“There are a lot of differences between my culture and American culture, so I decided to start theatre to use it as a way to meet new people and make more friends,” shared crew member Giacomo Gori. With Footloose opening on Friday, Giacomo is in tech week for his third GREAT show in a row. After arriving from Italy for an exchange program with Tech High School, he thought theatre would be a good place to make connections and he’s been involved ever since!

The inclusion and kindness of actors, crew members, and the creative teams behind several GREAT productions have dramatically changed Giacomo Gori’s experience, and he feels thankful to them and to the opportunity to do theatre while he’s in the States.

So, the first months here in the US were so difficult. It’s a different culture. So like going to school, people are completely different from you and you feel judged. You feel that everywhere, but not in theatre spaces. This organization makes me happy, and I hope to be involved with the next play too. The last play for your season and the last play for me in the US.

“When Lightning Thief ended, I thought, now I need something else. I could not do another play as an actor, because that would not work with my schedule. I said, let’s do crew. And it was a really good choice.”

Giacomo was wardrobe crew for Silent Sky, where his duties ranged widely and he needed to be ready for anything, from bringing props on stage to helping actors behind the scenes. He loved the experience, befriending the cast and production team, and knew he wanted to join the crew again at the next opportunity.

I am a local actor back in Italy, but it’s more difficult to do theatre there. There aren’t as many community theatres. Theatre in Italy is a very professional thing. In Italy most of what I have done is with my school. So to have something like this [GREAT] is beautiful.”

The biggest theatre-related difficulty Giacomo anticipated here in the US was a language barrier. Instead of a barrier, he found a group willing to help bridge gaps in knowledge and understanding. This was the case with the cast and team of The Lightning Thief, and then again for Silent Sky.

I was worried for nothing because other people helped me a lot. Theatre helped a lot. Particularly with the first play, I was in the group of five actors called the Meraki. The other four were really friendly, and they explained things for me, and I really appreciated it. And the Director and the Stage Manager too, they were so so good. And the last Stage Manager for Silent Sky even sent me emails in Italian.”

Giacomo has another year of school left when he gets back to Italy, and he’s not sure what’s next for him after that– the sky is the limit! One thing he is sure of: “I really hope the other Meraki visit me in Italy!”

Come see Giacomo’s hard work in Footloose, on stage at the Paramount Center for the Arts this weekend thru April 21st!