Sewickley Academy grad's venture grows into international cultural exchange
Despite being constantly surrounded by performers from around the world, Lisa Booth said she never had any musical talent.
“I tried out for a music group” but didn't make it, said Booth, 63, a 1967 Sewickley Academy graduate.
That didn't stop her from becoming part of the performing world on a different level. Booth is celebrating the 30th anniversary of her company, Lisa Booth Management Inc., based in New York City, which has managed, marketed, conceived, produced and organized musical projects in more than 400 cities and 51 countries.
“Now that I look back, I think I was always more of a producer or organizer than a performer,” said Booth, daughter of the late Elizabeth (“Bobby”) — a former academy kindergarten teacher — and the late Lloyd Booth.
“I enjoyed coming up with ideas for themes for dances, producing a film of a medieval jousting match for the eighth-grade Ivanhoe project. I had wanted to hold a joust on the soccer field in front of the school, but that got nixed pretty quickly,” she said.
She began working with the American Dance Festival at Connecticut College — from which she graduated with a bachelor's degree in sociology — and then in New York City. She eventually went out on her own, helping New York City performers who wanted to tour.
“It's a good thing I didn't know how hard it would be until it was too late to back out,” she said.
Booth's late husband, Peter Tierney, always was supportive, as is her son, Peter Jr., 26.
Her husband “encouraged me even though I made virtually no money for the first year or so and took over the second bedroom in our New York City apartment for ‘the office,'” she said.
Although Booth doesn't travel back to the area much — except for a trip a few years ago for her 40-year class reunion — she has worked with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust many times.
“She's one of my favorite people,” said Paul Organisak, vice president of programming and executive director of the Pittsburgh Dance Council through Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
“She's a remarkable woman, aconsummate professional and has been a joy to work with on every engagement we've done. She's one of those people in the field who holds the respect of presenters, agents and artists. She's a real leader in the field.”
Booth said her company has evolved into more than a business that books performers. It now is part of a cultural musical exchange.
The company is general manager of Center Stage, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and produced by the New England Foundation for the Arts.
The state department selects countries such as Pakistan, Morocco and Vietnam, and Booth said it is then her company's job to find the artists, and book and manage tours for each ensemble.
In addition to performances, the company focuses on planning school visits, artist-to-artist exchanges, panels, pot-luck suppers and parties.
“Witnessing attitudes changing on both sides of this project and appreciating the freedoms we enjoy through new eyes are just a few of the immensely rewarding experiences this kind of work offers,” she said.
Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sewickley Council, theater group reach lease agreement
- Quaker Valley’s new chief eyes change, respects tradition
- Sewickley area experts react to Robin Williams’ death, depression
- Sewickley councilman questions workshop meeting vote
- Interim Quaker Valley Middle School principal named
- Privately run garage proposed in Sewickley
- Sewickley fire department happy to stay put