After three weeks as the Browning Center’s new administrative director, Chris Casquilho spoke with The Signpost Saturday about his new job, his first weeks in Utah and his background. Before accepting the job with Weber State University, Casquilho was the managing director of the Depot Theater in Westport, N.Y.
On why Casquilho decided to become a theater administrator:
This is really philosophically why I decided to be an arts administrator: Because I have a capacity to provide people with resources. Facilities’ funding support whatever it is so that they can focus on providing what they do best, which is the programming, and then they surprise me and amaze me and delight me with all the great stuff that they do, and I give them some place to do it and some things to do it with.
On why he decided to come to WSU:
It’s just a really great place to work. I haven’t seen anything like this before. The benefits are tremendous, the people are tremendous, the scenery is amazing, the community is amazing and they really, really take care of you there. Here, it’s such a welcoming community and such a good community for families. And Weber, I think they play a huge role in that. We just felt really fortunate when I got the interview, and then when I got the position, we felt really, really fortunate to be able to come here and work for such a great place.
On what he knew about WSU before coming:
When I started, I was familiar with Weber because I’m from the region, and Weber plays in the same conference as my alma mater, and so you know, I had seen them, and I knew the logo, and I knew where it was, but I didn’t really know much about it until I had applied for the job.
On his first weeks living and working in Utah:
It was exactly the change we were looking for. My wife and I have lived in a lot of different places together, very different kinds of communities. Coming to a new community is not something that we’re unaccustomed to. We’re not uncomfortable in terms of being in a place that’s new. We’ve been really tickled. We’ve been really happy.
On using the ed-pass:
I live on the public transit line to the university, so I just take the bus to work, and we dumped a car. We sold a car when we moved out here so, now we only have to have one car, which for me is great. I kind of think like that. I like to live a little lightly on the earth, and I think that there are more than enough cars, and so you know, the way this is laid out, we didn’t need one, and we were given a free buss pass. It’s all working out very well.
On what upcoming Browning Center event he’s most looking forward to:
The one thing I’m really looking forward to is . . . I believe it’s in March. The cultural affairs department is bringing in Christopher O’Reilly’s From the Top. Christopher O’Reilly comes and has these dazzling, classical music prodigies. Just blows your mind kids. You know their 13, 14, 15 years old, and he interviews them, and then he plays with them. He plays piano, and they play whatever their major instrument is. It’s reported and broadcasted from the Browning Center which is incredible. It’s a nationally syndicated program with a huge listenership. I just think that’s excellent. It’s not just that he’s going to perform there. They’re actually going to broadcast the show. Which is amazing. That kind of thing is why I’m so excited to be here.
On the Browning Center:
It is an incredible performing arts facility. It’s as good as anything I’ve seen or been in or worked in. The venues themselves are huge assets to this entire community. The outline of the vision is basically to raise the profile of the Browning Center in kind of the greater Ogden area as this tremendous world-class venue. But as part of that is to make everybody really feel welcome there. My role to play, then
On what makes him a good administrator:
I think the reason that I’ve been able to be a good and comfortable administrator for a long time is because I love the performing arts. I know what I like, and I’ve seen things that I like and I’ve seen things that I don’t like, but I don’t tend to involve myself heavily in the programming because there are already people who are fulfilling that role, and you know, what I will offer them. I like to treat myself as a very adventuresome flexible audience member and take in the opportunity to see all these works that a lot of times I’ve never seen or even heard of.