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Our Team

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Gareth Conner, Founder and President

Gareth Conner

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Founder & President / CC’s Original Automation Junkie

Gareth has been in the business of making scenery move for more than 15 years, but theatrical automation hasn’t always been his passion.  At age 3, after loving encouragement from his parents to be anything he wanted, he decided he wanted to be a whale.  Whales are really neat.  By age 5, he had recovered from that obvious disappointment and excitedly asked for a set of “real” tools for Christmas.  The heartbreak at receiving plastic “toy” tools served only to inspire.  Luckily, Gareth eventually got his hands on real tools, dove into theatre and became hooked on automation. 

Years later, Gareth had acquired experience automating scenery using a range of mechanical and electronic techniques (some of which are better left forgotten) for clients from regional theatres to automation giants including Disney and Universal. After working with budgets ranging from dozens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, he was convinced he could create a system of automation components that would reduce the cost and complexity of scenic automation.  That conviction inspired Creative Conners, Inc., and it’s been the most fun job yet.  Even better than being a whale.

 

Emily Conner

Emily Conner

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Co-Owner & Vice President / Corporate Treasurer / Wrangler of the little Creative Conners / Depletor of excess funds

Emily earned a degree in Drama from University of Dallas in 1993, followed by seven years sewing in regional theatre costume shops. One of these was the Alley Theatre, where she met Gareth.  Eight years after their fateful first date she found herself standing in their kitchen fearlessly proclaiming, “Sure, let’s borrow against the house to finance an automation business.”   Some decisions really are that easy.

As co-owner of Creative Conners, Emily spends most of her time managing the little creative Conners, Isabella and Violet, but still finds time to tidy up insurance paperwork, do a little bookkeeping and brainstorm about the next big moves for Creative Conners.

 

Royal Marty, Product Engineer

Royal Marty

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Product Engineer

While growing up Royal had dreams and aspirations of playing baseball for his hometown Major league baseball team. Being from Las Vegas, the dream never worked out for him. Royal was left with no option but to enter the theater industry. Royal attended Webster University and received a BFA in Technical Direction and a minor in Mathematics. Throughout Royal’s glorious theater career he has worked for companies such as JR Clancy, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and ITC Scenic Services. Currently Royal lives in the RI (the biggest little state in the Union) and spends his free time training for triathalons.

 

Tom Battista

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Production

Even at the age of five, Tom loved computers and electronics, showcasing his skills by taking apart just about everything, including his parent’s new five-disc CD changer. He was almost as good at putting them back together, give-or-take a few screws.

Once he got his first computer he was hooked on programming, and after a summer Java camp, he knew he wanted to be a computer programmer. During high school he took classes in programming, engineering and general studies, and after school he found his new home at New England Tech, where he was encouraged to take things apart on purpose.

Tom is our native Rhode Islander and has never been off the east coast. During the interview at Creative Conners he realized that the CCI team loved technology even more than he did and at that moment knew he had to work here.

 

Ryan Volna fabricator at Creative Conners

Ryan Volna

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Production

While growing up, Ryan could be found one of two places: In the basement, playing with Legos, or in his room, playing with Legos. His dream was to be a Lego Creator; to sit at a table in a massive room with endless boxes of Legos, designing the Lego kits for other children (and grown ups) to play with! When his dreams had been pleasantly smashed by the computer that does all the design work, he decided theatrical lighting design was the next best thing!

Luckily, he realized that wasn’t for him and fell into automating scenery. Ryan graduated from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota with a degree in Theatre and specializing in all things technical. Ryan then went on to hone his carpentry and metal working skills at Williamstown Theatre Festival and at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. He now has his literal dream job tinkering and building automation effects every day! It’s like Legos for adults!

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