by Jenna Worden Stage Management/Production Apprentice
(This blog post is part of a continued series created by our apprentices about how and why they fell in love with the theatre)
The Worden Family Photo Album has some great pictures of me asleep with books on my face. I’ve always loved stories, and used to set my stuffed animals up for story time. I got in trouble for staying up too late reading. My mom thought I might become an author or an English teacher. So imagine her surprise when I called and told her I was adding a theatre degree to my course load. I hadn’t expressed aloud my love for theatre until that day. It’s not as if the decision was completely unfounded; theatre was one of my minors. I had done church plays and a couple shows in high school, but I was primarily a band kid. I think most people (myself included) thought if I went into the arts, writing or music would be the avenue of choice. Looking back, theatre was a somewhat ludicrous choice, but it was a choice born of a strong instinct. It also turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.
I found my people, my tribe, when I joined the theatre department. I dove in headfirst, joining the NAUghty Bits Improv Troupe and the Educational Theatre Company. These two organizations formed the nucleus of my college experience. NAUghty Bits brought me my closest friends, taught me to trust my instincts, and gave me countless laughs. ETC provided me with opportunities to teach K-12 students and organize daylong workshops for schools. It was one of the most stressful, rewarding things I’ve done.
I got into Stage Management late in the game. My high school didn’t have a technical theatre program, so I wasn’t exposed to it until college. Over lunch one day, a friend mentioned she had to drop her position as Assistant Stage Manager for an upcoming show due to personal conflicts. I mentioned I’d like to try stage managing, and a few emails later I was the new ASM for our production of Pride and Prejudice. Stage managing turned out to be a perfect fit. I love organization, color coding, paperwork, and logistics. From then on I took every stage management position I could, and I’m thrilled to continue developing my skills with Gloucester Stage.
In addition to theatre, I have a degree in History Education and a minor in Spanish. I used to consider myself fluent, but I haven’t spoken the language in some time. I tried to combine my interests whenever I could, particularly after spending a life-changing week in Guatemala. Meeting people I had only read about in the abstract brought to focus a desire to use theatre and history as a means of telling quieted people’s stories. I feel I have an artistic responsibility to make public the patterns of history I see playing out in the modern world. I am a storyteller at heart, and I can’t wait to be a part of the enchanting tales Gloucester is telling this year.
*GSC Blog posts are the select opinions of individual employees and may not necessarily reflect the views of Gloucester Stage as a whole.