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March 31, 2016

Meet Brittany Stigler, Program Coordinator, Great Performances

As a Program Coordinator for Great Performances, Brittany Stigler provides production and administrative support for the Great Performances team and the various programs it produces. “In broad strokes, this includes coordinating with PBS to input show information, chasing down contracts, drafting formats and music cue sheets, preparing our beautiful brochure, and whatever else pops up. I also help out with Reel 13 as the Shorts Curator, which is a fancy way of saying that I get to screen a bunch of short films and communicate with filmmakers for our recurring online contest,” Brittany says. Read on to learn about the path that led Brittany to WNET, Great Performances’ recent Joan Baez birthday concert taping, and more.

What is your background, and how did you land at WNET?

A great deal of kismet got me in the door. I studied English and Philosophy at Indiana University, where I happened to work as a traffic coordinator for the local PBS station, WTIU. While finishing up my honors thesis, I moved to New York for an internship at a literary magazine, The American Reader, and not long after found an opening in the SchedOps department at WNET that mirrored what I did back home. When not one but two positions over at GP opened up, I thought it was too good to be true. I have always admired how interdisciplinary the GP umbrella is, and I feel very fortunate to be in a department that produces a wealth of cultural programming. Plus, only a glass conference room separates me from my old friends in SchedOps. I’m very grateful for my community.

Are there any upcoming Great Performances programs you’re particularly excited about?

I’m still trying to process the magic that was the Joan Baez birthday concert taping. With guests Judy Collins, Emmylou Harris, Indigo Girls, Jackson Browne, Damien Rice, Mary Chapin Carpenter, David Bromberg, David Crosby, Mavis Staples, Nano Stern, Richard Thompson, and Paul Simon, the program is a historical event that goes beyond entertainment. What an honor to have all of those legends on the same stage. It will endure.

For our Media with Impact campaign, we’ve been asking viewers to share stories describing how THIRTEEN has influenced their life. How has THIRTEEN (or the PBS station of your childhood) inspired you?

PBS was actually banned in my household for a good while. With Bob Ross as a guiding voice, I used my mother’s expensive paints to improve one of her canvases. Needless to say, Ross’s happy little trees made my mom furious. But I always loved Reading Rainbow, Wishbone, and Body Electric, though I have to admit that I made fun of my little brother for liking Sesame Street. When I was in college, I watched Great Performances at the Met: Wagner’s Ring Cycle in our station’s control room. This was a revelation for me.  Being born and raised in rural Indiana, I never had any access to the opera. Bonus points: neither had my classmates, so I had an advantage when we discussed Wagner in my philosophy classes.

Where do you live, and what are some of your favorite places in your neighborhood? 

I live in Park Slope. Naturally, I love Prospect Park, especially when it’s warm enough to enjoy the farmer’s market. Blue Sky Bakery has the best bran muffins—they bake them with generous chunks of fruit in the middle. If you’re into ephemera and oddities, the Morbid Anatomy Museum is a must-go. They started out as this weird little closet in Gowanus, but have since expanded into a bona fide museum with a café and library. Admittedly juvenile, the MTA Museum is my favorite place to nerd out. The trains alone warrant a visit, but the placards with facts about secret tunnels and the construction of the system are what get most of my time. Oh, and Unnameable Books is a treasure.

What book are you currently reading?

I’m a very moody reader, so I keep a few books in rotation. Currently, I’m reading The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes by Janet Malcolm as part of a Women’s Lives Club reading group. Started by Rachel Syme, who is a darling of culture writing, the group reads and discusses influential women. On my own, I’m re-reading Simone de Beauvoir’s The Woman Destroyed. I’m also on a Mary Karr kick and am reading her latest, The Art of Memoir, which is a helpful text for anyone interested in writing.

Do you have a special interest or hobby outside of work? If so, tell us about it!

A hobby that I hold very dear is bookbinding. I learned a lot of the techniques by watching my grandma upholster furniture and further honed them by working as a conservation assistant at a rare books library. Aside from that, I take relaxing seriously. I like to bookend my days with at least a 15 minute pause. I find that the more I rush around, the less time I have to get things done. Little blocks of relaxation really help me reset.

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