So you would think people who work in theater know how to look good for online meetings. I’ve logged onto some meetings where people have said, “I’m not turning on my camera because I haven’t shaved.” Or…”No camera. My hair’s a mess.” Then there are those people who appear perfectly groomed from the waist up, but who forget when they get up for a moment that the camera is still on and they reveal they are in pajamas from the waist down. I am particularly envious of the folks who know exactly how high up to place their computers; certain angles and certain lighting clearly improve your appearance. (I can only imagine how difficult this is outside of “war time” for young people doing Skype or Zoom job interviews!) From Zoom to Skype to Google hangouts, and more, everyone has been scrambling. The most interesting aspect of this, however, has been seeing the homes of colleagues, who sometimes offer tours by carrying their laptops around for a show-and-tell. 

With all this said, however, I can offer a few tips from my many years in theater:

  • ACTING: You have two ears and only one mouth for a reason.
  • SET: Don’t share too much visually, as it is distracting.
  • LIGHTING: Help your participants by being brightly lit; best is warm side lighting, not some overhead thing that ages everyone, or backlighting which makes you look like a snitch, whistleblower or spy who does not want to be identified.
  • COSTUMES: Try to look vaguely professional; it will make you feel better.
  • SOUND: Do not get up and go to the bathroom and forget to turn off your mic.
  • PROPS: Make sure to have things you might need readily at hand so as not to waste other people’s time (a pad, pencil, your phone, water, coffee, whatever…)

This is an excerpt from my Traveling iPad e-newsletter series. To receive this in your inbox, click hereIf you believe you should be receiving these already, feel free to reach out to

A screenshot from a video conference call, featuring Francesca Zambello in the upper left corner. Seven other staff members are featuring, including Artistic Administrator Amra with her twin babies in the lower right corner.

You may be wondering… 
What exactly is Francesca’s Traveling iPad? If you’re new to our e-newsletters, welcome; if you’re not new and have wondered about these monthly emails from The Glimmerglass Festival, let us explain. The Traveling iPad series is a travelogue from Francesca Zambello, Glimmerglass’ Artistic & General Director. Francesca takes us on her adventures directing operas around the world and writes on topics ranging from the arts to the history of places she travels and other anecdotes, closing each e-mail with a delicious recipe for you to try at home. We hope you enjoy these e-mails, and that they offer a glimpse into the artist at the helm of our organization.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.