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BWW Blog: Sharing Their Stories - An Interview with Megan Lohne

The latest installment of 'Sharing Their Stories' features Megan Lohne, a theater creator, agent, and overall innovator!

BWW Blog: Sharing Their Stories - An Interview with Megan Lohne

Hello Broadway lovers, creators, and theatre students around the world! Welcome back to the blog, and to my new segment: Sharing Their Stories. For the next few weeks, I'll be sharing the journeys and artistic discoveries of notable artists in my DC area, and around the world. Every person I've had the honor to speak with, carries unique experiences and perspectives about the constantly changing world of the arts. I hope their stories serve as inspiration, demystification of the road to artistic success, and as fuel to keep creating.

When I was in high school, I naively believed that the only way I could exist in the theatre world was through acting. I didn't think that I had the time or abilities to study anything else besides performing onstage, so I didn't even consider other aspects of the theatrical world. Since studying theatre in college, that mindset has completely shifted. I referred to this in one of my November articles, in which I wrote, "actors are an incredibly multifaceted group of people. We all have those special hyphens in our names, signifying the cornucopia of skills and resources we can bring to a cast." I've learned that living an artistic life does not just refer to stage acting, but all the work that goes on behind the scenes to build a performance. Learning new skills and acquiring new positions in all different parts of theatre does not diminish your reputation as an actor. Instead, it makes you a more valuable and knowledgeable one, with more skills and experience you can bring to the table. Megan Lohne, talent agent at The Talent House, playwright, founder of Like Fresh Skin, director and adjunct professor at Adelphi certainly has a lot to bring to the table.

I met Megan at this year's Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival when I attended her workshop on navigating the performance business. I was floored by the multitude of positions she's held within the theatrical community, and how each opportunity not only added to her resume, but to her overall knowledge and connections within this industry. I couldn't wait to discuss her career progression as well as get some advice for us aspiring creators. Here is her story.

Megan Lohne fell in love with theatre in her high school days. She helped stage performances at community playhouses and interned at Adelphi University as an assistant director in her senior year. From there, she pursued a BFA in acting at Adelphi and began creating her own path. "I wasn't confined to just being an actor, I was able to explore and connect with myself." While she studied acting, Megan also began playwrighting- and had her first play accepted to Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The experience inspired a huge personal shift. Megan realized that while she still loved acting, "I just loved writing more." During undergrad, she began submitting her plays to various festivals and racking up professional credits, experiences that helped her when applying to grad school. She applied to master's programs and ended up pursuing her MFA in playwrighting at New School. While in graduate school, she was accepted to The Royal Court- Young Writer's Program and moved to London to study playwrighting further. "I remember being super overwhelmed- and here's a good tip for graduating students. Take a breath, and really consider all the opportunities coming to you. Looking back, if I could give advice, I would say to focus on maintaining professional connections within the industry as opposed to just completing your assignments."

Post London, Megan accepted a day job running the recreation program at a local nursing home. "There's nothing wrong with taking a day job if you need it to be financially grounded, as long as you continue to stay artistically motivated." While working at the nursing home, Megan continued to write and dabble in the world of comedy, training at Upright Citizen's Brigade (comedy and improv group). Studying comedy helped lead Megan towards new career and personal discoveries. "Because I'm a writer, I'm awful at 'not thinking' in improv. But I did start gravitating towards the area of storytelling and writing stories I would perform." Megan ended up writing and performing her own show at The Time Out New York Lounge, the bar below New World Stages. During this time of artistic development, she reached a turning point. "I was climbing in my healthcare day job, but it wasn't what I wanted. And I made this leap, leaving my job to pursue the arts full time." Megan pivoted her focus towards agenting, a position she'd always been intrigued by. She applied to countless agent organizations and was accepted a month later assisting at Dulcina Eisen Agency. "It was a really fast paced situation, but I was equipped to handle it. There is something to be said about being older in a job. I already had management experience, and I wasn't as nervous to ask for the things I needed. That comes with maturity. There's nothing wrong with pivoting, it's just a matter of when and how."

After working at Eisen and mastering the industry for three years, Megan took a position running the legit (non-commercial) program at a startup agency. "I was thrown into the fire, really in charge of the entire acting program. I was able to use what I learned from Eisen to help me in my next position. But, at the end of the day, I knew I didn't want to stay at a start-up. So, I applied to The Talent House Agency, and that's where I am today." Megan may have had her hands full with learning the agenting business, but that didn't stop her from writing. "Over the time I was working at agencies, I'd been contracted to write two feature films. I also got a residency on Governor's Island to workshop one of my plays, which is how Like Fresh Skin came to be."

Like Fresh Skin is Megan (and her Adelphi friend, Shoshanah's) immersive theatre company, "synergizing original text-driven narratives and championing untold feminist stories." Megan embarked on two incredibly different journeys, developing different spheres of her artistic self, at the exact same time. And according to her, that's something to be celebrated instead of shunned. "It's okay to not always have an end result. If something excites me, I will do it. That's what it means to be a multi-hyphenate. I think that branding is very important, but you can brand multiple skills. You can brand yourself as a multi-hyphenate."

Today, Megan lives a truly artistic life. She teaches auditioning at Adelphi, virtually stages performances with Like Fresh Skin, works as an agent with The Talent House, and continues to direct, write, and collaborate with students and industry professionals alike. How does she balance it all? The answer lies in prioritizing and pursuing what you love. "Opportunities come when they come, and that's part of this job. Every day is not dictated, but I like that. I typically go over my list of what I need to accomplish for the day, and I write a little in the morning (I'm on a deadline) and then I go through agent or teaching work and cross off anything I need to do for that. And obviously, when an important agent matter comes in, that's my priority. I pick up my to-do list later. I also try to make personal space for myself too, that's something you really need."

A busy and successful theatre creator, agent and overall innovator, Megan's advice for success is solid and clear. "Take those classes, put yourself in as many projects and opportunities as possible, because this is where you can meet people. Where can you get your foot in the door right now? Work begets work. Keep your eye on the prize. Be true to what you want to do in the moment but do it with intention."


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