WOMEN IN CHARGE
This fall, more than 50 Washington, D.C. professional theatres are participating in the momentous Women’s Voices Theater Festival, showcasing more than 50 world premiere plays by women. In the spirit of the festival, Shakespeare Theatre Company wants to highlight some of its Women in Charge. Theatre is a collaborative art, and a successful production involves stage managers, scenic designers, administrators and grant writers, costume designers, prop masters, trainers, and so many more. That is why we are taking the opportunity to highlight some of our women behind the scenes who keep our theatre, and the art form, alive.
During the run of Yaël Farber’s Salomé, our contribution to Women’s Voices, we will be publishing interviews with some of the women you will not see onstage, but who keep STC running smoothly. We’re proud to put these wonderful women in the spotlight!
We hope you enjoy the third installment, featuring Carter Wooddell, STC’s resident casting director.
AN INTERVIEW WITH CARTER WOODDELL
How long have you been working in the arts?
What’s your favorite project that you have helped make happen? Why?
This is a very difficult question, and it’s truly hard to choose a favorite project! I suppose if I were to pick a favorite, it would be the Contemporary American Theater Festival. CATF does five productions every summer with a company of around 15 actors, most of whom work on more than one play. When casting this, we were really looking for powerhouse actors who could carry substantial roles and play multiple characters in wildly different new American plays. Everyone involved in this artistic process gets incredibly excited about digging into the work that the festival produces. CATF is a creative incubator of new plays, and there is an electricity that surrounds the work. The Contemporary American Theater Festival was always a thrilling project to cast, and because of the type of actors the work demanded, it made me refine my skills and grow as a casting professional.
Can you explain your role in the theatre world, for those who might not know?
As the resident casting director at Shakespeare Theatre Company, I work closely with directors and full creative teams to find actors for the productions and readings we have on our stages. This entails writing detailed character breakdowns, making lists of all the actors I know that would be a good fit for each project, as well as working diligently with actors, talent agents, and managers to ensure that the creative team has the strongest, tailored, and project-specific talent to choose from. The next step is putting together sessions where the director and creative team see the work of the actors selected to come in and audition. From there we work together to assemble the cast.
What got you started in the arts?
I went to the theatre at a young age and fell in love with the power that it has to touch people. I noticed that individuals let their guard down at the theatre and experience things when the lights go down that they may not experience outside in their everyday lives. It’s not tangible, but it’s very powerful. Theatre inspires, moves, grows, and challenges us, and from a young age I wanted to make a career in that environment and be a part of that creative community.