The Mill now offers onsite guidance to patrons during performances via the new position of House Manager.
Starting this fall, guests of the Mill have a new, charming face to turn to when they need help at the landmark venue. Whether they are visitors with an attending group, volunteers searching to make a difference, or individual patrons who have a question, Chuck Bowen is now the go-to manager for folks while they are at the Mill. He is no stranger to theatre, tourism, and outstanding customer service, which makes him the ideal
person to help Swift Creek Mill patrons.
A house manager is responsible for making sure everything goes smoothly at a theatre from the front of the stage out: everything from the number of playbills to ushers and volunteers being in the right places, from will-call ticketing to timely seating, and more. At the Mill, the position is also focused on groups, making sure all guests in the party have the service they deserve, from inquiry through the visit. According to Managing Director Steven Koehler, “Many of these tasks were previously handled by other staff members, or volunteers. Hiring Chuck allows the Mill to focus more on the entire customer experience. From the minute your car pulls into the parking lot, through the end of the show, Chuck is focused on the total patron experience.” Patron Services Manager Alissa Pagnotti, who assists patrons and manages the box office says, “It is imperative to have excellent service when patrons are onsite, and Chuck fills that role well.”
Chuck has been in the arts and hospitality industries for ten years. About his new position he comments, “I have always been interested in cinema and theater. I have a degree in media arts and design from James Madison University, and I write film reviews for a variety of local and national publications.” At the Mill, his primary goal is to listen to patrons, so they know their concerns and ideas have been heard and addressed efficiently and completely. He adds, “I’m happy to be working at a playhouse with such an intimate connection to its community, and the people here are wonderfully generous and empathetic. This place also allows me to access my various talents, particularly in the service industry and in social services.”
Being part of the Mill Family is not just about work. The personalities and backgrounds of the staff lend to its special, inviting aura. Chuck is no exception, having grown up in one of Virginia’s culture and tourism centers, the Town of Luray. He says, “I enjoy writing, seeing films, [going to] museums and concerts, and reading. I’m an arts nerd. Obsessive drinker of coffee. My father owned Luray’s movie theater for a time, and I lived in the apartment above the building briefly as a young child. My life literally began in a theater.”
It seems things have come full-circle for Chuck Bowen, and everyone at Swift Creek Mill Theatre, from the staff to the patrons, are happy to have him on board.
Swift Creek Mill is one of the oldest registered landmarks in the nation and is home to historic Swift Creek Mill Theatre, a not-for-profit that has been providing Central and Southside Virginia professional performing arts for over 50 years. “The Mill,” as patrons call it, has long been a beacon for cultural arts and a trusted resource in the area. Find out more at swiftcreekmill.com.
For more information about the Mainstage Season at Swift Creek Mill Theatre, contact email@example.com or call 804-748-5203.