Everything Old Is New Again: Revealing Pieces of APAC’s Past with Production Manager Annie Jacobs
"Adventurous theater in Astoria"

-- The New York Times

Everything Old Is New Again: Revealing Pieces of APAC’s Past with Production Manager Annie Jacobs

Production Manager Annie Jacobs reveals to us how, piece by piece, APAC’s past has helped to inform its future productions — including our upcoming production of Monet Hurst-Mendoza’s Veil’d.

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Photos: Annie Jacobs


I have been the production manager at APAC for over eight years, and Veil’d will be the 35th show I help produce with the organization. My working on a show can start months in advance. It all begins when I first read a script and come up with a budget — usually six months or more in advance of the first performance. But for me, the first day that the show feels real and present for me is my first day of build in the space. Prior to that, I may have spent hundreds of hours on the show —  helping to hire staff, talking through designs, coming up with technical fixes to keep the artistic content while still staying within our modest budgets, introducing the cast to the space and our organization at first rehearsal — but until I move the first platform off the stage or load in the first piece of plywood into the venue, it is just a concept and doesn’t feel real.

On the upcoming production of Veil’d, that day was Saturday, October 14th. With the assistance of a couple volunteers, including our new Executive Director Jesse Marchese and our Artistic Director Dev Bondarin, we unloaded a truck of materials and began the process to turn the gym of the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church into the fantastical world of Veil’d.

This time around felt like a tour through the years I’ve spent with APAC. When we took down our large back curtain and exposed the back wall, it had multiple colors of paint on it —  some from Carefully Taught in 2015 and the majority still there from Milk Milk Lemonade way back in 2010, when we painted the theatre walls blue. We then pulled out paint from 2016’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee to repaint the wall to match the rest of the gym. We pulled out platforms, some with the gloss paint of last year’s award-winning Raisin, others with the blue from our production of Merrily We Roll Along in 2015 still poking through; platforms with holes cut for the staffs we used in Children of Eden in 2010 and one platform with a hatch cut for the dirt patch in 2012’s The Secret Garden. Pulling out old 2-by-4s to reuse them, there were some painted grey from the set of In The Bones (2014) which were sitting next to 4-by-4s from Billy Witch (2012).  So many pieces were a nod back to the past and the shows we built before, but in reusing them they became the foundation of Veil’d.

Each show is different, from how the audience’s seats are configured, to what’s onstage, to the costumes and the props. There is never just one way to do things, and instead of re-creating the same stage each time, we take the components we have and add in new materials and some new paint and create something never seen before.

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APAC has such a rich history, and I find one of my greatest joys with this organization is seeing how all the bits from the past add to the present and future. Maybe it’s a platform we reuse, or maybe it’s a designer who comes back to work with us again or an actor who comes back to work on one of our community programs. So much of APAC’s present is made up of pieces and parts from our past. Each show brings a wonderful mix of new artists and alumni, and our audiences bring in new and regulars alike. And it is that ever-changing, ever-evolving community that make up this organization that makes each time I begin to work on a new show at the church exciting and fresh.

Working on Veil’d has its own brand-new challenges and things we’ve never done before, and its own problems that need to be solved — how do you make a set the accommodates not only real-live people, but also a talking shark? How do you work to convey the home life of our central family, the Mansours, while also making it safe for the actors who play them, whose peripheral vision might be compromised by costume pieces? But remembering that there is a direct continuity from our very first production in this space ten years ago and from our productions in our previous homes reassures me that we are making something that is, of necessity, temporary — but also something that will live on and grow in the memories of everyone working on Veil’d, and hopefully everyone who comes and sees it in November. Knowing that we are again creating something exciting and fresh while continuing to be part of a community that grows, changes, and endures makes it all worthwhile. And really, isn’t that what APAC is all about? I can’t wait until you see what we’ve all come up with in Veil’d.

And then, we’ll do it all again.


APAC Presents: Veil’d
Good Shepherd United Methodist Church
30-44 Crescent Street (at 30th Road)

For more tickets and info, go here.
Visit our Facebook event page here.

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