Behind the Curtain Q&A: Memphis Production Stage Manager Katie M. Dayley

backstage 2With the start of a new MainStage season, we want to showcase the people behind the Rep stage in a series called “Behind the Curtain.” This weekly Q&A series highlights staff members who keep the Arkansas Repertory Theatre running on a daily basis.

Someone who helps keep productions running smoothly– including Memphis, running through Sept. 28– is Production Stage Manager Katie M. Dayley.

Here is what she has to say about her theatre experience here at The Rep:

How long have you worked at The Rep? Off and on from November 2012

Education/training: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Stage Management from the University of Utah

How’d you get into the theatre biz: I fell in love with stage management in college.  My senior year, I did a one-show internship at the Pioneer Theatre Company that turned into a two-year job.  When that was over, I had earned my equity card and have been working as a professional stage manager ever since.

Why your job rocks: I get to be with each production from before the first rehearsal until the end of the last show. Throughout the process, each show grows and comes together like a living creature that then emerges on opening night.  I love being a part of that, knowing the show so well that I see the little adjustments and discoveries that happen after we open and knowing that I am able to help present these amazing pieces of collaborative art to the public.

Best work day ever: My favorite day of the process is the first dress rehearsal.  At that point, we’ve been working for three weeks putting together the acting, choreography and music and then adding the lights, music, set and props. But for me, the show finally looks complete when the actors are dressed in costume.  It is a truly magical feeling see all of the hard work and long hours come together in the instant the show starts.

Favorite Rep show you’ve worked on and why: This one!  My current show is always my favorite.

One thing people would be surprised about your job: How physical it is.  Most people hear ‘manager’ and assume I sit behind a desk directing others what to do, but a lot of my job involves running around moving furniture and set pieces, which is very demanding work.

Favorite seat in the house: Slightly house right of center in the front row of the 1st mezzanine.

Best job perk: Meeting new people.  Every show is an instant family and you learn so much about each other by spending time together in rehearsals and hanging out at the company apartments.

Be sure to check back every week to get a glimpse at a different member of The Rep staff. Buy your tickets to Memphis here!