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FACES OF TWIN CITIES THEATRE: Arts Consultant Bethany Gladhill

Arts consultant Bethany Gladhill (she/her).

How do you describe the theatre work that you do?

I am an arts and non-profit management consultant, working with theaters and other arts organizations to make the artistic work that they do align with the business accountability required. While I think that “no money, no mission” is a trope that oversimplifies things, I think that if you don’t have your organizational ducks in a row it distracts from your ability to focus on the stories you tell and the amazing things you create.

Where and how did you train for what you do today?

No, I don’t have an accounting degree! My undergraduate degree is in drama and English, and my master’s is actually in historic preservation. I attended graduate school at Guildhall School of Music and Drama for a bit, a million years ago, before traveling the world and moving back to the Twin Cities.

I spent 12 years at Theatre de la Jeune Lune before holding leadership roles at the Jungle and Nautilus Music-Theater. I went off into consulting almost 15 years ago so I could work with more groups, and I have not looked back since!

What are 3 words that describe you as an artist?

Curious, encouraging, wise.

Arts consultant Bethany Gladhill.

What’s the last performance that you were in/worked on/wrote/etc?

My daughter’s spring musical production of Urinetown (her theater director at SPA is the incomparable Eric Christiansen). I love that she loves theatre as much as I do!

How did you become involved in theatre?

Though I started in theatre at TCITY (back when that existed), my first professional work was at the Cricket Theatre, many years ago. Over time, my work has expended from just theatres to other arts organizations (and other non-profits too, ranging from labor unions to mental health).

I love working with all kinds of organizations, and leveraging my varied experiences to find ways to make everyone stronger.

Tell us about a favorite experience in the performing arts. Why was it meaningful?

Going back to Jeune Lune, the night we opened Children of Paradise: Shooting a Dream was magical — both for the performance and to be in the space that we had willed into being. It was a night of a lot of promise that I felt like we realized over our time there. I love that sense of excitement for the future, and I still experience that feeling at almost every opening night I attend.

A snippet of the program for Children of Paradise: Shooting a Dream (1993). At the time, Bethany Gladhill was the Marketing Associate for the Theatre de la Jeune Lune. The Brechtian play involved significant audience participation, and was produced in cooperation with various regional theatre companies. It won the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Associations’ New Play Award.

Tell us about someone who had a profound impact on you as the artist that you are today.

I never met Judith Malina, who co-founded The Living Theatre, but her journals and work have been very formative to me. I can still pick up her work and find something that strikes me on every page. Locally, I think Barbra Berlovitz best epitomizes that spirit, though likely with considerably less pathos.

What is an upcoming performance that excites you, with which you are NOT involved?

I’m excited to see shows this summer; it feels like there is so much going on! But I’m considering a trip out to New York to see Lauren Halsey’s Roof Garden Commission installation at the Met (and maybe see a few shows while I’m there).

In 1-3 sentences, what’s up next for you, creatively?

I’ve moved from being young and enthusiastic to old(er) and wise(r), though those early days don’t seem very long ago at all! I’m turning a new corner of being a more complex resource for the organizations I work with, and I’m trying to work out exactly what that means. Maybe that’s the sense of promise I referred to above.

Follow Bethany Gladhill Online

Twitter: @bethanyg

Instagram – @snugglewombat

Twin Cities Arts Reader