I would like to nominate Jules Corriere for Employee of the Month. Jules Corriere has worked for the Town of Jonesborough for about ten years now. Most know that Jules writes our annual community play and the Radio Show each month, but much of what Jules does on a day-to-day basis goes unseen.
For years, Jules has spent time meeting residents of Jonesborough and Washington County. She quickly builds relationships with them; her glowing personality and charm make people comfortable enough to tell her the stories of their lives, their military service, their struggles, their victories, etc. Jules has collected hundreds of stories since her time here and because of her the town is capturing stories that would otherwise be lost.
Each month, Jules takes these stories and turns them into a one-hour radio show that performs live. The StoryTown Radio Show is now in its eleventh season; with 11 performances each year, that means Jules has written over 100 plays about and for the Town of Jonesborough, not including writing and performing for town events, departments, and the McKinney Center’s own annual community plays.
Jules manages the Radio Show cast of approximately 30 individuals. Through her direction, I have seen many of her actors gain confidence in their speaking and performing abilities. They go on to audition and win parts in JRT productions. The most heartwarming observation is her work with the youngest members of the cast. After several years of watching these kids on stage, I’ve witnessed them overcome shyness and find their voice. Their growth comes, in part, from the nurturing and educational environment of the Radio Show. In a time where communities struggle with social issues, Jonesborough should be proud to have an organization like the Radio Show. The youngest member is 5 and the oldest is in their 80s; members are from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and socio-economic levels. She makes sure it’s a place where everyone’s story is valid, understood, and appreciated. Not only can this be seen in the cast, but in the audience, as well. If you’ve attended one of the Radio Show’s sold-out performances, you’ve seen a very diverse group of individuals in the seats. This is by Jules’s design; she makes sure that everyone feels wanted and welcomed.
One of the most significant recent projects Jules was a part of was the play, We Did It Together.
Despite Covid, Jules still collected stories over the past two years. She and her Story Brigade (her group of trained, trusted story collectors) gathered stories by phone, email, written letters, and once it was safe again to meet face-to-face, they were back to collecting stories in person.
Jules spent countless hours preparing for this show. Between April and June, Jules worked 6 days a week. We altered her schedule so that she came into work late so that she could stay late for rehearsals. During this time, her only day off was on Wednesdays, technically. She had daily/nightly production meetings and rehearsals with her crew during the week, rehearsed most of Saturday and Sunday afternoons; even her Wednesday mornings off, she was still answering emails, promoting the play on TV and radio, or scouring the Goodwill racks for costumes. Not to mention being at every performance and stepping in a major role when an actress was unable to reprise their role for the rescheduled dates.
The play was a huge undertaking and would not have been possible without the dedication of many town staff and their skills; however, we could have not had a successful run without Jules’s skill in playwriting and passion for theatre. I asked some of Jules’s cast members to say a few words in support of this nomination. Here are a few of their responses:
During We Did It Together, she was there lending her guidance and support throughout the entire rehearsal process. She also, as the playwright, captured one of her most profound theater pieces on paper. She is a skilled storyteller, a phenomenal writer and will go above and beyond to help anyone who needs it. Jules has her finger on the heartbeat of the community and knows what it takes to make these stories resonate with the public. Jules not only deserves the employee of the month but the employee of the year! – Sabra Hayden
I first met Jules over 10 years ago when the group came to Jonesborough to do the first play “I Am Home.” Back then, I thought she was very energetic and had a real future. Watching her through the years has confirmed this. Jules doesn’t put the project first; she puts the people first because she has learned that this will make the project successful. All involved learn to take ownership and build community. People are attracted to Jules because of her energy and hard work. She works many long hours behind the scenes and still makes time to try and make people stretch their talents. She shares her talents with everyone and encourages others to do the same. She deserves the employee of the month. – Linda Poland
I recently had the privilege of working with Jules Corriere while performing the community play “We Did It Together.” Right from the beginning, I was impressed with the exceptional quality of the play that Jules wrote, especially the way that she crafted local histories into vignettes that coalesced into a story with the central theme of community building. As a writer, I know how many long hours go into drafting and editing work of this caliber and can appreciate the sleepless nights and weekends spent in front of a keyboard to get the words right. It takes a lot of perseverance to write well, and with that dedication comes sacrifice; time with family and friends is traded off in the hope that something in the story will be meaningful to a wider audience. Jules must have sacrificed many, many personal hours to write this play because it truly showed in the finished product. But even beyond the writing, Jules was the biggest star of the show. Not in the way typically thought of as a “star” because she wasn’t a leading actress. Her light shined on all of us, not on an audience. She began work on the performance side of things as a co-director and humbly slipped into a consultant role to allow Richard Owen Geer a larger role as director. But Jules continued to manage and advise and encourage all of us amateur actors as we stumbled through rehearsals. She also helped work on sets and clean up the theater after our rehearsals. She never complained when someone forgot to put away props or send out reminders or any of the thousands of other little jobs delegated to everyone involved in the play. Instead, she took on the responsibility and made sure the job was done. If Academy Awards were given out for community plays, Jules would win, hands down, for Best Playwright, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Stagehand for being the backbone of We Did It Together. – Annette Zimmerman
Jules took a group of strangers of widely disparate ages, cultures, and skill levels and turned us into a family. She worked around everyone’s schedules, in spite of inconvenience to her, and made everyone feel welcomed. More than employee of the month, Jules should be Employee of the Year. – Laurie Herlich
Jules is held in high regard by all who have worked with her including numerous volunteers and is respected for her integrity, compassion and collaborative work style. Jules came to Jonesborough with a rich, storied (pun intended!) history of creative development and direction. She has the ability to energize any group of people and create a community for whatever project she is leading.
Jules has a broad range of skills and distinguishes herself whether she is writing a grant, gathering community stories and training a team to do the same, inspiring and bringing out the best in children as well as adults, and developing a monthly radio show and podcast now in its 11th year. She is a dedicated advocate for the Town of Jonesborough. – Katy Rosolowski
I want you to know Jules is such a kind and caring person. My first time I met her was at the Jonesborough Senior Center when we were doing a play there. She was so full of enthusiasm, telling me about being in town, her plays, asking me if I’ve ever thought about being a story collector for the Jonesborough town plays. I explained to her that I just moved here myself and didn’t feel comfortable because I didn’t know anyone She told me, “I could be here one day or a lifetime and it doesn’t matter. What matters is participating in community.” Jonesborough loves people, opens its arms to everyone. From that point on, I’ve been doing my best to be part of Jonesborough. Her words and encouragement gave me the push to get involved. – Kathleen O’Brien
I’ve nominated Jules for Employee of the Month because I believe she has shown extreme dedication to her duties, to the Town of Jonesborough, and to the people who live here!
Director, McKinney Center