JACQUELINE LAWTON: How long have you lived and worked as a stage manager in DC? What brought you here? Why have you stayed?
KATE KILBANE: I’ve lived and worked in DC as a stage manager since 2000. Having studied political science, I moved here for a job at a non-profit in the solid waste management field. After I transitioned to theatre and became aware of the breadth and vibrancy of the DC theatre community, I’ve enjoyed living here.
JL: What excites you most about being a stage manager? What do you feel your greatest challenges are?
KK: Watching art and the creative process take place. Learning and knowing how to overcome obstacles whether they be in the rehearsal room, during tech or even after opening. I love witnessing moments that really capture what the playwright/director/designers intended. As a stage manager, it can be challenging to identify the weakest link of a production and find ways to improve it.
JL: What traits do you feel a successful Stage Manager should have to support the health and growth of a production?
KK: Strong organizational and communication skills, being adaptable to meet the needs of a production, efficiency, punctuality and professionalism.
JL: Does your work as a Stage Manager pay the bills? If not, what other work do you do and how do you find a balance?
KK: Yes, though I supplement my income between shows when possible with office work. After working in the office for a few weeks, I appreciate my work and love for theatre even more. It just comes naturally.
JL: Looking at your body of work as a stage manager in this community, how conscious are you of selecting plays by women or people of color when deciding your season?
KK: I have worked on numerous plays written by women and people of color during my career as well as plays directed by women and designed by people of color. I look for opportunities to work on productions that are interesting, challenging and stimulating, and if one by a woman or person of color comes along that meets that criteria and everything else falls into place, then I would take it.
JL: How do you feel the DC theatre community has addressed the issues of race and gender parity? How has this particular issue impacted you and your ability to work?
KK: I think DC theatres continue to make an effort to address it. By letting new voices and perspectives be heard, I think DC theatres can help their audiences grow in understanding themselves and the world around them. I am disheartened to see very talented minority actors having difficulty finding work, and if there was one area to be addressed, that would be a focus.
JL: DC audiences are ...
KK: very intelligent.
JL: DC actors, designers and directors are ..
KK: very talented and hard-working.
JL: DC critics are ...
KK: I don’t read every review but I think they are generally articulate with a strong point of view.
JL: What advice do you have for an up and coming DC based stage manager?
KK: Check out the theaters in town to get a sense of where you might like to work and could be a good fit. Network and send resumes around town.
JL: What's next for you as a stage manager? Where can we keep up with your work?
KK: I am currently the Assistant Stage Manager for Violet at Ford’s Theatre and next for me is stage managing The Admission at Theater J. I occasionally dabble on Facebook.
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!