September 6, 2012
Katharine Sullivan Is Living Her Dream Producing Theatre In New York City
When Katharine Sullivan was growing up in the Brandon/Valrico area, she acted with local theatre groups, directed theatre at Blake High School in Tampa and produced her own shows at the Barn Theatre while home on break from school. Sullivan, daughter of John and Kay Sullivan, is living her dream of being a theatre producer in New York City.
Recently, Sullivan was a producer for the off Broadway play, Black Milk, which is set in a train station somewhere in Russia and was written by Vassily Sigarev. The play had a limited run from July-August. Sullivan said, “By the third week of Black Milk, we were selling out and audiences were really responding to the play.”
You may ask, what does a producer do? According to Sullivan, “You always get a different answer depending on who you ask.” Sullivan added, “You have the producer who is solely concerned with raising funds for the production, and you have the creative producer who works with every aspect of the show from the ground up.” Sullivan is the latter.
For Black Milk, Sullivan did everything from hire the staff to create the marketing plan to dealing with contracts. “I had my hands in a lot of things and gave input on the show,” said Sullivan.
After graduating from Blake High School, Sullivan attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and earned a degree focused on directing and design. Prior to becoming an independent theatre producer, she worked in costume design.
Even when she would return home over the summers and direct shows at the Barn Theatre, she knew that what she really wanted to be was a producer. “I was becoming the producer without even realizing it. I had to go out and schedule the promotions and get sponsors and reach out to the community and hire the staff,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan is now doing what she always wanted to do. She is currently a third year Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) student at Columbia University’s School of the Arts For Theatre Management and Producing. She will continue to look for plays that interest her even as she completes the Masters of Fine Arts program at Columbia.
For a more detailed description of Black Milk, visit www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/theatre/vassily-sigarev-a-voice-from-russias-rust-belt.html.