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Theatre Management

The Theatre Management Module is a platform to bring together our community of theatre producers and managers to connect their various theatre management experiences at the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, in the student theatre community (STUCO), in professional theatre internships in Chicago and elsewhere, with SoC and other Schools’ theatre management-related classes to create a comprehensive, multi-year learning and transitional arc into the professional theatre. 

This module will prepare students to begin careers as theatre managers and leaders after graduating from Northwestern University. 

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of professional theatre management in America today. 
  • Articulate an individual theatre management and leadership point of view. 
  • Demonstrate practical theatre producing and management skills, including staff and volunteer leadership and management, production management, stage management, budgeting, contracts and negotiations, developing new works, community engagement and marketing and fundraising within the Wirtz Center. 

Courses

Theatre Management Coures Requirements

Co-Curriculars

Community Building Activities 

Theatre Management and Leadership Seminar: A two-hour seminar will be held once each quarter and will include a leading theatre manager/leader from Chicago (or elsewhere) who will speak about a timely and relevant theatre management topic as well as about their career path and current projects. 

Capstone

The Capstone should include: 

  • A Personal Professional Portfolio which must include: 
    • A professional bio of not more than 250 words 
    • A professional theatre management resume 
    • At least two (2) letters of recommendation focused on your management and leadership skills 
    • A sample professional cover letter 
    • A cover page and a table of contents 
    • Please note: the Portfolio must be submitted both electronically and on paper 
  • Submission of a Theatre Management Work Portfolio that includes at least one of the following: Production Book, Business Plan, Strategic Plan, Budget, Marketing and P.R. Plan, Fundraising/Development Plan from classes taken in the Module. 
  • A Theatre Management Reflection Statement which includes the following: 
    • Understanding of professional theatre management as well as a familiarization with the individuals who are leaders in the field today 
    • An overview of theatre companies and other professional producing and theatre management opportunities/jobs available in the United States and globally 
    • A Theatre Management and Leadership philosophy statement reflecting module coursework, theatre management experiences on and off campus, professional practices, management skills and leadership styles. 
    • Reflection of any off campus productions and/or theatre companies that illuminates theatre management and leadership challenges and successes 
  • An in-depth oral review of your Theatre Management Work Portfolio and a defense of your Theatre Management Reflection Statement. 
  • A Plan articulating reasonable post-graduation professional goals and next steps that will guide the student to begin working in and/or further studying professional theatre management: 
    • What skills have been developed/experiences they have had at NU 
    • A list of professional attainable goals based on said skills/experiences 
    • A list of future goals attainable in three years or beyond 

Industry Board

Zachary Baer 

 

Zachary Baer (C10) is the Production Development Coordinator at Disney Theatrical Group in New York. He works closely with the creative and production teams of Disney’s Broadway shows throughout the development process. During his time with Disney Theatrical Group, he has worked on the development and rollout of Aladdin, Newsies, and Shakespeare in Love, and he is currently working on the Broadway-bound production of Frozen. Prior to joining Disney Theatrical Group, Zachary worked at Roundabout Theatre Company and was also a Co-Producer of Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway. Zachary volunteers on the TEDxBroadway Planning Committee and the Northwestern University Alumni Admissions Council. As a student, he produced The Dolphin Show and the New York Showcase and served as a board member for Arts Alliance and The Waa-Mu Show.

Dennis J. Conners 

Dennis J. Conners (Production Stage Manager) is a resident PSM at Chicago Shakespeare Theater where he has stage managed over ten productions, including: Kings Charles III, Othello, Ride the Cyclone, King Lear, The Little Mermaid, A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol and Othello: The Remix (CST and International Tours).Other Chicago credits include: Appropriate, Disconnect (Victory Gardens Theater); Freud’s Last Session (Mercury Theater, CRC Productions); Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, The Houdini Box, Goodnight Moon (Chicago Children’s Theatre); Ethan Frome, Peter Pan: A Play, Lookingglass Alice, Fedra: Queen of Haiti, The Arabian Nights, Clay (Lookingglass Theatre Company); What Once We Felt (About Face Theatre); Dangerous Beauty and In the Bubble (American Music Theatre Project). Off-Broadway credits include Clay (Lincoln Center Theater) and Lookingglass Alice (New Victory Theater). Regional credits include: Clay (Kirk Douglas Theatre, Kansas City Rep) and Lookingglass Alice (Alliance Theatre). Mr. Conners is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he has served as adjunct lecturer in stage management and currently serves as a stage management mentor. 

Jon Faris 

Jon Faris joined Writers Theatre in 2005 and managed the design and construction of a new state-of-the-art theatre center, designed by internationally renowned architect and MacArthur Fellow recipient Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects. Previously, Jon was the managing director of Uma Productions, an award-winning theater company in Chicago, and worked at Steppenwolf Theatre Company as the Coordinator of The School at Steppenwolf and as the assistant to Artistic Director Martha Lavey and Executive Director David Hawkanson. A graduate of Northwestern University, he has guest lectured on arts management at Northwestern University and serves on the alumni advisory board for NU’s Theatre Management Module program. 

Kaitlin Fine 

Kaitlin Fine graduated from the School of Communication in 2009 and started working in New York shortly thereafter. She has worked in the industry in various capacities, from executive assistant to creative development to interim director of AMTP back at NU. After opening Hamilton on Broadway and spending a year with the New York company, she followed the show back to the Midwest and is now the Associate Company Manager of Hamilton in Chicago. On campus, she was a Waa-Mu Co-Chair and on the Arts Alliance board, and she can confidently say that Broadway is exactly like student theater, just with more 0s. 

Sara Gammage 

Sara Gammage is currently working as the Assistant Stage Manager on the Chicago production of Hamilton: An American Musical. Other credits include the national tour of Motown the Musical, and local productions with Porchlight Music Theatre, Paramount Theatre, First Folio, Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Marriott Theatre, and several seasons with Peninsula Players Theatre in Door County, WI. 

Laura Matalon 

Laura Matalon, President Allied Live, has been a leader and innovator in marketing live entertainment properties for 30 years.  She has led the marketing campaigns for more than 50 Broadway and touring Broadway properties including RENT, The Book of Mormon, Hair, Avenue Q, Billy Elliot, Kinky Boots and the upcoming tour of Hamilton.   Allied Live is the premiere entertainment marketing agency for the commercial theatrical industry. Laura is a long-time member of The Broadway League where she is an active participant having served as co-chair and/or a member of the planning committee for their annual Spring Road Conference for more than 20 years.   She also sits on the Intra-Industry and Road Marketing Committees.  She was one of the first recipients of The Broadway League’s Outstanding Achievement in Road Marketing Awards.   She has served as a speaker at meetings and conferences as well as guest lectured at Northwestern University, Columbia College Chicago and at the Commercial Theater Institute.  She sits on the board of Chicago’s Tony Award winning Lookingglass Theater, and as an Advisory Board member for Chicago’s Windy City Playhouse and Broadwaycon, Broadway’s own fan convention.  In her spare time she volunteers at Gilda’s Club and Inspiration Café and has recently started tap lessons. 

Sponsoring Department: Theatre 

Module Coordinator (main student contacts): Barbara Butts and Brannon Bowers 

Module Advisor: Catherine Carrigan 

How to Enroll

This module is open to all NU undergraduates.

Entry Procedure: 

All NU students are eligible for the Theatre Management Module. Students will be admitted into the module following an interview to determine their interest in the module. After being admitted, students will be guided by a mentor in the selection of optional courses to match their specific area(s) of interest in theatre management. 

To apply contact Catherine Carrigan, module advisor, c-carrigan@northwestern.edu