Behind The Scenes: Elana Boulos, Theatre Producer

Behind the Scenes: A series of articles featuring theatre makers from the other side of the stage 

November 15, 2017

Elana Boulos '20 recently moved to New York City from Chicago where she worked as a Producer, Casting Director, and Stage Director. During her 8 years in Chicago, Elana worked as the Associate Producer and Director of Casting at Jackalope Theatre Company, Casting Apprentice at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and Casting Associate at Two Birds Casting. She received her BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in Theater Management and Production with a directing concentration. Elana is passionate about building communities by generating conversations with audiences through plays that discuss inclusivity, social awareness, and empathy. 

You've worked as a Director, Casting Director, and Producer. Why did you choose Management & Producing for your MFA? 

I thrive most when I consider a theater company my theatrical home and have a sense of ownership within the institution. I want to be involved in conversations that range from season selection, to how our budget is spent, to the actors and creative team we choose for our productions, to the audience engagement. I decided post the 2016 election that it was time for me to go to school in order to develop further knowledge of the business and laws that surround producing in America. I want to guarantee that art and theater always have opportunities to reach wider audiences, and felt that Columbia's Theatre Management and Producing program had the most diverse curriculum and opportunities for me to learn how to do that. 

Who are your theatrical heroes?

George C. Wolfe for demanding we acknowledge the segregation taking place in a theater audience and then his work at the Public to change this by bringing in work that represented the population of New York City as a whole; P. Carl for teaching me the word "millennial" during my apprenticeship at Steppenwolf in 2009 and helping me realize that being an effective theater administrator is just as important as an artist; and Victoria Bailey for being an incredibly innovative theater leader who has the perfect balance of inspiration and rationale with everything she says about our field and its future. 

If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

I want theatre makers to realize that the purpose of our art form is to be storytellers and reach people with important stories that reflect, support, inspire and challenge humanity. Our job is to serve the audience. Also, I can't wait for the day that the gender breakdown of our field is equal. We're on our way, ladies! 

Could you define the role of the theatre producer in one word?

Glue. Puts things together, keeps them together, makes things stronger.