VOL. 126 | NO. 211 | Friday, October 28, 2011
Memphis Standout Profile
Theater Veteran Roberts Takes Helm of Ostranders
By JOHN LINTNER
Lindsey Roberts was recently selected to be coordinator of the Ostrander Awards, the city’s annual theater awards ceremony.
(Photo: Lance Murphey)
Roberts – who replaced Janie McCrary who retired after 25 years at the helm – had reached out to McCrary several years previously to help with the various issues that go into coordinating the local theater awards like saving money on supplies and services.
McCrary was more than happy to bring Roberts on board as her assistant and later appointed her to help with recruiting and judging duties.
An actress herself, Roberts knows show business and is well known both for her ability on stage and to manage a very busy schedule that includes her commitments as an actress as well as her position as executive recruiter at Vaco LLC, an executive search and placement firm.
“I threw myself into the process really,” Roberts said, referring to her sudden introduction to the business end of acting. “And, they seemed to be happy that I was doing so because there was so much that they didn’t have time to do – didn’t have the hours or the manpower.”
Roberts served as a theater judge and event coordination assistant for the Ostranders from 2009 until 2011 when she stepped into her new role as coordinator. The experience she gained having acted in, choreographed or produced more than 50 theatrical productions as well as several films made her a perfect match for the job.
Still, Roberts had her doubts about accepting the position, knowing that her job and her aspirations as an actress might not leave enough time to effectively coordinate the awards.
“Eventually time started eating at me, and I realized they weren’t having anybody come to the table who really made sense for the role,” Roberts said.
“Many of them didn’t know anything about the judging process. They didn’t know anything about the Ostranders – didn’t really know a lot about the theater community itself. One of the candidates who would’ve been great – Jenny Odle Madden – she would’ve been great for it, but man she’s swamped too. So, there was really no way that she could do it. … I’ve been a member of the community for so long, I really feel like people trust me to have the passion and the integrity it takes to represent the process. So, I just threw my name in the hat.”
“The problem I constantly find myself faced with is that there is so much that I love, and there’s so much that I want to be involved with, that it’s impossible for me to say no sometimes. But, I do say no. It just doesn’t happen very often.”
Coordinator, Ostrander Awards
Her nomination was brought before the heads of the theaters in Memphis, and she was unanimously voted as the new coordinator.
Despite her commitments as coordinator, Roberts wanted to keep acting, and that was the one wrinkle to iron out before she officially accepted the position. As it turns out, she did both.
“I’ve got a big audition coming up that I’m shaking in my boots about,” Roberts said of her upcoming audition at Theatre Memphis, 630 Perkins Road Extended. “I’m auditioning for ‘Chicago’ in November here in Memphis – hoping for the role of Velma Kelly. So, we’ll see how that turns out.”
Roberts is also actively involved in the film industry. A member of the Screen Actors Guild, she’s been in all of Craig Brewer’s films except “Footloose.” Most notably, she landed the lead female role of Harper in his first film “The Poor and Hungry,” which was filmed in Memphis and named after a local bar.
Most recently, Roberts worked with director Ryan Parker on a film called “Tennessee Queer.” Filming concluded earlier in October allowing her just enough time to audition for “Chicago.”
“I stay really involved,” Roberts said. “I’ve done more than a dozen films. The problem I constantly find myself faced with is that there is so much that I love, and there’s so much that I want to be involved with, that it’s impossible for me to say no sometimes. But, I do say no. It just doesn’t happen very often.”