Teaching Artist Leah Reddy spoke with Paola Francisquini about her work at Roundabout Theatre Company.
LEAH REDDY: Tell us about yourself. Where were you born and educated?
PAOLA FRANCISCQUINI: I was born in the Bronx, where I lived during some of my formative years, and grew up in Orlando, Florida. I attended the University of Central Florida for my undergraduate and Baruch College for my masters.
LR: How and when did you become the Director of Community Partnerships at Roundabout Theatre Company?
PF: I had been working several years alongside community-centered, experimental arts organizations in New York City and abroad. My work mostly centered in programming, fundraising, and marketing in order to create infrastructure and programming that would allow these organizations to be financially solvent, while also reframing narratives on how we engage with diverse organizations and create art. All this considered, I came across this opportunity as Director of Community Partnerships in Roundabout, which really aligned with my work and mission. I applied and started in late 2021; so far it has been an immense collaborative experience.
LR: Describe your job at RTC. What are your responsibilities?
PF: I’ve just met my five-month mark in the organization, but thus far I would compartmentalize my work in the following way: curating and producing audience engagement programming—essentially enhancing and enriching the communal experience of the theatergoer who is attending a performance in our space. Another aspect of this role centers on fostering meaningful relationships within local communities, particularly communities who have not had access to theatre or to Roundabout’s work.
LR: What is the best part of your job? What is the hardest part?
PF: The best and hardest parts work in tandem for me: I’m keen on building connections and communities in every aspect of the work. That said, building community takes time since this work is centered on building consensus and collaboration.
LR: Why do you choose to work at Roundabout?
PF: Seeing theatres go dark because of the pandemic was a very emotional experience for me. I wanted to be on the side of offering this amazing, connective experience to everyone in our local communities. I have this immense privilege and mission to serve communities, particularly historically marginalized communities, and invite them into this immersive, magical experience found in Roundabout’s productions and work.