Hunter Styles is The Digital Media Manager at The Studio Theater and Artistic Director at Artist’s Bloc. His play Girl Meets Freud was a hit at The Capital Fringe Festival. Hunter was also the Assistant Director for Studio’s hit production of POP! and Georgetown University’s recent production of Dead Man Walking. Hunter is one versatile and talented man. He is also a writer/reviewer for DC Theatre Scene.
You are the Digital Media Manager for The Studio Theatre. Tell us about your job responsibilities.
I’’m taking a close look this year at how Studio can use TV, the web, and social media like Facebook and Twitter to pull in theatregoers (and their friends!) with a fun range of stories, contests, backstage photos, and more. We want to do more than just broadcast information. We’re starting real conversations, and getting people excited about all the events coming up this season. A big part of that push lies in video – I’m producing several video trailers and features on our shows this year, and doing some of the shooting and editing myself.
You were the Assistant Director on POP! at Studio’s 2ndStage, What were some of the challenges in bringing such a well known person like Andy Warhol to the stage?
POP! is a real fever dream of a musical, so the real challenge was not to get too literal. I think audiences responded as positively as they did because we didn’t stick too closely to the historical nitty-gritty of Warhol. Instead, we tried to capture his spirit. We built a rich, groovy environment, filled it with eclectic performers, and relied on their unique talents and raw personalities. So, we got to have it both ways. The show felt true to the freewheeling world of 1960s art-house New York, but it also maximized our very DC group of artists.
You are the playwright of Freud Meets Girl, which was a hit at Capital Fringe Festival. Are there any plans for another production in the future?
I wrote that show with a very talented and hard-working group of friends under the banner of Wayward Theatre, and I was so impressed with the vivid world they built out of that script. That collective of artists may indeed return, and quite possibly for Fringe at some point, but we want to make sure we have time to develop another project that feels both as entertaining and as haunting as that production proved to be. We were thrilled with the response we got that summer. More to come.
How did your studies at Georgetown University prepare you for a career in the theatre?
I was one of five people in Georgetown’s very first class of Theater and Performance Studies majors. I was incredibly lucky to be a part of that program at a time when new faculty – and the construction of the Davis Performing Arts Center – meant pushing the students to create works of art that connected to the city and the larger world. The work we did there has an incredible sense of civic responsibility and political engagement. It still does today, even more so.
What are your next few projects?
I’m thrilled to be starting some new work with Factory 449, based in downtown DC. I also am a regular feature writer and reviewer for DC Theatre Scene. But the most exciting thing coming up is setting the 2012 calendar of events for Artists’ Bloc, which I’ve just taken over as Artistic Director. Artists’ Bloc is DC arts organization fostering the development of new works for the stage, and it’s going to be an inspiring year.