Thirteen years ago, I walked into the StageSource office on my first day in khakis and a button down shirt for my first “real” job after college (I have worn jeans and a t-shirt every day since). The ED had just been fired and it was September which meant there were hundreds of membership renewals that had not been processed. Each needed to be charged and data entered in an ancient computer while a volunteer cut and pasted (with actual scissors and a glue stick) hotline announcements into a book to be recorded for that week’s TELEPHONE hotline. It took me over a month to get all those renewals in the damn computer and my co-worker had a nasty habit of not showing up for work and smoking out the window when she did.
Two months later, Jeff Poulos showed up and I knew we were going to be ok. I have watched this company which seemed on the brink of disaster blossom, grow and expand along with the theater companies around it. I watched Company One and ASP get founded, watched Boston actors show up on the Huntington stage more and more frequently, watched three different artistic directors run the ART and seen dozens of small companies appear and disappear in the span of a year or two. Our website has changed at least four times and The Source and the telephone hotline are long gone but I can say without a doubt that my career as a theater artist in Boston would not have been possible without StageSource:
-Before I went full-time, I needed something else to help pay the bills and found a backstage job at Blue Man Group through the StageSource hotline. This lead to the role of Tony Whitcomb at Shear Madness and my Equity card.
-Five years ago I wanted more directing work and decided I should try working in schools. I found a job on the StageSource hotline at the Cambridge School of Weston and discovered educational theater and all of its challenges, frustrations and joys. I was hooked.
-Last fall, I responded to a post on the hotline for the Winsor School and got a freelance job directing for the winter. I’ve been offered a full time job teaching drama at Winsor this fall and will be leaving my position as Member Services Manager here at StageSource in June, but I will never forget what this organization has done for me.
Tracking down all of these opportunities on my own would have been a long and arduous task. Instead, I have had a chance to reinvent myself every week when a new batch of postings comes out. I’ve put the hotline together for many years now and I still thrill at how many opportunities there are to participate in this community which brings me to the thing I’ve learned to value most about StageSource; my place in a community.
I have learned how to be a true professional by watching those I have admired and tried to do what they have done. I’ve seen The Party come and go and come again, watched friends win awards and then not work for a year, seen people leave the profession and come back and I am buoyed by the fact that I am not doing this alone. We have great years and we have lean years and there is a place for all of us if we show up and work hard.
A small community theater in New Jersey and several years at Emerson have given me skills and approaches and a work ethic. However, it is StageSource that has given me what I have always wanted: a life in the theater.