Staff Highlights: Jillian Cook

This member of the Box Office staff often works the Writers events, handing out books with a smile and greeting regulars by name. Jillian Cook, CRM Analyst & Ticketing Sales here at The Music Hall, tells us what she’s reading, what makes our community special, and why data is important for the arts.

What brought you to the Hall and what roles have you had here?  
After pursuing a degree in fine arts, I had been working at various seasonal theaters in Maine and Massachusetts for a few years and was looking to make a change when I serendipitously found a job posting for The Music Hall. Portsmouth instantly charmed me, and the rest is history.

I started as a box office associate in 2012, selling tickets and working events. Over the years my role has grown to include more of the behind-the-scenes and technical work that allows us to operate smoothly, selling tickets as well as gathering and analyzing data. I like to try my hand at new things, and that curiosity has served me well when mining the depths of our software in the never-ending quest for improvement.

As our CRM Analyst, can you tell us about why it’s important for a nonprofit arts organization to understand data and analytics?
I think it’s important to use every tool at our disposal to understand and assess where we stand now as well as make informed decisions about the future. There is a lot of competition in the nonprofit world, and things are never static in the arts. Adapting to changes and identifying trends and patterns is crucial to continued success in this challenging and rewarding field so that nonprofits can continue to be cultural hubs for years to come.

You help run all of our literary events. Tell us what books are on your reading list these days.
Almost too many to name! Seriously, like most bibliophiles, my list of books to read is ridiculously long and eclectic, with everything from sci-fi and fantasy to memoir and scientific non-fiction and just about everything in between. Right now the books at the top of my list are Jeanine Basinger’s The Movie Musical!, David Sedaris’ Themes and Variations, and the newest installment in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series Come Tumbling Down.

You’re part of a small team that helps welcome over 100,000 patrons to The Music Hall each year. What makes this community so special?
There are so many in the community who are passionate about the arts, whether it’s a film, an author, a Grammy-winning artist, or a local one. Over the years I’ve gotten to know quite a few familiar faces from regulars at our theater, whether it’s the folks who don’t miss a Show & Tell film discussion or are always at the front of the line for Telluride by the Sea, to the ones who come to all our Writers events and the patrons who tell us about all the shows they can’t wait to see.

What has been your favorite moment at The Music Hall over the years?
That’s a tough one. The arts are all about creating and sharing moments, so there’s no shortage of memories to choose from (especially after working at The Music Hall for 8 years). The first time I was sitting in the audience for our holiday musical and it “snowed” in the theater was pretty magical. I’m a bit of a film nerd, so watching Metropolis with a live musical accompaniment was a big highlight. More recently, seeing the guys from Whose Line is it Anyway? live on our stage last year was incredible, and I’ve already got my tickets for when they return this season.