Alyson McCoy is the Director of Finance at Gulfshore Playhouse.
Q: What age did you discover you were interested in theatre? Was there a particular event or experience that revealed your interest?
I am not sure I can pinpoint that down to a specific age or event. I grew up close to Disney World and have always enjoyed the magic of live storytelling. I was drawn to performing as a kid through twirling, choir, dance, acting, etc. I have distinct memories of seeing the touring production of The Lion King with my sisters when we were little as our Christmas present. I am very thankful that my family never discouraged my curiosity in exploring theatre.
This position entails a little of everything! I am often compiling the data and analyzing the story to be found in financials or any particular set of numbers the team or board needs to know about. That can range anywhere from how much we saved on a show or project, how successful we were at a fundraising event or ticket sales, how grant funds are being used, etc. I also keep up with the day to day of the business operations and monthly financial reporting.
I am not sure any day is typical these days, even for the accounting world! We have a process that goes on throughout the month to make sure we stay current in our finances, but there’s always something happening here at Gulfshore Playhouse to keep me on my toes! Currently that’s keeping up with the happenings of the PPP forgiveness and how we plan our budget and season’s activities for the unknowns of the pandemic.
I was the kid who LOVED math in school, so as I got older it almost felt like the world was telling me I had to choose between math and theatre to pursue as a career. When I joined Off Book Productions, my high school’s in-school theatre company, I got to learn first hand so many different aspects of theatre and saw how I could bring numbers and theatre together and do both. I entered college with that same notion in my head and would walk into my morning business classes singing showtunes after stage managing at rehearsals the night before. To go off our charter, I think I always knew in my heart that my business is art.
In addition to the financials and making sure the workplaces have what they need, I also supervise our company management team. We are responsible for making sure the actors, designers, directors, and all our guest artists are taken care of while they are here working with us. This involves picking them up from the airport and making sure they have clean and comfortable housing and transportation and, of course, the care of our staff and interns as well.
I am most proud of how much growth I have seen over my time here at Gulfshore Playhouse, especially as a young organization! When I first started here in 2014, our annual budget was about $1.8 million and since then we have more than doubled our annual budget, transitioned our accounting system from cash to accrual, updated our systems and staff across all departments, outgrown our production shop, and began our Next Stage Capital Campaign, all while producing beautiful art for our community. And all this despite a hurricane and a pandemic!