Every month we'll highlight a reader in the Great Lakes Bay region and learn more about them, their work, and their reading life. We'll also discuss books and share a conversation about their journey.
Read on to learn more about book- and theatre-lover Christopher Castanho, Marketing & Advertising Manager, Midland Center for the Arts.
Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Connecticut. I grew up in a suburb near Hartford with a large portion of my family living on the same block (which I understand is not typical, but I thought it was at the time!).
How did you end up in Midland?
My husband got a job at Midland Center for the Arts as their Manager of Produced Theatre and Theatre Education – which means he produces all of the community and youth theatre for the organization. We moved to Midland from Massachusetts at the end of 2021. For the first year of living in the GLB region; I was also traveling back & forth to The Berkshires in Massachusetts for work – I was the Associate Director of Marketing for Barrington Stage Company.
Where did your interest in theatre come from?
There are many things I think contributed to my love of Theatre. Growing up I was OB.SESSED with The Wizard of Oz. I could still probably give you a frame by frame description of the film. So therefore I was performing the movie LIVE for my family constantly (maybe a little against their will.) I caught “the Theatre-bug” at our local youth theatre performing in musicals like Grease, The Wizard of Oz, Fiddler on the Roof, etc. I went to a performing arts high school in Hartford and studied musical theatre in their pre-professional intensive program. It which was amazing; I had a blast. I then went on to major in Musical Theatre at Shenandoah Conservatory and got my Bachelor of Fine Arts in performing. The arts have always been a part of my life in some way and sitting in a dark theatre during rehearsal is definitely my happy place.
What's your role at Midland Center for the Arts? What's the best part of what you do?
I’m the Marketing & Advertising Manager at Midland Center, so I coordinate the promotion for all of our events including Youth & Community Theatre, Broadway Tours, Exhibits, Classes, and the Midland Symphony Orchestra performances. I purchase
advertising on TV & radio,
collaborate with other organizations
like The Grace A. Dow Memorial
Library, create social media
campaigns, and more. It’s lots of fun!
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
will be playing at the center in
October. Tell readers how and
why you're involved with the show and what the relaxed option is.
In 2017, I was asked to adapt The Legend of Sleepy Hollow into a TYA (Theatre For Young Audiences) play by a professional theatre company in Virginia. This new script was meant to be performed for and by young people. It was thrilling to be paid to write while also being given such spooky source material. When I sat down to write my adaptation, I decided to root this version of the play in the imaginative spirit that we all have as children, looking at this famous story through a creative and whimsical lens. I just submitted an updated final draft of the play to the producer (my husband!) and will be involved in the rehearsal process, working with the young actors; making tweaks to the script to continually improve the play.
The production also has a RELAXED performance; which features the same content in the show but makes some tweaks to allow people to watch the show in a ‘shush free zone’. This is great for families with young children and individuals with sensory sensitivities, disabilities, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Be sure to catch The Legend of Sleepy Hollow running OCT 27-29 at Midland Center for the Arts. Tickets can be purchased at midlandcenter.org/SleepyHollow or by calling 989-631-8250! (He’s always marketing!)
What is something that people don't know about the Center that you'd like to share?
The Center for the Arts is in such a transformative era right now. We are in the midst of a capital campaign raising 47 million dollars to renovate our facility. It’s an exciting time to be a part of an organization that is so beloved & respected in the community and watch it soar to new heights.
What's your favorite thing to do in the Great Lakes Bay area?
I love being able to connect with our community at so many of the wonderful organizations in the Great Lakes Bay region. From fantastic improv classes at Creative360 to classes on wellness and spirituality at Ways To Wellness – I feel as if I’ve found my people here.
If you could be any character in a story, what book and character would you want to be and why?
I would LOVE to be a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry (even though it’s almost closed every year due to some anomaly!) I definitely found so much comfort in the Harry Potter series growing up. I do not agree with statements made by Harry Potter’s author about Transgender issues (Trans Women are Women!) but love the original stories she created.
What book did you learn the most from? Why?
eyes to what other people my age were struggling with. The knowledge that other kids my age also had anxiety and fears was actually super comforting. It was also the perfect coming of age story during my real-time coming of age. The film was also so wonderful and is so nostalgic for me.
What's your go-to book recommendation for others?
I absolutely love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I listened to the audiobook for the first time during a long solo road trip and just fell in love with the language, gothic mystery and strength of the female protagonist.