The St. Ambrose Theatre Department boasts about the many success stories of their wonderful alumni, and Kendall McKasson ‘19 is no exception to that.
After graduating last May, McKasson started working at Circa ‘21 Dinner Playhouse in Rock Island, Illinois, as the assistant stage manager/deckhand. She has worked on Holiday Inn, Three Little Pigs and is currently working on Singin' in the Rain and Elf the Musical.
During her time at St. Ambrose University, McKasson participated in an impressive amount of activities.
- She competed on Tech Team for two years in a row, winning both the Golden C-Wrench and the Spirit Award back-to-back at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
- While at the festival, she also participated in the Society for Directors and Choreographers (SDC) event, in which she selected a scene and actors and put her directing skills to work competitively.
- McKasson's other impressive credits while at Ambrose include but are not limited to: acting in Cinderella and the one-act Establishing Relations; stage managing Rumors, Tartuffe, and Cabaret; props designing Honk! Jr. the Musical; light designing Speech and Debate; and recently set designing for Time Stands Still.
During her senior year, McKasson presented her stage management philosophy at the Senior Showcase. For this event, the Theatre Department faculty invite area directors and designers to potentially hire students after their performances/presentations. McKasson was hired on the spot at the event to be an assistant stage manager/deckhand by Dennis Hitchcock, producer/owner of Circa ‘21 Dinner Playhouse, after her wonderful presentation.
McKasson said her favorite aspect of working at Circa is the people she works with.
"It's very interesting to see all the different types of people who come through the door, whether it be very extroverted people or improv-based people and people who just come from different walks of life," she said. "Every show is different, and different things happen, and being able to process those things a lot and often is fun to me. It's not very often people my age get jobs in theatre right out of college, and I think it's cool that I've had the opportunity to work there and continue to work there."
She noted that she enjoys getting to put the skills she's learned to work.
"My time at Ambrose definitely gave me tools in my belt to go into the real world." McKasson said.
She explained that being taught how to put together a resumé, how to compose herself around different types of people and various aspects of technical theatre has prepared her well for the working world.
"The professors care so much and put so much effort into making sure that you know what you're going up against and that you have multiple ways of dealing with situations when you get out there in the real world," McKasson said.
As far as McKasson's future goes, she would like to continue working at Circa for the remainder of their season, but ultimately, would like to go to grad school for stage management. Eventually, she hopes to teach collegiate-level theatre.
Although she is excited to get out there, she said, "For the time being, I would like to continue stage managing, whether it be at Circa or elsewhere, to build my resumé and get some more experience."
For seniors who are ready to graduate from the Theatre Department, McKasson said, "Get your name out there. Start applying for things, go to auditions, get your resumé to people. As soon as you can get your name out there, you can start building connections."
She also stressed that students should always be their best self in auditions and interviews because word travels quickly and a negative opinion can stop students from getting work.
The Theatre Department is immensely proud of Kendall and can't wait to see what she continues to do in the future. The Department wishes her the best of luck and knows that she's making SAU proud.