Sunday, September 20, 2020

Person of the Week

Deborah Gilbert is Celebrating the Local Arts Scene

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Clinton’s Deborah Gilbert brings her appreciation of and insight into the local arts scene through her VSCTV program Arts and Entertainment with Deborah Gilbert. Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News

Clinton’s Deborah Gilbert brings her appreciation of and insight into the local arts scene through her VSCTV program Arts and Entertainment with Deborah Gilbert. (Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)

Deborah Gilbert developed a love of the performing arts at an early age. During a recent chat, Deborah recalls the feeling of excitement she got when she would get on stage in elementary school plays or singing in the chorus.

“The acting bug bit me big time,” Deborah says.

Now, Deborah is bringing her love of arts to residents of the shoreline area and beyond with her new show Arts and Entertainment with Deborah Gilbert, which is taped at Valley Shore Community Television.

Deborah started the show in July and had already taped seven shows as of press time. The show can be seen Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. on Xfinity Comcast channels 19 and 1070 and Frontier channel 6089. Additionally, the show can be seen online on YouTube and on www.vsctv.com.

“I cover arts, entertainment, and culture in our area,” Deborah says of the show. “I cover anything that has to do with entertainment.”

The show features interviewers with people connected to the arts and entertainment world. Some topics covered so far include profiles of The Kate and The Goodspeed Opera House.

“I’ve done seven shows so far I’m passionate about and love desperately,” says Deborah.

Of the episodes she’s done so far, Deborah says she has two favorites. One was a look at the Goodspeed Opera House which holds a special part in Deborah’s heart.

“I attended the Goodspeed for many years as a patron,” says Deborah.

Another episode in particular that Deborah enjoys was her interview with actor Tom Stratford. The Stratford interview was special to Deborah because she’s known Stratford for many years, starting when Deborah herself dabbled in acting.

Deborah minored in theater when she was in college and tried to seriously pursue acting after she graduated. Though it was her passion for so long, Deborah eventually decided that acting wasn’t for her.

“I found I was much better at being myself than pretending to be someone else,” she says.

Upon moving on from acting, Deborah began a career for a media company where she produced six talk shows and hosted three of them. The shows were broadcast on the Internet as well as on radio.

“I found my footing and felt like I was good at it,” Deborah says.

When Deborah moved to Clinton in 2018, she soon found a way to put her background in media production to use.

Soon after she arrived in town, Deborah saw an ad in an issue of the Harbor News for Valley Shore Community Television, which sparked her interest in the station and in the possibility of hosting her own show.

“I wasn’t sure I wanted to get back on camera, but underneath it all I think I really did,” Deborah reflects.

At first Deborah volunteered to be a camera operator for one of the shows, but then she was ready for something more.

Running the program takes a tremendous amount of commitment because it truly is a one-woman show. Deborah works as the executive producer in addition to being the host which means she’s in charge of booking guest and all the off-camera work.

Her favorite part of doing the show is “being back on camera. I never realized I missed it like I did.”

Though the show is barely two months old, Deborah has high hopes for it. As recognition of it builds, she hopes to expand her coverage to the whole state and perhaps beyond. In this time of COVID-19, when many artistic venues are closed, Deborah says that many of the guests are thrilled with the chance to come on the show to connect with their fans and talk about how they plan to return. Deborah says her goal is to provide her audience with a good show.

“I want to give a quality program and have them learn something and enjoy it even after they turn off their TV,” says Deborah. “It’s a way to give the public some quality programing.”

In her spare time, Deborah of course stays up to date on theater and film productions, and while she can’t pick just one favorite, she says she likes everything from comedy to drama to science fiction.

Deborah has lived in Clinton for almost three years and she originally grew up in North Branford and Madison.

“I moved out of the area years ago and I decided I wanted to be closer to my family,” she explains. “My favorite part is being near my family. Now we see each other all the time.”

Besides now being closer to her family, Deborah says she likes spending time in nature, taking walk to the beach, and making new friends.


Eric O’Connell covers news for Clinton for Zip06. Email Eric at e.oconnell@shorepublishing.com.

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