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Jenny Friend, Production Stage Manager

Staff Spotlight: Jenny Friend, Production Stage Manager

Posted on January 12, 2024

We sat down with staff member, Jenny Friend, and asked some questions about her position with CTC and how someone could prepare for a career in Stage Management.

CTC: What is your role at CTC?
JF: I am in my 19th year of being the Production Stage Manager.

CTC: What does your job involve?
JF: My job involves people! I primarily support the stage management staff, the run crew, the student actors, the Performing Apprentices and the Student Actor Supervisors; however, I am lucky enough in my work to overlap in some way with almost everyone who works here at CTC – which makes my days very full and rich. On a “normal” day, I might have a conversation with a stage manager to brainstorm the logistics of putting on 5 understudies that night, I might send an email clarifying some payroll questions, I might think about the puzzle of making sure we have room and time to rehearse the puppetry for Alice in Wonderland, I might talk to the head of our crew, Charles, to ensure we have ordered enough snow for the last weeks of Grinch and I might spend an hour with our casting director, Raiyon, imagining an even strong support system for our student actors. I never have a day that repeats. I also stage manage one show per season and serve as the cover for the stage management staff in case anyone needs time away.

CTC: What is your favorite thing about your job?
JF: Right now, at 10:28am, I just walked through the greenroom. We were at “Places” for the top of the show. The students and adults were heading upstairs to tell the story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the 31st time (out of 86!). I got high fives and hugs from multiple Whos. I headed back into my office, and as the house lights went down, I heard the electric screams of joy from 746 school children in the audience. Everything I do contributes to that. There will be student actors in our shows that will gain confidence and strength in who they are through participating in this, and there are young people in the house that are sitting in community with a live story for the first time in their lives. I have to believe that this will all make our world a stronger, kinder place.

CTC: What do you love most about CTC?
JF: I am challenged every day by the incredible staff that works here. Their deep commitment to our mission makes me a better person. We are not afraid to ask each other questions, to break down old structures that don’t work anymore, to dream of a joyful, equitable future. We hold each up.

CTC: How can someone prepare for a career like yours?
JF: There are so many ways to come to a career in theatre. I chose a lot of school (I am an overly curious person and never get tired of both book and life learning) and working in a wide variety of theatres across the country to hone my craft. As a stage manager, it has served me to dabble in almost all areas of theatre, so that I have empathy and language in common with all of our teams. Ultimately, though, live a full life. Be open to your fellow human beings. Hang onto the child and the wonder in your heart.

Production Stage Manager, Jenny Friend, and Family