For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Michaela and I’ve been Murry’s assistant for about a year and a half. I’ve been running this blog since August 2015, but unfortunately this will be my last blog post as I am leaving my position at MainStreet to study abroad for my last semester of college.
Since my first blog post was about my theatre education, I thought it would be appropriate to end with how much I’ve learned since then.
5 Things I learned as a Producer’s Assistant.
I’ve worked at MainStreet Theatre Company since May 2015, and today is officially my last day because I will be studying abroad next semester in London. This job is one of the things I cherish most about my college education, and it wasn’t even part of my curriculum.
1) I learned theatre jobs can have stability.
Something most theatre majors hear on a regular bases is “good luck getting a job.” It is a competitive field that lacks a lot of stability and is over saturated with people who have dreams of Broadway. I worked freelance for my first two years of college thinking that what everyone said was true.
Then I got this job and I realized I could have a stable and fulfilling job in theatre. I didn’t have to bounce from one show to the next and instead could give all my passion and dedication to one theatre company. Murry’s connections also helped me get an internship and see that there are countless jobs in theatre that are similar to what I do. It was an enlightening experience that helped me discover my career path in theatre.
2) I learned office skills.
This isn’t exactly theatre related, but its something I didn’t learn anywhere else. Unless you’re a business major, they don’t really teach classes that explain how to work in an office. Working here I learned how to write a proper email, comfortably talk on the phone with strangers, use a copy machine, and just last week I learned how to use a fax machine.
These skills are important to working in any field, and I was lucky to have learned them here.
3) I learned to have a higher standard for theatre.
When Murry hired me in 2015 I had only really worked on college shows or small non-union productions in Los Angeles. I was normally surrounded by shows that were haphazardly thrown together to stay under budget and work around everyone’s schedule.
I immediately knew it was different at MainStreet. When I was hired in May I was put to work on tasks for the show that was opening in October. When I saw that show, “Elephant and Piggie’s We Are In A Play!” it all made sense. It was beautifully executed and high quality theatre. The target audience was 4 and up, but even at 20 I was moved by the story and design. The show was nominated for an Ovation award and in my own small way I got to help, which brings me to my next point.
4) I learned that every detail matters and every person matters
While for the most part I was making copies and sending emails, someone had to do it, and it was important to helping the theatre company run smoothly.
There were glamorous moments, like helping Murry with the Ovation Awards at the Ahmanson Theatre, but a lot of times it was just like any job. What helped me get through the boring tasks of filing papers and data entry was knowing that I was in some way helping thousands of children experience theatre.
5) I learned why I love theatre.
I saw my first show when I was 8 years old on a field trip. I still cherish that experience at 22. This week we had hundreds of students come and see “The Secret Garden” and I am sure they will cherish the shows they see here for years to come.
I loved theatre since I was 14 and started high school, but I never really knew why. Working here helped me realize that theatre is meant to educate and change the world. The number one thing theatre teaches is empathy, and with empathy the world can be a better place. Exposing children to these lessons helps cultivate a new generation that focuses on kindness and understanding.
This has helped me discover my true passion, producing and community engagement with theatre. Seeing Murry’s passion for these productions and plays has been contagious and what she does at MainStreet is special. Every child needs to be exposed to theatre and now I plan on doing whatever I can to help make that happen.