3 minutes with Ed Robins, Technical Director, Summer Stage

Ed Robins

Ed Robins has been a part of Summer Stage – and Summer Stage has been a part of him – for 30 years. “I know Summer Stage from many different perspectives.”

Ed would wager a bet that nobody has done as many different jobs at Summer Stage. There are others who have been involved longer, but most have stayed in the same role throughout their years at Summer Stage. Ed started as a performer, progressed to stage management, got into directing as assistant director, moved onto direct four Mainstage productions, became tech director, and after spending some time in Seattle, came back as a carpenter. Ed has been back for several years, overseeing all the backstage building of sets as Technical Director.

What motivates you?

I like having a particular project to work on, something that I need to accomplish. Even if it’s a personal workout that I want to do.  I’m an endurance athlete, a two-time Iron Man. I work out all the time – specifically in the early evening, usually when I get home from work.

What makes you happy?

I really love movies. I’m always happy when I have a chance to go to the movies, which is often; I see more than a movie a week.  I belong to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute and the Ambler Theater. I tend to enjoy art house style movies.

Pet peeves?

I get very frustrated and angry with lack of common courtesy. Whether it’s someone in a parking lot who’s not paying attention or someone on the road who will cut you off vs. let you pull in. We all have to coexist. I find it very annoying, the general selfishness and the lack of common courtesy that we all encounter on a regular basis.

What’s your favorite playlist on your iPod?

I don’t have an iPod – but I listen exclusively to showtunes. That’s all I listen to. I could listen to Stephen Sondheim songs forever.

List one movie on your top five list.

Because I go to the movies so often, I think about movies a lot.  I have a top five movie list of all time in my head. But the movie that I give as my favorite movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Others on the list are “On the Waterfront,” “A Man for all Seasons,”  “Born Yesterday,” and “Rockie.” People would say that’s kind of a bizarre list. But if you take a closer look at the themes, they all deal with an individual who is fighting for their ideals or their ethics. “On the Waterfront:” he’s fighting the mob. “Rockie:” he wants to find himself. “Born Yesterday” is about a dumb girl who wants to better herself. “A Man for all Seasons” focuses on Sir Thomas Moore who is fighting the Catholic Church. So the common thread that runs through all of these movies – fighting for ideals – I find thrilling and exciting. You always hope that when you’re in that moment of life that you’ll have the moral courage to persevere. Those themes always appeal to me.

What is your car radio tuned to?

I listen to either sports talk or NPR. I like NPR because rather than seven second sound bites or just headlines, you get a much more in-depth analysis of whatever they are covering. They’ll feature a five minute story where both sides argue it out, rather than the short snippets that are offered on local and national TV news stations.

As we wind down this season of Summer Stage, do you think of it as an ending or a beginning?

I don’t ever think of it as an end. I just think of it as a chapter. It’s neither an ending or a beginning because I plan on being back next year. Because I’ve had so many different roles at Summer Stage and it’s been such a huge chunk of my life, it’s always a part of me. And even when I left and went to Seattle, I came back, I jumped right into it. So I don’t ever think of it as a beginning or ending.  

I remember when I first got involved in Summer Stage we weren’t ever certain of Harry’s schedule. This was before he got the full-time job as Executive Director of the Performing Arts Center, when he was still a teacher. Back then, we were never sure if he’d come back the next year. Then you always looked at it as possibly ending. But now, I’m usually glad when it comes to an end at the summer because I’m usually tired (laughs)!

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1 thought on “3 minutes with Ed Robins, Technical Director, Summer Stage

  1. Bonnie Freundlich says:

    I came to the Dinosaur Musical this past summer. It was fantastic. My husband is a professional dance teacher. He teaches in the Theater Dept of Phila Community College and, in Russia (where he was born), he ran a professional dance academy and a performing group.
    He is now looking to teach a Boys Class, in addition to his responsibilities at Community. Is there any kind of winter program that you have?
    Thank you,
    Bonnie Freundlich

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