my school didn’t offer home economics, so I couldn’t do a cooking class. My best friend asked me to do theater with her instead. I started with acting, but I found my place behind the scenes. It worked better for me than being in the spotlight. My friend isn’t even in the theater now, but I’m so thanksful she introduced me to it. It helped pave my path, and I don’t know where I would be otherwise.

my favorite thing about theater …
I love being able to present new works, share unique voices and explore ideas differently than you can in other media. There’s just something about diving into a new piece and bringing the playwright’s and designers’ visions to life. You get to experience the production process from beginning to end. There are moments where you don’t believe everything can come together, and then weeks later, those concerns seem like nothing.  It’s a wonderful collaborative process, and at the end, you get to see the energy coming from the audience. During the pandemic, I missed the thrills and chills of live theater.

what i do …
The director of production oversees all the different designers and departments that execute the design. It’s like the nucleus of production that makes sure all the behind-the-scenes stuff happens properly—the center that makes sure everything happens on time and in budget. It’s a balancing act of time, money and people.

i think a performance should …
It should still be thought provoking and impactful after the curtain closes. I really hope that audiences don’t just walk away thinking it was a nice show and then forget about it. I want to start a conversation that makes them dig deeper, whether that’s examining something uncomfortable about their lives or analyzing the way they do things. Theater can allow us to insert ourselves into experiences other than our own and connect with impactful issues in a unique way.

what i’m looking forward to at the rep …
I’ll be collaborating with outstanding designers, and I can’t wait to see their work and help make it come to life. The leadership at The Rep is making exciting steps to reshape how we look at theater and magnify voices of color. We’re looking at how to step into a new generation of performance that challenges audiences and pushes designers to think outside of the box.

a memorable production i worked on …
My last production before coming to St. Louis was called Autonomy. It was a huge installation, and people drove golf carts to nine different performances that focused on themes like climate change, immigration and the possibility of a pandemic. This was pre-COVID so it was like the writer saw the future. The beauty of the show was that it was so challenging. It wasn’t the typical theatrical production, and I had to learn how to make art travel with people. It was nuts. There were times I thought my artistic director was insane, but once I saw it all come together, I totally understood.

my initial impression of the stl …
It’s interesting—I’m still investigating things. I’ve been to the botanical garden, zoo and arch, and I’m really looking forward to exploring the arts scene

Photo courtesy of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Recommended

Skip to toolbar