The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Gratitude among summer lessons learned

For everyone at Proctors, it’s been an intense summer.

First and foremost, testing the idea of expanded programming during the summer months was my idea -- and it came with a number of lessons hard learned. We know now that we need to know more about you -- our supporters – and your summer plans and about your habits of coming to downtown Schenectady during our summer season. But, as so often is the case when we chart unknown territory, our staff at every level adapted each lesson learned to marketing summer shows such as "Miss Saigon" and "Forever Plaid," and were able to eke the most out of every situation.

As of Sept. 13, I am proud to say:

• We have a newly equipped GE theater that takes an enviable space and makes it luscious. I am grateful to all those who participated in the selection of new lighting and sound equipment as well as for their expertise and effort to hang, focus, tune and give us real lighting and real sound for live productions in this special room.

• Between "Miss Saigon" and (Schenectady) Sports Hall of Fame, we moved closer to fully restoring the interior of the Mainstage. When the scaffolding comes down, the Mainstage ceiling at Proctors will be amazingly lovely.

• Thanks to clever and talented engineering types on our staff, we avoided near disaster during the hottest days in a decade and kept enough pieces of equipment in our utility plant running to keep customers happy and us in operation...along the way learning how some of our equipment functioned and increasing our capacity.

• Our Marketing team got us into more print, more electronic, and more social media … and more impressions than we have ever been in before … all of which add to “lessons learned," which are applicable to the rest of our 2010 – 2011 season.

• Our technology and IT gets better and better! Remember that MOST places do not do the technology and processes in-house that we do, plus on-site staff selling, fixing, webbing, etc. I think -- and as folks come to see our ticketing and technology in action -- we are enviable … and getting better.

• We have a new small theater and studio in the education center in the Underground at Proctors that really works for our users and, soon, for our own television program.

• We have moved steadily and a long way down the path toward integrating a public access television station into a performing arts facility … not just technically, but leveraging it to impact significantly our education program.

• We can run a terrific program of 10 summer arts camps with 260 students this year – 41 on scholarships!!!

• We can treat our supporters, our members, and our performers, so well that they beg us to come back (those "Plaid" guys loved it here – and those cheering, Plaidified Capital Region audiences, too!!!!)

• We can push sets and equipment out, uncover the plastic off seats protected from ceiling repairs, clean the whole building, move 40 tables and 300 chairs and in 24 hours go from performance and repair to Sports Hall of Fame…What a crew!

• And, somehow, not strangle one another.

From my perspective, we are an amazing lot, frankly. And, we are better physically, technically, administratively for the effort that goes into serving you and bringing the very best in entertainment value to Downtown Schenectady and the extended Capital Region.

I hope that you agree.

Philip Morris is chief executive officer of Proctors.

To learn even more about Proctors, visit or click HERE.

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