Please introduce yourself
Hello! My name is Joycelyn Fish and I am the director of marketing and development for the Racine Theatre Guild.
Where are you from originally?
Oddly enough, I was actually born in Racine, but we moved when I was 2 years old. I grew up in Reedsburg, Wis., went to college at Viterbo University in La Crosse, worked in Baraboo then Milwaukee, and came to Racine two and a half years ago.
How did your life’s journey bring you to Racine?
After a couple of years of living and working in Milwaukee, I was looking for a new job in the arts. Theatre has always had a strong presence in my life, so when I happened upon a posting for this position at the Racine Theatre Guild I quickly applied. During my first visit to the Guild, I was completely blown away by the professionalism and welcoming atmosphere of everyone here and couldn’t wait to start. Since then, I’ve been discovering so many organizations and people that create the unique fabric of the entire Racine community.
What do you like best about Racine?
When I first moved here, I got a lot of “Why Racine?” questions. At the time, it was just for the job, but it has come to mean so much more than I could have imagined. I have stepped out of my comfort zone, exploring new places and meeting new people. Now when I talk with family, friends, and strangers about Racine, the response I get is “I never knew that about Racine!” As I have gotten to know the city more, it feels like I moved in on a wave of infinite potential.
Potential. That the driving force of Racine right now. Potential for growth, innovation, and change. There is a pulsing energy that community members, businesses, groups, and organizations are creating. I hear conversations and ideas everywhere from people excited about what they can bring to Racine or how they can make an impact in the city. This potential is bringing people together to challenge the norms and figure out what we can do better.
Please give examples of how your work has made a positive impact on the community.
The Racine Theatre Guild is entering its 82nd season. Since 1938, we have produced over 490 plays and musicals with dedicated volunteers, entertaining hundreds of thousands of audience members from all walks of life. We are a key piece to Racine’s tourism with nearly 30 percentage of our patrons traveling from outside of Racine county to attend performances. We have also been proud to offer outreach performances and workshops to countless students from throughout the area. The volunteers who perform on stage and work behind-the-scenes give so much of themselves to the art of each production which truly makes me love my job. We are creating a community within the walls of our theatre that has an incredibly positive ripple effect throughout all of Racine.
I also strive to be an active citizen in Racine and recently joined the board of directors for Visioning A Greater Racine, plus co-created the mouth-watering Instagram, @RacineFoodies.
What’s the least understood aspect about what you do?
Many people have preconceived notions about theatre. Some people feel that theatre isn’t for them. The thing that made me fall in love with theatre is that even if you feel like a bit of a misfit in the world, it offers countless opportunities to belong. You get to work with people to create a story that connects with you or sit in the audience and watch a story come to life. Whatever the case, there is nothing like building a show, being on stage, or sitting in the audience and experiencing live theatre.
I also run into many people with questions about how to volunteer at the Guild. We are always looking for help on and off stage in a variety of areas: acting, costumes, set construction, ushering, light and sound techs, hair and make-up, props, stage management, and so much more. As we like to say, the only skill you need is a desire to learn!
Other people just don’t realize everything the Guild has to offer or haven’t attended a performance in years. We are not only creating eight mainstage plays and musicals each season, but also offering three revue concerts, four jazz concerts, four comedy shows, four Racine Children’s Theatre productions, plus numerous classes and trips. And we get to do it all in our beautiful 400 seat theatre. One of the best parts of my job is watching someone walk through our doors and seeing them experience the same amazement I felt my first time here.
What would you like to accomplish during the next 6 months? 12 months?
A lot of my work over the last couple of years has been spreading the word about the Racine Theatre Guild throughout the community. We are looking to continue creating partnerships with businesses and organizations around Racine, plus attending and supporting great community events.
We are also well underway with production planning for our 82nd season. With everything from favorites like “Grease,” “The Mousetrap,” and “The Wizard of Oz,” to classics like “Lost in Yonkers” and “On Golden Pond,” plus new hits like “A Fox on the Fairway,” “Akeelah and the Bee,” and “Mamma Mia!” there is a lot of buzz about what’s to come!
What’s the best way to contact you?
Only an email or phone call away: firstname.lastname@example.org or (262) 633-4218. Or if you run into me out and about, feel free to stop and chat. I’ll probably have a new brochure in my purse just for you!