Student Blog: An Introduction: Get to Know Me!

So much of my early career is based on my identity, specifically as an artist with autism.

Student Blog: An Introduction: Get to Know Me!
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“Be a beacon of light in the world! Put a little alright in the world!” A musical theatre quote that has been a long time favorite of mine and a mantra for how I chose to lead in any project I participate in. 

A bit about me:

Student Blog: An Introduction: Get to Know Me!
Picture Credit: Lance Harding

My name is Madie Winningham and I’m a current student in the BFA program for Stage and Production Management at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. This is my second year at MMC, having previously transferred from a biological anthropology program at Purdue University in Indiana, a school in my hometown. My path to theatre is an incredibly long and unique experience but has helped tremendously in formulating my own unique voice, something I am eternally grateful for. I am a lover of comedy and large-scale, borderline sensory overwhelming productions. The more chaos the better! As a stage manager, I love to be kept on my toes. While school is currently a major part of my life, I also spend a great deal of time working in and being around the New York theatre scene, whether it be a comedy club, an Off-Broadway, or even Off-Off-Broadway space, I find I just can’t walk away!

Student Blog: An Introduction: Get to Know Me!
Picture Credit: Heather Gershonowitz

My primary focus is stage management; however, I also work as a part of the front-of-house team for ATG at the St James Theatre, run my own freelance blog focusing on theatrical history as well as reviews, and I work as an executive assistant to Margaret Hall, a staff writer at Playbill.

These jobs definitely take up a lot of time, but living in New York and getting to be around it all is worth every bit of the work! This is a lot of what my summer looks like, celebrating and doing what I can to spread the love and share some incredible art as well as assisting in the award show circuits, like the Drama Desk awards. I chose not to take extra classes in the summer; however, Marymount Manhattan does offer a variety of summer session classes as a way to get core classes taken care of. 

Outside of theatre, the summertime is when I really try and explore some of my other hobbies. Throughout the hustle and bustle of the school year, it can be extremely hard to find the time and space to relax and try new things. This summer I have been working with film photography and painting!

What's next?

Outside of specifically stage management, the work I’m most proud of is the co-creation and my position as the secretary of the Autistic Theatremakers Alliance. So much of my early career is based on my identity specifically as an artist with autism and it is vital to me to give back to the community that has given me so much. This summer we are working with artists across the country to highlight their day-to-day lives on our social media platforms as well as working alongside the production company of How to Dance in Ohio as they prepare to open in the UK. We are also currently in the works of organizing a panel for the 2024 Broadway Con. 

Student Blog: An Introduction: Get to Know Me!
Picture Credit: Andy Henderson

This upcoming fall semester I am taking five classes, four being theatre-related. I’m most excited about my Stage Management: Logistics and Collaboration class, as it is taught by the head of the stage management program: Lori Zepp, and she is such a delight to learn from. Beginning in around October I will be stage managing a black box project with this class as a side project. The play is either a playwriting or directing project from the students in the other theatrical BFA concentrations and an incredibly exciting opportunity. It is always such a delight to be able to work on new works especially as both the actors and playwrights develop the story together. One thing about the BFA program is that we are given the space to learn alongside and from each other! These projects and new work specifically are an excellent showcase of the mix of creativity and administrative work in stage management that drew me in. 

Our Semester officially begins September 3rd, and other than stage management classes I will also be taking classes in the elements of directing and an analytical class looking at Shakespearean works. In past semesters we have focused on stagecraft, general script analysis, as well as our core classes within the stage management concentrations. Outside of the content I have been able to learn, the people I have been lucky enough to meet through this program have changed my view on art as well as what it means to be a leader in a theatrical setting. Art is fleeting, and many shows spend years in development only to be met with limited runs, yet the relationships we create are lifelong.