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From the Director’s Chair: Beth Sutter & Josh Hedding-Hess

Photo: Beth Sutter & Josh Hedding-Hess on the set of Peter and the Starcatcher
(Photo: Beth Sutter & Josh Hedding-Hess on the set of KVTA’s Peter and the Starcatcher)

This edition of the Director’s Chair takes a few minutes to talk with Beth Sutter and Josh Hedding-Hess, who are co-directing KVTA’s production of Peter and the Starcatcher at the KVTA Studios’ Black Box Theatre.

Beth and Josh, you’ve both been around KVTA for a number of years, but for those who do not already know you, please tell us a little about yourselves.

Beth: I am from Bonfield. My family includes my parents, my brother/sister-in-law and two amazing nieces. I work as a Support Tech at Applied Systems in University Park. My hobbies are KVTA, puzzles, and spending time with family and friends.

Josh: And I’m from Kankakee where I live with my husband, Matt, and our foster son. I work as an optician at Dunlap Vision.

What first drew you to directing?

Beth: I wanted a new challenge and to step out of my comfort zone.

Josh: I remember as a kid seeing Cinderella on stage and thinking I’d love to bring magic to life for other people. I knew I had a vision for certain shows & love introducing people to different plays.

As a director, what do you see as the biggest challenge to putting on any production?

Beth: The time commitment that it takes.

Josh: That, and managing all of the aspects of a production to all be working in the same direction.

What advice would you give to someone considering getting into directing?

Beth: Do your research and know the show as best as you can.

Josh: Yes, know your play backwards & forward, have a clear picture in your head of what you want. That will help you make all of your decisions by having a clear vision. Please consider directing, there are plenty of people to help you if you feel intimidated. Including me!

What do you think makes for a great audition? or What qualities do you seek in the actors you work with?

Beth: Just be yourself and be as prepared as possible.

Josh: Put it all out there, show the director what you as this character looks like. In any audition you may be what they are looking for or maybe not. But if you show them what you bring to the table they might see the character differently but either way you will be remembered and that is what you want.

If you had a dream ensemble and no financial constraints what show would you want to produce and why?

Beth: Come From Away. It is an amazing true story and has some very touching stories and the music is amazing!

Josh: At this moment probably Spring Awakening.

Tell us a little about your current production of Peter and the Starcatcher.

Beth: Peter and the Starcatcher is a foreshadowing of Peter Pan. This production can be done many ways. You can use your imagination and let it run wild.

Josh: I’d add, this is a different play than most. We have a little bit of everything sprinkled in, magic, comedy, singing, drama, and you WILL NOT forget the mermaids I promise you. But it’s a beautiful story that everyone will enjoy. A familiar story with a fun twist.

What made you want to direct Peter and the Starcatcher?

Beth: To learn something new.

Josh: I have a love for all things Peter Pan. Especially now we all need a little escapism and this production will make you forget the real world at least for a couple hours.

Has this show presented any particular challenges?

Beth: We are on a smaller stage, so we have to get creative on certain blocking and use of space.

Josh: I agree, blocking/telling everyone where to stand during the entire play is a challenge. We have 16 people in a small space, and this play never stops moving. So constantly keeping track of everyone, plus the many, many props, it’s a mental work out for sure.

Do you have a favorite line, character, or moment from Peter and the Starcatcher?

Beth: The mermaid scene is one of my favorites, but my favorite line is, "For to have faith, is to have wings.”

Josh: There are so many good moments in this play, but I love the moment where Peter is in the grotto and has finally discovered who he is. It’s probably the simplest scene but it’s very good.

Final words… Is there anything else you want the public to know about this production of Peter and the Starcatcher?

Beth: This is a great show and while there are some really funny scenes, there is also some sentimental parts as well. It tugs at the heartstrings a bit.

Josh: We promise to make you laugh and have a great time. This fast moving play will warm your heart and have you remember simpler times while taking you on a fun adventure!

Thank you to both Beth Sutter and Josh Hedding-Hess for taking time out of their busy production schedules to talk with us! Get your tickets now and for KVTA’s production of Peter and the Starcatcher. Performances are at the KVTA Studios in the Black Box Theatre on Saturday, February 5 at 7:00 p.m., Sunday, February 6 at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, February 12 at 7:00 p.m., and Sunday, February 13 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available online at or by calling the box office at 815-935-8510.

KVTA’s production of Peter and the Starcatcher is sponsored by The Daily Journal, Riverside Healthcare, Taylor Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM, Taylor Ford of Manteno, Bourbonnais Township Park District, and Embrace Consignment.

This program is partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and the National Endowment for the Arts.


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