5 QUESTIONS WITH CARLA GRIDLEY: RiverCenter's digital 'voice'

February 17, 2013 

What are your main responsibilities at RiverCenter for the Performing Arts?

My primary focus is on the execution of the digital marketing efforts of the organization. I also (work) with local educators with regards to our school-day matinees and possible educational outreach opportunities, and build and edit the Applause program booklets you pick up in the lobby before each show.

How has social media affected your job?

At this moment, if you are the owner of a smartphone, you are constantly connected -- the Internet, to each other, to the organizations you choose to "follow" (Twitter) or "like" (Facebook). It's my job to have an engaging and entertaining conversation with our patrons

via social media so that we break through the noise of everyone else attempting to do the same.

What are some etiquette tips for people attending a theater event for the first time?

Arrive early. People who arrive late disturb the performers on stage and audience members. It is best to arrive about 30 minutes early so that you have time to purchase concessions, find your seat and read the program before the show starts.

Turn off your cell phone. Putting your cell phone on vibrate isn't good enough -- the people next to you can hear that weird buzzing sound, too.

Don't talk during the show. A quick whisper to your neighbor or an audible reaction to something interesting that happens on stage is fine. But save conversation for intermission or after the show.

Please refrain from recording or taking photographs. Most shows do not allow photography of any kind and flash photography inside the theatre is never allowed. It is a distraction to those around you and a danger to the performers.

What To Wear: I am often asked if there is a dress code at RiverCenter. The answer is no, there is no "official" dress code. But then how does one know what to wear to a particular event? My answer is that you should wear what you feel comfortable wearing.

If you feel like dressing to the nines, then by all means dress to the nines. But if wearing a pair of jeans means you'll enjoy the performance more, then wear a pair of jeans. Different types of events suggest different types of dress. Plan with that in mind, but know that "dressing up a bit" can turn an event into "an occasion." Plus, you never know who you'll run into. Brad Pitt by the bathroom? Hey, stranger things have happened.

What's your advice for local 20- and 30-somethings who want to make friends outside of the bar scene?

Get involved. There are plenty of organizations looking for volunteers and through volunteering you'll meet people from all walks of life. If you are an art lover, the Columbus Museum has a group called The Contemporaries that hosts art-related events or if you're more business-minded the Chamber has a group called YP (Young Professionals).

Aside from your job, what's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?

The Guava and Cheese pastries at Millie's Market on South Lumpkin Road.

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