By MYRON LOVE
As far back as she can re-member, Raffaela (Raffie) Rosenberg has had her sights squarely set on a career in the theatre. Now, following a year studying theatre at the University of Miami and graduating from the Ivey School of Business, the daughter of Lewis Rosenberg and the late Dr. Fran Steinberg has landed in the Big Apple, the centre of all things theatrical – New York City.
Last fall Rosenberg began studies at Columbia University toward a Master of Fine Arts degree in theatre management and producing. It is a three year program with two years in the classroom and a third year to write a thesis.
“I started dancing lessons when I was two years old,” she recalls. “I loved it.”
She adds that her interest in the theatre was also stimulated by her parents, both of whom had been involved in the arts. Prior to pursuing a career in medicine, her mother grew up as a student at Royal Winnipeg Ballet; Fran also taught dancing and further studied dance at York University. Her dad also has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, in theatre design and technology – from the University of Minnesota.
Raffie is a graduate of St. John’s Ravenscourt, where she was involved in the debating program and qualified for the 2011 World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships in Brisbane, Australia. In an interview at that time for The Jewish Post & News, she presciently stated that she believed that public speaking would be of help in her goal of making a career for herself in theatre. Looking back she now confirms that her public speaking experiences have been most useful in her life’s journey.
After graduating from Western University in 2016, Rosenberg returned to Winnipeg where she was initially director of development for a charitable organization, “The Upside Down Tree”, followed by stints as a production and marketing assistant for children’s theatre company Koba Entertainment and manager of operation for Winnipeg for Hoot Reading, a tutoring and reading program for children.
Concomitant with her work, Rosenberg was involved in Winnipeg’s theatre scene as co-founding artistic director of ArtLaunch Theatre Company, where she also assumed production duties.
“We had two successful shows at the Fringe Festival,” she says. “Our most recent – ‘The Last 48’ – sold out.”
This past May, while on hiatus from university, Rosenberg connected with former CNN tech correspondent Laurie Segal who, last fall, launched Dot Dot Dot Media, which focuses on the impact of technology and peoples’ relationships with technology. Rosenberg came on board as associate producer this summer.
“Laurie has been covering technology and how it impacts people for over a decade,” Rosenberg notes. “She has worked with some of the leading tech people in the business.
“Since it’s a new media company,” Rosenberg adds, “my responsibilities change daily. With my business and operations background I help with administrative work while also doing research for potential podcast guests and for development of potential new projects. With the pandemic and the pace of any startup we’re all flexible and adapt to what’s needed.”
As with everyone else, the Covid epidemic brought Raffie’s normal routines to a screeching halt. She came back to Winnipeg for a few months in the spring, returning to New York at the beginning of July.
“The situation is better than when I left,” she reports. “People have been very good about following the rules. Everyone is wearing a mask.”
She says that she definitely wants to be a producer working in theatre in New York after her M.A. “I am looking forward to developing my own individual style as a producer,” she notes. “While I am open to television projects, I love live theatre – and, in the theatre, I would prefer to work with original plays and musicals rather than revivals.
“After this pandemic, no one is sure what Broadway will look like. I am confident that Broadway will come back in some form – but I do think premium ticket prices will come down and I don’t believe that the super high budget musicals of the past will be coming back any time soon.”