Recruiting Glass Evangelists

Imagine doing something you love and getting paid for it, while traveling the world on a luxury cruise ship. That’s exactly what Hot Glass Show staff members do every day of the year, on three Celebrity Cruise ships.

Sound amazing? It is. But it’s also hard work, as candidates who recently auditioned in Seattle for the Museum’s Hot Glass at Sea program found out.

Celebrity Equinox

Celebrity Equinox

Auditions for the role of narrator/demonstrator are held regularly at the Museum and occasionally on the road. Last week, Museum staff members were in Seattle for a celebratory reception on Celebrity Solstice which is now sailing out of the port of Seattle for the first time. While they were in Seattle, they took the opportunity to audition 11 candidates in a hotshop at Pratt Fine Arts Center.

Here’s how the audition process works:

Candidates apply online, submitting info about their experience and images of their artwork. The chosen candidates receive a script of the Museum’s standard narration as well as a “cookbook” highlighting the basic kinds of pieces they need to be able make.

Their audition lasts one hour. During the first part of the audition, they demonstrate their glassworking skills while a CMoG staff member narrates. Then, the candidate narrates and assists while a CMoG artist makes a work of glass. This all takes place in front of an American Idol style panel made up of CMoG staff. A short debriefing follows, in which the candidate is able to ask questions and learn more about life at sea.

Candidates audition in front of a panel of CMOG judges. From left to right: director of human resources Ellen Corradini, senior manager of Hot Glass programs Steve Gibbs, Hot Glass logistics & ship supervisor Dan DeRusha and Hot Glass Show team leader Lynn Read.

Candidates audition in front of a panel of CMOG judges. From left to right: director of human resources Ellen Corradini, senior manager of Hot Glass programs Steve Gibbs, Hot Glass logistics & ship supervisor Dan DeRusha and Hot Glass Show team leader Lynn Read.

What are the “judges” looking for? There are three key things.

The first is, of course, decent glassmaking skills, as well as confidence working in front of audience.  That’s the easy part.

The second skill candidates are judged on is the ability to narrate the demonstration in a way that draws in the audience. Can they articulate the glassmaking process in an engaging but highly informative way, maintaining eye contact and generating excitement and interest?

Finally, and probably most importantly, are they a good team member? Are they willing and able not only to make beautiful works in glass but also to pick up a broom or paint a glory hole if necessary? Will they fit well with the other two Hot Glass Show team members on the ship? Are they able to maintain professionalism and represent The Corning Museum of Glass 24/7 while on this floating island for three solid months with 3,000 guests and more than 1,000 crew members?

This last skill is so important that the Museum brings final candidates to Corning for a period of time (usually about 3 weeks) to train them about the Museum and also ensure that the team fit is a solid one for both the candidate and the Museum. One candidate referred to it as a “psychological profiling” period.

Steve Gibbs, senior manager of the Museum’s Hot Glass Programs, likes to refer to the Museum’s Hot Glass Show staff as “glass evangelists.”  At any given time, the Museum has nine “glass evangelists” working on Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox or Celebrity Eclipse and a pool of 20-25 glassworkers to choose from for future scheduling.  The artists who demonstrate and narrate for the Hot Glass Show are passionate and tireless in their work in educating the world about glass – and with amazing results.  If you think you have what it takes to join the team, you can apply anytime through our website.