Garden Theatre appoints a new artistic director

Rob Winn Anderson has stepped into the role of artistic director at the theater, having worked with the theater since its opening in 2008

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  • | 1:46 p.m. October 31, 2017
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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WINTER GARDEN Rob Winn Anderson is no stranger to the Garden Theatre. He helped direct its opening gala ten years ago and watched it grow into a theatrical powerhouse.

Now, he’s stepped into a leadership role as the theater’s first artistic director.

“It’s very exciting,” Anderson said about the opportunity. “I want us to be a well respected theater, a place where people know they can come to see a quality production.”

Anderson fell in love with theater at a young age and eventually went on to study theater in college. After spending several years acting in various shows, he eventually began directing and writing his own plays, several of which have been featured at the Garden Theatre, including “Alice Lost in Wonderland” and “Christmas by Committee.”

This year, the theater will be showcasing another one of Anderson’s plays - “A Tennessee Walk.”

“This will be the southeastern U.S. premier, so I’m excited to see it here at the Garden,” Anderson said.

Although he’s worked as an artistic consultant with the theater before, Anderson said he’s looking forward to digging deeper into each show.

“It’s not just about directing shows and making selections, but caring about the patron experience,” he said.

During rehearsals for “The Odd Couple,” Anderson said that he had an ah-ha moment about just how detailed and critical his position will be for the success of each show. He was sitting in a front-row seat watching the rehearsal and realized the sofas were blocking the view - a problem that he immediately was able to fix. It was that moment when he realized his decisions would improve the shows for the audience.

“That’s where it really hit me,” he said. “It’s different to be the leader and hold the overall vision of a piece and work with everyone to bring a piece to life.”

For Anderson, who has seen the theater’s evolution since day one, the theater has become a vital part of downtown Winter Garden.

“The Garden’s existence was the catalyst for growth for this area,” he said. “It has brought life to this area, and it’s become a sort of beating heart for the town.”

And the theater’s future is exciting, Anderson said.

“We don’t have a to-do list; we have a what’s next list,” he said. “There’s a real solidity here, so we can take chances and make things happen. I never doubted it would have a great future.”

Looking at the rest of the season, Anderson said he is most excited about putting together “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

“It’s such a different story from the Disney movie,” he said. “It’s closer to the original book. I think what we’re planning to do with it is interesting.”


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