Q&A: Shona Wercholuk

Communications Coordinator Shona Wercholuk is the newest member of the LMPR team. With a background in arts administration, public relations, and a passion for Vancouver’s independent music scene, she looks forward to sharing the news and stories of our diverse clientele.   Tell us about yourself & how you got into arts marketing.   I’ve always loved writing, and knew I wanted a career that was heavily involved in the craft but also knew I didn’t want to be a novelist. Due to this love I got a Bachelors degree in English from UBC and then immediately started working at Arts Umbrella. The arts have always been a hobby of mine, but it wasn’t until my work at Arts Umbrella that a passion to work in the arts really flourished.   I also soon realized that I really enjoyed working with people and began a search for a career that could combine all three of these interests. I recently completed SFU’s Public Relations Certificate program, which aligned me with the right tools to get started in public relations. I was then lucky enough to find a career that combined my love for the arts and public relations. Where is the best place you have travelled & why?   This is a really tough one! Because of my dad’s job, I have travelled a lot; I was fortunate enough to grow up all over the world as a result of that. As a child, I spent most of my upbringing in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and the city will always be very near and dear to my heart.   I would have to say our family trip to Austria was my absolute favourite though. We went in December, a time of year I  love, and the country was absolute breathtaking. It was the epitome of Christmas- and full of authentic markets with the most wonderful handmade trinkets. It was a place and a feeling I will never forget.   What was the first show you remember seeing as a child?   Shania Twain. I was 8 years old and we were living in Australia at the time. I remember feeling very proud I was seeing a Canadian perform in a different country.    If you could grab a coffee with one artist – living or dead – who would it be and why?    After reading some of the Bronte sisters works, I developed a fascination for them, but particularly with Emily. There’s very little published information about her, so I would really love to pick her brain. Although she was said to be very shy, so who knows how much she would say.   What are you most looking forward to in your new role at LMPR?   There’s so much! I’m really excited to be working with some seasoned professionals as it allows for a great learning experience. I’m also excited about all of the amazing clients I’m able to work with and help market in new and creative ways. But the most exciting thing for me has to be the fact that everyday I am able to explore my creativity in some way.   Lighting Round!   Morning person or night owl? Night Owl   Drink of choice? A cold glass of bubbly   Truth or dare? Truth   Favourite book? The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde   Best Movie? The Little Mermaid (I can’t help it!)   Power of Flight or Invisibility? Invisibility  

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Online Marketing Case Study: Theatre Under the Stars

The Client For nearly 75 years, Theatre Under the Stars has brought soaring works of song & dance to the crown jewel of Vancouver – Stanley Park. So much more than just a night at the theatre, TUTS interweaves a kaleidoscope of elements – setting, scenery, concessions, and quality art – into a fun, encompassing experience that is much greater than the sum of its parts.   The Campaign Laura Murray Public Relations was hired to provide a full-scale marketing and communications campaign for their 2014 presentations of Shrek: The Musical and Legally Blonde: The Musical.   In addition to publicity, promotions, advertising, social media, and consulting, LMPR provided a multi-platform digital advertising campaign to drive awareness and sales.    Campaign Components The online marketing campaign used a variety of tools to reach potential audiences at various stages in the purchase process.   A search campaign delivered sponsored Google results to local individuals searching for entertainment options and to international audiences researching visits to Vancouver:           On Facebook, campaigns ran in the newsfeed of Lower Mainland individuals who had expressed interests in musicals, theatre, Disney films, outdoor cinema, and similar activities – or who had attended TUTS in past seasons:         Using the Google Display Network, various sized banner ads reached desktop, laptop, and mobile users on a network of more than 30,000 websites. The ads were served to individuals whose browsing history indicated an interest in the performing arts- or who had previously visited the TUTS website:           On YouTube, a 0:15 commercial ran before the videos of individuals who expressed an interest in musical theatre or previously visited the TUTS website:   Theatre Under the Star’s 2014 Season opened last night (July 15) with Shrek: The Musical and continues with tonight’s opening of Legally Blonde: The Musical. The productions alternate evenings until August 23.   For tickets & info, visits tuts.ca.  

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Review: Oleanna by Bleeding Heart Theatre & Xua Xua Productions

Fifteen minutes after the show, I found myself in argument with a complete stranger.   Oleanna will have that effect.   Written in 1992 by the inimitable David Mamet, the incisive two-hander follows a churning, dynamic power struggle between a university professor and a female student who accuses him of sexual harassment. It is classic Mamet: neither character is quite likeable, neither is quite right, morality exists in shades of grey, and lines unspoken are as telling as those said aloud. In short, it is incredible fodder for reflection and debate.   Director Evan Frayne stages the work in one of Vancouver’s most intimate venues: the backspace at Havana Restaurant. Entering the room, there is an immediate confrontational quality, with the audience sitting around four sides of a raised square platform, not entirely unlike a boxing ring. Carolyn Rapanos’ set design accentuates this adversarial quality, with chairs facing one another head on and open sight lines that showcase the combatants in profile.   A side note: It would be interesting to learn whether those audience members who sat directly behind John or Carol felt greater sympathy or support for their argument, given that Frayne has placed them “in their corner.” One suspects it might be the case.   Anthony F. Ingram’s John is full of pretence and pompous bluster, but not entirely without charm. Ingram possesses an ability to bring great earnestness to even the most cynical roles, which he puts to use here. It’s not enough to fully redeem the character, but it certainly makes him more pitiable as his carefully constructed world begins to crumble. We find ourselves conflicted, feeling terrible that he can not understand why this is happening to him, yet disliking him for the self same reason.   Susie Coodin brings intriguing, confounding complexity to Carol. The source of my post-show debate involved whether she had laid a trap at the onset, with her lack of comprehension and self-deprecation, or whether her latter dogmatic certainty was something gained over the course of the production. Regardless of origin, it is an impressive transformation to watch, growing from meek supplicant to empirical avenger.   More than two decades after its premiere, Oleanna remains a relevant and provoking catalyzer of discourse. While this may not bode well for society and gender relations as a whole, it is good news for those who prefer their theatre to have a little edge. Go see it with someone you love. And then fight with them.   Oleanna runs until May 17 at Havana Theatre on Commercial Drive.   Tickets are $15 at Eventbrite.ca.  

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