CPA STAFF [AT] HOME: STAFF FEATURES


Mark Steffen, Events Manager

Photo by Carolina Performing Arts on May 22, 2020. Image may contain: 1 person, beard and eyeglasses, text that says 'CPA at] home'

We are thrilled to introduce you to Mark Steffen, events manager, tea lover, extraordinary meeting leader, and all-around office MVP. Mark works with other UNC departments and student groups who present their work at CPA’s venues, and was one of CPA’s very first staff members.

💼. How long have you worked at CPA? 💼
A long time! I started in November 2005, when CPA was only a few months old. It was supposed to be a temp job, but things turned out differently. I like to tell people my very first assignment at CPA was to assemble a particleboard bookshelf for our administrative office, which was in a retail space on Franklin Street near where CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio is now. It’s amazing to see how far CPA has come over the years.

💙. What’s your favorite part of your job? 💙
I really enjoy working on multiple, diverse events all at once. You never know who will come knocking on CPA’s door wanting to have an event in one of our spaces. We work a lot with student organizations that put on performances in our spaces, which is really rewarding. They always try their best to put on the best show possible, which sometimes leads to some interesting requests. Like when a fraternity performing in the Step Show asks if they can fly a person in from the grid (No) or when one of the student theater groups asks if they can use fake blood for their performance of Sweeney Todd (Maybe, but we have to test to make sure the fake blood won’t stain the curtains first).

From time to time we’ll also have groups bring big name speakers to our venues. Neil deGrasse Tyson (a personal favorite) once spoke at Memorial Hall and Jimmy Fallon filmed an episode of Late Night on stage at Memorial Hall with President Obama and Dave Matthews as guests. That’s a hard one to beat.

☕. Coffee or tea? ☕
Coffee first thing in the morning to wake me up, then tea throughout the rest of the day. Any CPA staff member should be able to vouch for the tea thing [editorial note: we set our clocks by Mark’s teatime].

🌯. Where’s your go-to place for takeout? 🌯
I haven’t done a lot of takeout recently, but I’ve definitely been missing Cosmic Cantina. It’s right next to our office at the Porthole Building. When I’m not working from home, it takes all my strength not to eat lunch there every day.

🛶. It’s a Saturday afternoon. Where would we find you? 🛶
Hopefully somewhere outdoors, on a walk or in a boat. I have a few favorite places—University Lake, the Occoneechee Speedway Trail, and Saxapahaw along the Haw River.

☀️ What’s something that’s been giving you joy through these tougher times? ☀️
There are a lot of things I’m missing right now. Many things I either didn’t use to think about or took for granted. But lately I’ve been using those feelings as excuses to be more mindful and thankful for the things I used to enjoy and will, one day, enjoy again. Trading good mornings with my bus driver (extra special when it’s the CPA bus I’m riding), stores with shelves stocked full of toilet paper, and performances on stages instead of screens and with real audiences too. Those things will come back in time. Hopefully once they do, we will all cherish them a bit more. Thinking that way actually gives me a great deal of joy.

💡 What’s the most memorable performance you’ve ever seen?💡
In 2011 CPA presented Black Watch by National Theatre of Scotland. It was a play about a regiment of British soldiers fighting in the Iraq War meant for a black box theater space. This was before CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio existed, so we built the set on stage in Memorial Hall and sat the audience on stage too. It was such an immersive, moving experience. The scale of the performance seemed incredibly huge, with the sounds of explosions making you feel as if you were really on the battlefield. At the same time there were moments that were truly intimate, when you were only ten feet away from an actor portraying a soldier in a way that was based on interviews of real soldiers. It was incredible.

Ashli York, Sales & Ticketing System Specialist

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Our latest #CPAathome staff intro is Ashli York, Ticket Services maven (yes, we’re petitioning to make that her official title): . 💼What do you do in your day-to-day at CPA?💼 I work with the Marketing and Communications department to help with sales, customer service and setting up each season in our ticketing system. I also manage the box office, which employs 15 amazing students! . ❤️What's your favorite part of your job?❤️ Our students. They keep the day interesting, and I love being in the Box Office with them when I get the chance. . ☕Where's your go-to place for a caffeine kick?☕ I make my own coffee a lot. Right now I'm using Bean Traders pecan roast. . 🍔Best place for takeout on Franklin St.?🍔 Buns. I'm a sucker for Buns. . ☀️It's a Saturday afternoon. Where would we find you?☀️ With my dog, Bagel. . 🐶Can we tell people about his extremely popular Instagram?🐶 Haha, yes! Follow him at @bagels_bunch . 💡What's the most memorable performance you've ever seen?💡 Deaf West's revival of Spring Awakening at Brook Atkinson Theatre in NYC. We won the lottery and got first row seats. The actors who were deaf had shadow actors who sung and spoke while they signed. At one point the woman who played Wendla was blindfolded so she couldn't see or hear. It was a moment of total trust between her and the other actors, and it was amazing.

A post shared by Carolina Performing Arts (@carolinaperformingarts) on

Our latest #CPAathome staff intro is Ashli York, Ticket Services maven (yes, we’re petitioning to make that her official title).

💼. What do you do in your day-to-day at CPA? 💼
I work with the Marketing and Communications department to help with sales, customer service and setting up each season in our ticketing system. I also manage the box office, which employs 15 amazing students!

❤️ What’s your favorite part of your job? ❤️
Our students. They keep the day interesting, and I love being in the Box Office with them when I get the chance.

☕ Where’s your go-to place for a caffeine kick? ☕
I make my own coffee a lot. Right now I’m using Bean Traders pecan roast.

🍔 Best place for takeout on Franklin St.? 🍔
Buns. I’m a sucker for Buns.

☀️ It’s a Saturday afternoon. Where would we find you? ☀️
With my dog, Bagel.

🐶 Can we tell people about his extremely popular Instagram? 🐶
Haha, yes! Follow him at @bagels_bunch

💡 What’s the most memorable performance you’ve ever seen? 💡
Deaf West’s revival of Spring Awakening at Brook Atkinson Theatre in NYC. We won the lottery and got first row seats. The actors who were deaf had shadow actors who sung and spoke while they signed. At one point the woman who played Wendla was blindfolded so she couldn’t see or hear. It was a moment of total trust between her and the other actors, and it was amazing.

Laura Pinto-Coelho, Development Manager

Laura Pinto-Coelho, Development Manager, gives us some great recs for when we’re all out and about in the world again.

💼What’s your role at CPA?💼
I support CPA’s development officers with everything from tracking the budget and sending acknowledgment letters after donations to event planning and stewardship.

❤️What’s your favorite part of your job?❤️
The events. I love executing event planning and socializing with our donors.

🍔Where’s your go-to place for food on Franklin St?🍔
Imbibe for a blackened catfish po boy and curly fries.

☕How about coffee?☕
Dunkin’ for a hazelnut iced coffee.

☀️It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon. Where would we find you?☀️
Playing board games with friends at either Vecino in Carrboro or Bull City Ciderworks in Durham.

💡What’s the most memorable performance you’ve ever seen?💡
When I saw the Tallest Man on Earth in Durham. I listened to him a lot in college, so it was super nostalgic for me.

Dani Callahan, Business Operations Assistant

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We've got another star staffer to introduce to you today!⭐ This time we caught up with the radiant Dani Callahan, Business Operations Assistant. 💼What do you do in your day-to-day at CPA?💼 I handle all the daily finances and expenses, anything from artist payments to office supplies. ❤️What's your favorite part of your job?❤️ I love that I get to touch a little bit of everything at CPA. Whether its an artist's contract or new equipment, almost everything CPA does has to pass through the business office. ☕Where's your go-to place for a caffeine kick?☕ When I was a student it was ExpressOasis, but now it's The Meantime for a hot caramel latte. ☀️It's a sunny Saturday afternoon. Where would we find you?☀️ In my apartment with the blinds open to let the sun in as I clean. I love cleaning—I like to think if you put love into your laundry, it'll love you back. 🎉Which performance are you most excited for this season?🎉 London Symphony Orchestra—when they're here you better believe I'll be in that auditorium. A close second is "The Future is Female" by Sarah Cahill because the concept is so cool. 💡What's the most memorable performance you've ever seen?💡 In high school a lot of my friends were in the musical "Footloose." I wasn't because I had stage fright, but I went to see it. It was TERRIBLE, haha, but I loved it because it was all my best friends.

A post shared by Carolina Performing Arts (@carolinaperformingarts) on

24 September, 2019

We’ve got another star staffer to introduce to you this lovely Tuesday!⭐This time we caught up with the radiant Dani Callahan, Business Operations Assistant.

💼What do you do in your day-to-day at CPA?💼
I handle all the daily finances and expenses, anything from artist payments to office supplies.

❤️What’s your favorite part of your job?❤️
I love that I get to touch a little bit of everything at CPA. Whether it’s an artist’s contract or new equipment, almost everything CPA does has to pass through the business office.

☕Where’s your go-to place for a caffeine kick?☕
When I was a student it was ExpressOasis, but now it’s The Meantime for a hot caramel latte.

☀️It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon. Where would we find you?☀️
In my apartment with the blinds open to let the sun in as I clean. I love cleaning—I like to think if you put love into your laundry, it’ll love you back.

🎉Which performance are you most excited for this season?🎉
London Symphony Orchestra—when they’re here you better believe I’ll be in that auditorium. A close second is “The Future is Female” by Sarah Cahill because the concept is so cool.

💡What’s the most memorable performance you’ve ever seen?💡
In high school, a lot of my friends were in the musical “Footloose.” I wasn’t because I had stage fright, but I went to see it. It was TERRIBLE, haha, but I loved it because it was all my best friends on stage.

Idalis Payne, Patron Services Coordinator

Celebrating today with another staff intro! Today we caught up with Patron Services Coordinator (and CPA Instagram…

Posted by Carolina Performing Arts on Wednesday, October 16, 2019

16 October, 2019

Celebrating today with another staff intro! Today we caught up with Patron Services Coordinator (and CPA Instagram takeover celebrity) Idalis Payne.

💼What’s your role at CPA?💼
Essentially, I handle the day-to-day tasks in the box office and the prep work for audience services. I’m also often on the ground for events, kind of as a jack of all trades for ticket and audience services.

❤️What’s your favorite part of your job?❤️
The students. When I was an undergraduate at UNC I worked as a student, too. Patrons might not realize just how much happens at CPA because of the work of our student staff.

🍔Where’s your go-to place for food on Franklin St?🍔
McDonald’s for a 10 piece chicken nugget with fries and a coke.

☀️It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon. Where would we find you?☀️
Chilling on my bed watching YouTube or playing with my cats.

🎉Which performance are you most excited for this season?🎉
The Soul Rebels with special guest Big Freedia! I can’t wait for the energy at that performance.

💡What’s the most memorable performance you’ve ever seen?💡
Can I have two favorites? Boots Riley and The Coup at CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio because of the amazing atmosphere, and Wild Up: We the People because it was so community oriented. I actually got to be in the community chorus in that show, which was so cool.

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