SOR 66: Krista Layfield Manages a Theatre That Exists Exclusively Inside a Parent Organization

Krista Layfield

Who is she?
the theatre manager for the Lilly Theatre and runs one of the tightest ships I've ever been an actor on

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I had the pleasure a little over a year ago of appearing in a show at the Lilly Theatre here in Indianapolis, which is a theatre that is contained within The Children’s Museum – a very large, well-respected… children’s museum… here in Indianapolis. It was a great experience for me as an actor, and one of the many pleasures was meeting Krista Layfield.

She is the theatre manager of the Lilly Theatre, and in no small part due to her involvement, it was one of the most professional, tightest run productions I’ve ever been a part of. Because the Lilly Theatre is contained within The Children’s Museum, it operates a little differently than most theatres.

So naturally I thought it would be really interesting to corner Krista and ask her how some of the logistics of running that theatre and serving that audience work.

I also want to point out that our conversation was recorded a little differently than previous episodes. I typically record a conversation over the phone, which is great and a very practical way to record a show. But for this episode Krista and I were sitting at a table across from each other, and I had a simple recorder sitting on the table between us. So if you have thoughts good or bad about how the recording itself turned out, I welcome those comments.

In this episode:

  • theatre for babies – this is a surreal tangent we hit early on because I had to know what exactly it was when Krista saw this form of experiential theatre
  • spreading budgets across shows – with a set budget for the entire season, Krista has discretion about how she allocates that budget across each property
  • consistent imagery – the “formula” for creating consistent imagery to promote each show that doesn’t look stale
  • double-edged sword of not controlling marketing – since The Children’s Museum handles all of the marketing for the theatre, the Lilly Theatre gets the good and bad of not promoting their shows
  • the mix of school groups and public visitors – attendance to shows is seasonal and school group cancelling because of weather or other conflicts can empty the house quickly

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Thanks to Krista for sharing her insights, and thanks to you for listening!

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