This is originally posted on the blog I run for MainStreet Theatre Company. on August 17, 2015
“What are you going to do with a theatre degree?”
The question I have consistently been asked since my senior year of high school, and I always find the answer to be painfully obvious.
“I’m going to do theatre.”
“Oh so you’re going to be an actor!”
While of course I would love to be a big star in a Broadway musical, there is a slight problem: I’m not very good at signing or dancing. Admittedly I was the “favorite” in my high school department but it was not all that big of a surprise when I found out it wasn’t because of my astounding acting abilities, but because I was the only one that memorized the whole script and showed up to rehearsal on time.
It was my work ethic, me showing up to every work call, light hang, extra rehearsals that lead to my director knowing she could trust me as a lead actor. That all changed when she asked me “do you know what a stage manager is?”
So that brings me here, about to start senior year of college as a theatre major and a luckily grabbed a job as producer’s assistant at a beautiful huge city theatre. I couldn’t be happier.
“Okay but what do you do?”
On a fundamental and tangible level: mostly make copies, and fill out paperwork, organize things, and try to make my boss’s job a little easier.
Last week I got to help run auditions, make sure people checked in and had everything they need and brought them in to audition for Murry and the creative team. (Who I will talk more about later, all great people) I tried to keep things organized and on schedule and called people, anything most assistants do.
It was so exciting to see the thought process behind the director, musical director and producer and how they felt about each audition and past productions and everything in between. I felt like I was in this secret club that most never get to see (since most are actors). It was amazing to be one of the first people to see who got cast and who got cut and actually knowing why.
What I think I do: I help an amazing theatre company put together shows that engage children and show them the musical world of elephants and pigs being best friends in a land of unbreakable toys and ice cream.
MainStreet is putting together shows for young audiences to help engage their imagination and stir their creativity at a young age. Many of these children have never seen a play before and haven’t been exposed to the wonderful magic that is a theatrical production.
While maybe I don’t get to be a designer or make any production decisions but this is still an amazing learning experience to see first-hand what goes into putting on a professional production. I get to see how Murry makes decisions and connection and compromises, which is more helpful than any of the classes I have taken or any show I have stage managed at school (my drama program is still helpful, don’t get me wrong)
So maybe I don’t actually do that much.
But I still count this as doing theatre.