Catching up with Karra, OITP Coordinator

Opera in the Park volunteers

Opera in the Park is a logistical beast, and the person who ties all of the loose ends together to make it happen is the event coordinator. For the past three years that has been Karra Liddicoat, a UW Madison graduate in Theater and Drama who first started assistant stage managing for Madison Opera back in 1998. I caught up with Karra this morning to get her perspective on organizing Opera in the Park.

MOB: What are your top three priorities at this point in the planning stage for Opera in the Park?
Karra: The top three priorities at this point are:
1. Adding the final few volunteers to my volunteer team.
2. Confirming the arrival times for all the “pieces” of this event. I begin contacting the vendors (stage, power, tents, porta-potties, etc.) in January, so there have been a few months between when I set up the contract and now. It’s good for everyone to remember what we talked about three to six months ago!
3. Preparing myself to delegate on both Friday and Saturday [of the event]. It is my job to know what needs to be done and then be willing and ready to hand out tasks to the great staff and volunteers we have.

MOB: What will be your top three priorities the day of the concert?
Karra: 1. Volunteers will be my number one priority on show day. I really try to greet and thank everyone I can because I appreciate the work they do and it helps me get to know them year after year. I also want to make sure that all the planning I did to organize the volunteers is working well.
2. Fielding questions and addressing them as they come in is my second priority. We all do a plethora of planning for the event, but there will always be items that may need to be addressed later and it’s my job to make sure we get them answered and taken care of.
3. Making notes on what went well and what needs to be changed or planned differently next year. For me, it is best to make notes while they are still fresh in my mind.

MOB: What’s the hardest part about managing a crowd of over 13,000?
Karra: The first year I worked on this event, the audience number was a bit intimidating. But we honestly bring in the most wonderful patrons, and once I experienced that my first year, I haven’t worried about “managing” them since.

MOB: Do you have a favorite OITP memory?
Karra: As a result of working on this event on my own for many months, my favorite part of OITP is watching it all come together. It is a long planning process but seeing the sunset as the audience dines on their picnics while listening to beautiful music is truly the ultimate reward.

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