Richard E. Wildish Community Theater at 630 Main St. in Springfield. MIKE EYSTER/PHOTO
SPRINGFIELD – The Richard E. Wildish Community Theater Board of Directors have appointed Greg Hopper-Moore to the position of general manager of Springfield's downtown performing arts center. Hopper-Moore will be responsible for all managerial and community relations aspects of the Wildish Community Theater.
"This is a challenging time for all performing arts venues. However, the future is full of opportunities for those venues that are guided by creativity, enthusiasm, and hard work," said Dan Egan, Wildish board president. "We believe Greg possesses all of those attributes, and we are anticipating an exciting future for both Greg and the Wildish Theater."
Greg grew up in Springfield and attended the University of Oregon. He met his wife, Shelli, at the University of Oregon in the 90s, and their two children are alumni at Oregon State University, much to Greg's chagrin.
After teaching high school French and working in the nonprofit educational sector for over 20 years, Greg found a new passion in the performing arts. He wasn't eager to join the ranks of actors and singers on stage, however. He chose to be a stage manager.
"Most people don't know what a stage manager does," he said, "but you would know if the stage manager weren't on the job backstage. Things would start to fall apart."
Hopper-Moore likens the behind-the-scenes role of the stage manager to the role of a small theater general manager. "There's nothing glamorous about being a theater manager. The buck really does stop with you. If something goes wrong with the ticketing system, with the lights during a performance, or with the restroom in the lobby, the general manager is on the hook."
Even with the responsibility, Hopper-Moore is happy to have landed at the Wildish Community Theater. He said he is eager to make a difference, especially after the Wildish stared down a global pandemic. Like most theaters, the Wildish went for over a year without any business. Now, things are starting to come around. For example, weekends in January and February are very busy, he says. "From classical music to dance to musicals, we have a wide variety of events coming up."
"From first time users, to returning artists, to our wonderful resident companies, thank you for your support as we all work toward open and full theaters, enjoying your shows and talents," Egan said.
Community feedback suggests that there is a desire to see the Wildish used more often as a community resource. Hopper-Moore invites companies to hold their events at the Wildish. "Looking for a place to get married? he joked. The Wildish could be the venue you are looking for."