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.