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Find out why Rebecca Marks knows "it could happen" if you read about her experiences.

Photo/Fran Sutherland

It Could Happen

Rebecca Marks
Recent NAU Graduate and Stage Manager for Arizona Broadway Theatre

Once upon a time, in the height of a so-called economic downturn, I had the audacity to graduate from college with a degree in theatre. I held my head high and, with a prompt-book-turned-portfolio in my hand, I went in search of the dream job: to be a stage manager. But just as we all suspected it wasn’t easy. I scoured, joined linkedin, spent hours on artsearch, talked to teachers and their contacts and their contacts’ contacts.

At the end of my summer season at a California Shakespeare Company, my big moment came.

“Hi Rebecca, this is the production coordinator at Arizona Broadway Theatre, how are you today?”

“I’m great thanks”

“Well, I’m hoping to make your day even better”

And he did. In fact, that production coordinator and his theatre company have made my days a whole lot better in the past few weeks, where I’ve been working as the new stage manager for ABT.

It’s been a long road to get here. Every day, as I sit in rehearsal, I realize the things I learned in preparation for this job hardly came from class time but rather the walls of a design lab and within the minutes of weekly meetings. Every week during undergrad, I got together with classmates who could appreciate my documents and dilemmas. We could laugh, talk, commiserate, and brainstorm about all things backstage. Yes, I read Kelly’s book in my intro stage management class, but it was the workshops and the interviews, the USITT meetings, and the national and state conferences that made me really believe that I could make a career out of technical theatre.

Last year, I was lucky enough to partake in the USITT Stage Management Mentoring Project and it was amazing. The experience changed my whole outlook on professional theatre. I would have never expected that, at age 22, I would be a professional, fully capable and eager to assist in the growth of the wonderful company for which I work.

Looking back, if USITT has taught me one thing, it’s that educational theatre and professional theatre aren’t so different. We’re creating theatre and putting it on stage. We’re teaching ourselves how to network. We’re sharing documents, skills, tips, tricks, and stories. USITT is the perfect re-creation of a production team and the collaboration that a theatre company represents. From Phoenix to Houston, Cincinnati and to the future, thank you USITT. I can only hope that I’m able to “pay it forward” and be a part of the next 50 years of USITT. ’Cause who knows?

That little freshman absentmindedly walking into this week’s Northern Arizona University USITT meeting might just turn out to be the next stage manager for Arizona Broadway Theatre. I mean, hey, it could happen.

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