Hammer Theatre: Ramping Up for a New Year

Hammer Theatre: Ramping Up for a Happy (and Exciting!) New Year 

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is already upon us, but the year looks especially exciting for the Hammer Theatre staff, who have added some new faces to the mix. Maria Bones and Andrew Sutton have jumped on board as full-time staff, and university employees Nina Nolan and Jim LeFever continue to offer their expertise and support. 

Says Executive Managing Director Chris Burrill, “The Hammer Theatre Center has added several important staff. Lisa Laymon; Director of Client Services, is formalizing the activity of client services. Maria Bones, Director of Patron Services, provides service to the theatre patrons attending productions, as well as box office and ticketing services. Our new Technical Production Manager, Anthony Sutton, provides technical and design service in the areas of stage lighting and sound. Our staff works together with our Director of Technology and Facilities, Jim LeFever, to create a venue of limitless opportunities, while providing excellent service.” In addition, Nina Nolan has come to help with accounting—another crucial piece for keeping the Hammer successful.  

Maria Bones comes to us from St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in San José, where she directed the children’s ministry, oversaw volunteers, and managed big church events. As director of patron services, she’s responsible for meeting with clients of upcoming shows, helping to set up the online ticketing sales structure, managing the box office staff, recruiting and managing volunteer ushers, and overseeing emergency preparedness and safety for Hammer patrons. “Every day brings a new set of challenges,” she says, “depending on what kind of event or performance group is in the house. I recruit, organize, motivate, and manage a corps of volunteers who serve as ushers for the various performances and events.  We have people of all ages and experiences, so I get to meet, and work with, a wide range of personalities.” 

“My goal is to provide a fantastic experience for every person who walks through our doors,” she adds, “whether they are attending a theatre, film, music, or dance performance, or just coming for a reception on our Rooftop Terrace.  Our box office is open weekday afternoons, noon to 5 pm,” she continues. “It’s great to watch the SJSU community walk…or skateboard…or bike by on their way to classes.” 

While Maria works with the public, Anthony Sutton works backstage as Technical Production Manager. “My number one job,” he says, “is to make sure that artistic visions come to life with all of the tools that we have at our hands.” Anthony has been doing technical theater since the 5th grade, and was brought on staff to both manage the technical aspects of the theater and to keep everything updated. “The first time I walked through the Hammer, I knew that this theatre was in need of help. None of the lighting, sound, or A/V systems had been upgraded since 1997, when the building opened. I saw this as an amazing opportunity to show the community what this great space could be with the right support.”   

Major upgrades have been made to the Hammer’s lighting, sound, and A/V systems in a few short months, for which Sutton expresses gratitude. “This is really where my ‘light shines.’ I get such joy out of making things better than they were and implementing and learning new technology. This is such a cool thing for the students as well. Our student technicians get to work on top-of-the-line equipment, allowing them and the theatre community to make art to its fullest extent. ”

Hammer Theatre Director Chris Burrill says, “In 2017, we will hit our stride in providing for cornerstone uses from San José State University departments of theatre and music and dance, while developing working relationships with area arts organizations and local businesses and corporations. In addition, we expect to announce an initiative to present carefully curated presented activities from across the nation and abroad.” 

Upcoming events at the Hammer Theatre include Cinequest, Elijah, An Hour with Bryan Stevenson, The Catalyst Quartet, a continuation of National Theater Live—and so many more. Check out the Hammer Theatre website for a complete list of events and dates!