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Aimee Holland (left) works at a rehearsal for the production of "Jesus Christ Superstar." (Photo: Lilly Glenister) Aimee Holland (left) works at a rehearsal for the production of "Jesus Christ Superstar." (Photo: Lilly Glenister)

Stage Manager Pursues Passions

SDSU student Aimee Holland pursues her passion for theatre through stage managing.
By Nicole Badgley, The Daily Aztec

Stage managers are among the first roles to join the production of a play or musical. They are incorporated into auditions, castings, design meetings, rehearsals and directors’ decisions.

They are the ones calling the light and sound cues, costume changes and scenery movements.

As a theatre, television and film senior with an emphasis in stage management, Aimee Holland knows all about this art form.

As a stage manager, Holland works hands-on with directors, making sure they are updated on any changes made the previous day and helping to move along the actors during rehearsals and final shows.

Ever since she can remember, Holland said she had a passion for theatre.
She first pursued this passion by performing in theatre at a young age and learning to play instruments and read music in junior high school.

Her father and brothers all pursued careers in engineering, while her mother was a history and English teacher.

While she was the first one to pursue a career in the arts, she said her family was always supportive of her passion.

Holland was originally a performance major when she transferred to San Diego State University.

After taking a stage management class, she knew that it was something she wanted to pursue.

“It kind of just fell into place and I was like ‘This is it, this is what I want to do,’” Holland said. “My mentor, Jay Sheehan, has been great with sort of filtering me into the system here and he’s gotten me some professional work outside of school.”

Last summer, Holland worked as a stage management intern on “Macbeth” at the Old Globe Theatre and as a production assistant for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game concert series at Petco Park.

Most recently, Holland stage managed the production of “Jesus Christ Superstar in Concert.” This production was a score, meaning there was no dialogue between scenes, so being able to read and follow along to music is essential to this job.

The collaboration between the other workers is her favorite part of stage management.

“I get to work with the actors and the directors and the designers,” Holland said. “They’re all different sorts of people and they all need to be taken care of in their specific ways. I think that’s the best part of the job.”

Holland said her inspiration in this art form is doing what she loves to do and not letting anything stop her from pursuing that passion.

“In the department, we recently lost a good friend of ours, a recent MFA graduate and something that we’ve all pulled from that is to not stop fighting for what we want,” Holland said. “That has been my inspiration as of recently…not taking life for granted and just doing what I love to do and just believing in and holding true to that.”

Sheehan said likability, organizational skills, relational skills, exceptional timing and the ability to multitask are all attributes that make a great stage manager.

Sheehan said Holland is so successful at stage managing because she naturally possesses all these skills. She is also impeccable with her word and follows through with what she says she will do without fail, he said.

“She gets the job done and I think that’s why she is requested so often is because she goes beyond the show,” Sheehan said. “In the short time she was here, she’s been an exceptional stage manager and the professors are asking for her personally to do shows and that’s a great thing to have when you’re getting ready to go out of school is relationships that you built be in place so that you can use them later in your life.”

She said she wants to relocate to the East Coast and eventually make her mark on Broadway.

“She just has to be passionate about what she wants to do,” Sheehan said. “In that passion she’ll find her own motivation. I think as any art form, if you’re passionate about it, it will come naturally. She’s exceptional because she is who she is.”

This article originally appeared in The Daily Aztec.