TFA’s Hoffmann Is June Employee of the Month

Posted: June 1, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Fran Rensbarger

Kira Hoffmann, company manager for Theater of the First Amendment (TFA), is Employee of the Month for June. At TFA, George Mason’s professional theater company, Hoffman handles the administrative functions necessary to produce the plays—from hiring and paying professional actors, designers, and laborers, to purchasing and tracking expenditures for scenery and costume materials for each production.

Hoffmann also maintains TFA’s production archives and keeps the office organized. “I think the biggest part of my job is knowing whom to go to for answers within Mason’s infrastructure.”

A Mason alumna, Hoffmann received her BA in Theater with a concentration in Arts Administration in 1994 and taught Theater 201, Stage Management, for the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) for three semesters.

“Kira has been the backbone of TFA,” says Kevin Murray, TFA’s managing director. “As company manager of a company that represents a demanding artistic discipline, Kira has maintained an efficient, well-oiled machine” in processing university documents and providing service to the artists, he adds. “She continually impresses me with her ability to find solutions where others might encounter frustration, and solve problems rather than present them.”

“I think Kira is a great George Mason cheerleader,” writes Lori Petterson, administrative and office specialist, in her recommendation. “She is upbeat and a wonderful spokesperson for the department.” But more important is her attention to details, Petterson says. “She does a great job in TFA and keeps wonderful records of the group’s paperwork, making the job of reconciling its accounts so much easier.”

Hoffmann’s favorite part of her job is interacting with and mentoring CVPA students, offering them real-world advice regarding the professional theater industry. “It gives me great satisfaction when I see them succeed after graduation,” she says. “Additionally, my co-workers within CVPA are really like a large extended family—everyone helps each other, and this sense of community makes my job very enjoyable.”

Likewise, Hoffmann is a resource to others. She was one of the first to master the Banner system, and then helped others to learn it. Also, with her in-depth knowledge of the workings of TFA and the Center for the Arts, from the technical to the administrative aspects, “she consistently provides assistance on projects outside of her area of responsibility,” says Dorian Mroz, CVPA director of finance and administration.

Hoffmann came to George Mason because she saw that the university was committed to promoting the performing arts. “To be able to work in the performing arts and have benefits such as health insurance and retirement options is a very rare thing in the industry. By working at Mason, I am able to work in the field that I love, as well as make a stable life for myself,” she says.

Beginning at George Mason in 1995 as a part-time employee while also developing a freelance career as a theatrical technician, Hoffmann moved up through the ranks. She worked as a stagehand and stage manager on a freelance basis for Theater of the First Amendment, and then in 1997 took a full-time position as staff stage manager for the Center for the Arts’ Concert Hall. In 1998, Murray tapped her for the part-time position of company manager for TFA, which became full-time in 1999. Concurrently she freelanced for local performing arts organizations, such as the Washington Opera, Wolf Trap, and the Spoleto Arts Festival, and toured as a department head for the Universal Ballet. She still works with local community performing arts organizations, such as the Virginia Ballet and City at Peace, helping to produce shows.

Hoffmann’s theatrical career actually began when she was a child, assisting her father, who was head of production at Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts for 25 years. “My father trained me as a theatrical electrician and stage manager, so by the time I began my undergraduate work, I had quite a bit of experience in the field,” she says. Now realizing one of her goals, she will be starting classes in CVPA’s new Master of Arts Management program in the fall.

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