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BWW Blog: How to Succeed in Business School Without Being a Theatre Major

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This blog post is mostly me saying hey to, BroadwayWorld.com, I guess? So hey BroadwayWorld.com, I'm Maeve, a closet (not really) theatre geek studying marketing, media studies and global business at the University of Colorado Boulder (known from here on out as CU/CU Boulder/Boulder). While I'm not studying theatre at my university, I'm excited to share my experience navigating 'the business of theatre,' a part of this industry that I believe is, I'll say it, slept on.

Let me start by answering some of the common questions I get.

If you love Broadway, why don't you go to school in New York City? Great question, everyone who has ever asked me that. I love the Big Apple as much as the next theatre nerd, trust me. I'm originally from north New Jersey and hold those roots near and dear to me. But as time and distance grew and changed between me and NYC through various moves, my college plans did too. As my parents so wisely said, "you have your whole life to live in New York." And they are right, and I don't have my whole life to live on the beautiful CU Boulder campus. I feel incredibly lucky to have a 'traditional' college campus experience (football, biking to class, subpar dining halls, we have it all!) below the beautiful Flatirons and in one of the best college towns in the U.S.

BWW Blog: How to Succeed in Business School Without Being a Theatre Major
I feel incredibly lucky to have a 'traditional' college campus experience (football, biking to class, subpar dining halls, we have it all!) below the beautiful Flatirons and in one of the best college towns in the U.S.

Okay so no New York, but why aren't you majoring in theatre? Another fantastic query. Like so many others, I've been a part of theatre for most of my life. Unexpected casts that became family, wonky sleep schedules during tech weeks, accidentally saying embarrassing things backstage while my mic was still on, the works. I was good, but I wasn't Broadway good. I knew it and was okay with it. What I did know was that I still wanted to be a part of the industry and that I had a different set of skills to contribute: business development, marketing, analytical thinking, operations, production, public relations, etc. And I'll be the one to say it, business was a strategic degree choice, applying to just about anything I could be interested in, theatre included.

Okay, so we got those out of the way. During my first two years at CU, I've found theatre in unexpected places (which always turn out to be the best). For those theatre geeks that are secretly walking to class listening to the Hamilton soundtrack or thinking about Les Mis references in their history class instead of actually listening, here are some of the fantastic opportunities I've found that have continued to let my inner showtune sass shine.

  1. I owe it all to CU Presents (not really all of it, but a lot). At the beginning of my freshman year, I was sent a job posting by a friend (who did actually decide to pursue theatre at Boulder): Marketing Assistant at CU Presents, home to CU's Artist Series, Theatre and Dance, College of Music, and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. AKA, a perfect fit for me. Not only was I able to build my resume and marketing skills with the role, but I was among fantastic supervisors and colleagues who liked listening to Hadestown (I'm looking at you, Erika) and talking about various connections and opportunities at CU. It was so beneficial to get an behind-the-scenes look at art at a large university.

  2. I auditioned for these on a whim, but I had the pleasure to be a part of a series of student-directed scenes. It introduced me to a few friendly faces in the theatre department and reminded me of the rush, albeit small, of live theatre in a time that I needed it most. These are a great way to get back into performing without committing to an entire show if your university offers them!

  3. Nothing reaffirms the power of networking like securing a job through a connection you've formed. After doing an informational interview with a theatre professor on campus, I came to her mind first when an Assistant House Manager position became available. I set up an interview, let my passion shine, and got the gig. Front-of-house? Incredibly underrated. I learned so much about a part of the theatrical experience that I hadn't touched yet, primarily by working on our university's production of Into the Woods. Fire alarms, unhappy patrons, incorrect tickets, we saw it all. 10/10 would recommend (and I got to wear a headset!).

  4. My house managing experience with the theatre and dance department helped me land another front-of-house position with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. It was so useful to experience front-of-house on a larger (and outdoor!) scale, requiring more quick thinking, training, and interacting with a diverse set of audience members. If you haven't had front-of-house experience yet, try it out! You know you miss that pre-show energy.

  5. I've transitioned more my sophomore year to jobs in the business school, but I still find my theatre outlets. I'm lucky to have rediscovered my love for writing through being a part of Her Campus, POPSUGAR, and now BroadwayWorld.com! This has allowed me to write truly about what I want, lots of which is unsurprisingly theatre-related. If on stage, backstage, front-of-house, etc. isn't for you but you still have thoughts you want to share, try putting a pen to paper about it. People want to read what you're passionate about!

Well, that wraps up my 'hey' to BroadwayWorld.com. I'm excited to continue writing about how I'm succeeding in business (school) while being a theatre nerd. Till next time...


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From This Author Student Blogger: Maeve Reilly