Spotlight on EJ Arriola
As Inner Circle Theatre grows, students and supporters have been stepping into various roles to help create a thriving artistic community. EJ Arriola is now the¬†liaison¬†for classes and workshops and will continue to help with productions. ¬†We sat down with EJ to ask him about his involvement with the theatre, what you can expect from him, and what it means to be a part of this group of artists.
ICT: Tell me a little bit about your role at ICT now; you started out as a student and now you’re the educational liaison and helping manage certain parts of the company.
EJ: I’m essentially working to reorganize the infrastructure to make things more trackable and accessible to help what’s happening creatively and business-wise. Some of my new tasks and duties include projects around ways to get the word out about ICT and how to continue to build the company. To kind of be an ear, and like you said, a liaison for the existing members, so that I can help make the things that they want to see happen, happen.
ICT: What are some of the positive things about last year as ICT grew?
EJ: The core group of members are the most positive part for me. They’re the heartbeat of the studio and any newcomers and any future is not necessarily determined, but informed by what has been done. Even in terms of teaching and coaching, Jeffery changes as the years pass with the students. The development of those students is a huge positive. The next steps are creatively finding support and bring more awareness to the theatre and how we cultivate artists.¬† That’s already happened through the industry nights and through the production (R + J Equal Love). We see people called in from both. Things are happening, it’s a matter of reminding each other to lead ourselves.
ICT: What can Inner Circle Theatre members look forward to that is currently on your plate?
EJ: Well, liaison: any questions or needs that they have business-wise or otherwise, things that pertain to their career or education, I can definitely funnel that through. I can prioritize and pursue student items, because I’m physically in the office. You can still use the firstname.lastname@example.org email address and I’ll be helping respond to those emails. My main focus in the next few months is finding out more about each member. Getting to know more about them and understand what their vision is for their business makes it easier for the community to serve it’s members.¬† For example, what are people’s industry interests outside of acting? What are the philanthropic interests that we can add to our Outreach Program? I’m also focused on new class development and keeping Inner Circle active and of service to each other.
ICT: Does that limit the involvement of the other core members?
EJ: Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Everything I know, they know and vice versa.
ICT: Tell us about how you came into this position. A little bit about R + J Equal Love.
EJ: Sure! For R + J, I was given a role that didn’t have a lot of structure, which meant I showed up when and where I was needed. It was a great opportunity to problem solve and opened up my knowledge and experience into a creative realm from my experience with building. R & J was 30 days; to put up a full production in 30 days, problem solving became very immediate when all the elements really started coming together. And I think my ethic, integrity, and stamina came through and I hope that that’s why Jeffery asked me if I’d be open to running ICT with him. And I said, “yes, let’s do this.” I believe in ICT as a home for artists and if one person benefits, it benefits every person in the group. I’m hoping to really, honestly open myself up and be a conduit (I’m humbled by that entire idea) for success for each person here and serve as a reminder to each person that they’re here for a reason and that they’re here creatively because of their investments. And that their investments in their craft help other people. Each person in this group is a leader: if you’re working towards leading roles then that means you’re a leader and we forget that. If we show up more as leaders, because that’s the quality of the people of this group already, we can help others in our company.
ICT: Working with Jeffery as a producer, what did you learn from him?
EJ: The first thing that sticks out is the most obvious: the guy’s passion. He’s passionate about his work and through his work he’s passionate about loving other people. There were points in time where a challenge arose…I think his professionalism would be secondary. I can’t even say he was a support to me, he was my leader, he is my leader. I constantly recognize him as that for me, because I have a deep respect for his point of view, his experience, his wisdom, you know? When he sits down in a meeting…I’ve worked with lots of business people in the past, and he’s (Jeffery is) butter. He’s butter. He is seriously knowledgeable and knows exactly what he needs to do it. The perseverance as a producer…we went to Equity to make sure that everything was going to go and that it was going to go well for his team and his cast.
ICT: What do you feel your biggest contribution to the R & J production?
EJ: I think it was to be there for everyone, that was my biggest contribution. And that makes me very happy. Thank you for that. That was a good question. It (the experience) gave me so much. It was very fulfilling, very fulfilling
ICT: What inspires you?
EJ: I think this question rings true with my function at ICT, because I want to be there for individuals. I would like to create my own art by collaborating with the artists in Inner Circle Theatre, you know, that’s the goal: produce our own content and watch it take wing and fly. That’s high art for me: to find our voice: individually and as a whole.
ICT: Why acting?
EJ: I think it can change people’s minds. I think there are a lot of people who have lost faith in humanity. I think we don’t teach kids to look at each other with their souls and I think we suffer because of that and if I could change people’s minds, then that’s great.