Well, I’ve had a great new job for a few months now. It’s time I updated the website with a new bio:
Matt is a resident of Milwaukee, originally from Columbus, OH. He holds a degree in Communication, Media, and Theatre from St. Norbert College with extensive acting, directing, technical, and production experience.
He has aided in creating a dozen different theatre companies, as well as multiple programs and events with emphasis on new and emerging artists. Matt also has extensive construction experience including three stages, light & sound control booth, recording studio, library, dressing room, wood shop, coffee shop and a deck. He purchased a “fixer-upper” home with his wife, Dawn, and has been improving it by adding a master suite and gutting and remodeling much of it. During the summer of 2007, he was stage manager for “Project Non-Violence”, a program associated with the Greater Milwaukee Boys and Girls Club focusing on the theatre process with local inner-city youth.
Currently, Matt is the Marketing/PR Manager at Next Act Theatre, a compelling and intimate professional theatre; the Director and Founder of the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, a celebration focused on promoting sketch, improv and stand up comedy throughout the Greater Milwaukee area; and the Co-Producer of Pink Banana Theatre, encouraging new and emerging artists to focus on their artistic craft.
After a month long search and over 60 applicants, Next Act Theatre has chosen theatre professional Matt Kemple as their new Marketing and Public Relations Manager. Matt joins the already first-rate staff of Next Act mid-way through their 18th season, bringing with him an extensive theatrical background and love for the arts.
Matt is a resident of Milwaukee, having been transplanted here from Columbus, Ohio almost four years ago. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Media, and Theatre from St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI with extensive acting, directing, technical, and production experience.
Previously, Matt was the Director of Theatre for three years at Bucketworks, a creative resource center located in downtown Milwaukee, as well as the Operations Manager at Mad Science of Waukesha County which focuses on providing science based learning activities for children.
Matt has aided in the creation of a dozen different theatre companies, groups and organizations across the Midwest, including multiple programs and events with emphasis on new and emerging local artists. During the summer of 2007, Matt worked as stage manager for former Theatre X Artistic Director John Schneider’s “Project Non-Violence”, a program associated with the Greater Milwaukee Boys and Girls Club focusing on the theatre process with local inner-city youth. He is currently the director and founder of the Milwaukee Sketch & Improv Festival, a celebration focused on promoting sketch and improv comedy throughout the Greater Milwaukee area.
Matt has extensive design and construction experience as well, including three theatre spaces, recording studio, library, wood shop, coffee shop, and deck.
So I built a deck for my girlfriend Dawn’s dad, Gordy. I have never taken on a project quite like this by myself before.
Long story short, there was a small deck already in place that was starting to become rickety and fall apart, so a new one would need to be built, and why make it the same size? Bigger is always better. Last fall, they thought way ahead and added a sliding glass door off the living room. Due to an accident, a handicap ramp needed to be installed quite suddenly , so the insurance company assembled one about 16 feet long off the existing decking. In order to use the new door, two small steps were built to connect to the ramp temporarily.
I took the old deck apart piece by piece, which was no easy task! The original deck was put together with framing nails, so I pretty much only used a hammer and circular saw to take it all apart. I made some temporary steps using the old deck steps and screwed it all together to make sure it didn’t move around and was safe.
After a few days, I removed the temporary steps and remaining structure to measure everything out and figure out were the post holes would be dug. The old deck was built over conduit feeding electrical going to the garage, so I had to take very careful measurements to make sure problems didn’t come up later.
We hired a company to dig the holes and pour the concrete, which was a good idea because the soil had a huge amount of rocks where the holes needed to go, and would have taken literally weeks to dig by hand. It took a Cat two full days to dig the eight holes. Deck holes in Wisconsin must be dug below the frost line, which is 4 feet deep! Any shallower and the deck could shift off the house from freezing and thawing over time. This obviously could make things very unsafe.
The day after the holes were finished, the inspector came by in the morning and approved the holes and the concrete was poured. Metal brackets were inserted into the concrete before it dried so the posts could be mounted and secured with bolts. The hard part is getting the posts set perfectly to one another to ensure the deck is level and square. It can cause major problems with the construction of the deck if the joists are not built correctly from the start.
We attached the main beams on either side of the posts, and added additional supports when two beams needed to be joined together. The decks dimensions are 8′ x 20′, much nicer than the five foot square of the old! Posts needed to be measured and cut to the proper height for the deck pieces on the top layer, and metal framing brackets needed to be installed to hold everything in place. This part took much longer than I thought, but still only two days for this part.
After all the joists are in place, additional support is added to the ends of the joists. The beginning of this can be seen in the photo to the right. After this, the deck part can go down! This was by far the most time consuming part. I built the framing and joists out of treated wood beams. The deck part used was Trex, which I think is recycled plastic, but it looks just like wood and should last much longer. In the end it looked really nice but was very hard to work with. Cutting and drilling was a bit harder than traditional pine, and every hole had to be pre-drilled so the material would not crack or split! In the end, the deck turned out great, but took a very long time. It’s always good to be familiar with the materials you are using, and never be afraid to ask questions!