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Working in the Theater and Dance Department

Curious about student employment? McKenna shares her experiences working with the Theater and Dance Department!

Curious about student employment? McKenna shares her experiences working with the Theater and Dance Department!

One of the highlights of my Carleton experience has been my involvement with the Theater and Dance Department. I love working as both an Office Assistant and a Technical Assistant. This year, I will be splitting my time between both positions. I’m very excited!

Herb Johnson III's rehearsal
Spoiler alert: I work in a really cool department!

What does an Office Assistant do?

Office Assistants can be found in every department at Carleton. In this position, a student worker will help out with general administrative tasks. This can include making deliveries around campus or scanning documents. I was assigned to this position during my first year at Carleton. I have particularly loved getting to complete various tasks for different members of the department!

Weitz Commons from above
The view from my typical work spot.

What about a Technical Assistant?

A Technical Assistant is better known as a Shop Worker. These students work on the Player’s Production each term as well as other projects. Generally, shop workers do technical theater tasks. This can range from hanging and focusing lights to building sawhorses to stage managing the production. I love the variety of work I get to do in this position and how much I’ve learned about lighting!

A scene from the Theater and Dance Department's production of The Heidi Chronicles
There are also students who work in the Costume Shop!

Working during COVID

Although last year was certainly not business-as-usual, I was still able to work with the Theater and Dance department. We stayed at least six feet apart from each other when working in person. Some tasks were able to be completed at home. I felt incredibly safe while working during the fall, and though I missed our typical work routines I am really glad we were still able to see each other safely! If you have any concerns, definitely reach out to your work supervisor.

McKenna at work in the Theater
We still got to do some really cool things this year!

Balancing your schedule

Students are only allowed to work a maximum of 8 hours each week during their first year on campus. That means you will have plenty of time for homework and extracurricular activities! In my positions, I have had a lot of control over my schedule. Even when that isn’t the case, though, the workload of all student employment positions is very manageable. Also, many work shifts happen during the day. That means you’ll likely have plenty of time in the evenings!

An actor cradling a doll in the Theater and Dance Department's production of That Wilderness of Glass
Stage managing is an exception to that rule, but I really loved working on this production and it was nice to have extra time during the day.

Do you have to work for Theater and Dance to get involved?

Absolutely not! There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with productions without working for the department. You can audition for the Player’s Production every term and earn course credit for your work. Technicians can reach out to the Technical Theater Team (TTT) to find productions to work on. There are plenty of dance groups on campus. For performers, we have three comedy groups and the Experimental Theater Board (ETB). Best of all, you don’t need to have a lot of previous experience!

Experimental Dance Board
I really love working with student dance groups as a Lighting Designer!

McKenna is a Russian and Psychology double major who is thrilled to be spending the summer in Minnesota! On campus, she’s often designing lights for a student performance, speaking Russian in Parish house, or grabbing a meal with friends. She’s also a proud member of the Carleton Equestrian Team. Off campus, she participates in the CLS Program and is a tutor with Paper AirplanesMeet the other Bloggers!