Shining the Spotlight Backstage

Here at PlayMakers we have a permanent professional team of actors, designers, artisans, and technicians working on every show. With over 65 permanent company members, we are able to foster a more collaborative and efficient environment and sense of comradery. So, we wanted to give YOU the chance to meet our team.

Laura Pates
Assistant Technical Director

As Assistant Technical Director Laura Pates is responsible for meeting with the shop to go over what they have to do that day, working on the shop floor, budgeting, drafting and ordering materials. However, what she does from show to show can vary. For the “The Christians” and “Tartuffe,” she created files that turned her drafted shapes into a computer code. These CNC files were sent to a machine that cut the drafted shapes for her. “We have a lot of different things that are replicated shapes and there are a lot of curves, so the best way to make it accurate is to do it via computer,” Pates said.

Favorite Project at PlayMakers: A doughnut revolve in “Cabaret” where the band sat in the middle, and the outer three feet rotated. “Figuring out how to mechanize that and make that work and do it in a timely and efficient manner was really kind of exciting and fun,” Pates said.

Why She Loves Her Job: “It’s always different and exciting, and I have a lot of freedom to explore.”

Dominic Abbentante
Lighting Director/Resident Designer

As Lighting Supervisor Dominic Abbentante is responsible for making sure all the lights are hung with color in them, focused at a precise spot on the set, and programmed to the computer in the correct order. A new map of lights is created for each show, and Abbentante ensures that the artistic vision is made into a reality.

His Favorite Project at PlayMakers: Assassins, which required more than six hundred lightbulbs on the set and over a mile of wiring. Abbentante noted it was not only his favorite project, but most challenging.

Why He Loves His Job: “I get to tell stories, I get to be an artist and I get to teach.”

Andrea Bullock
Prop Master

As Props Master Andrea Bullock is responsible for making a list of what the prop shop needs to do each day, updating the show’s prop list, and communicating with designers and directors during the rehearsal process. When she has extra time she helps out with the build, or construction of various props for the upcoming show.

Her Favorite Project at Playmakers: Mr. Dashwood’s dead body for “Sense and Sensibility.” Bullock said one of her artisans patterned out the dead body and then the whole team bonded by pitching in to stuff him.

Why She Loves Her Job: “One thing that’s great in prop land is we do a little bit of everything.”

Adam Bintz
Sound Designer and Engineer

As Sound Designer and Engineer Adam Bintz is responsible for discussing the mood shifts, genre and direction they’re taking with a show with the director and stage management and how to accent those moments with music or sound effects. For each show, he uses a combination of hand-made sounds—or Foley—and recorded sounds he pulls off the Internet to create the appropriate soundscape.

His Favorite Project at PlayMakers: Making the sounds for a license tag shop for “Count.” Bintz said he found some ideas online, but decided they weren’t quite what he was looking for, so he decided to take apart all of the pieces of the original to rebuild the desired sound.

Why He Loves His Job: “I saw a really cool show that used the Beatles as transitions, and I could feel that energy, and I wanted to be one of the people that could contribute to that.”

Join us soon as we provide the inside look into the costuming process of Tartuffe.