Alumna Crissy Nordin was recently hired as Director of Education and Outreach at STAGES St. Louis. The Master of Arts Management alum answered our questions about her new job and how Columbia College Chicago prepared her for the role.
Congratulations on your new position! What about this job excites you most?
Thank you! What I look forward to most when stepping into this role is the opportunity to engage with the artistic community within St. Louis through performing arts education. STAGES St. Louis has an entire academy dedicated to providing musical theater instruction and performance opportunities for students of all ages and ability levels in addition to a slew of outreach initiatives that bring musical theater to local schools who lack the resources to sustain a performing arts program. There is great opportunity to grow programming, enhance the quality of the academy’s productions, and create new partnerships with the many phenomenal non-profits, arts organizations, and academic institutions that exist in the St. Louis-area so that together, we can bring musical theater into underutilized spaces in neighborhoods that are ready and waiting for improved access to the arts.
What opportunities do you see in the theater industry as we continue into the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic?
I see an industry that is in dire need of structural and systemic change, and I think the theater industry as a whole should focus on those ideals moving forward as it also works towards safely returning to live performance. Right now, the focus is and should be safety – in every aspect. Safety for audiences, safety for arts workers, safety for diverse and inclusive storytelling – the opportunity as we go into the second year of the pandemic is to listen, learn, and engage in actively making this institutional change.
How did your time at Columbia College Chicago set you up for success in this role?
CCC very much encouraged utilizing hands-on experience as a path towards a degree, so it was invaluable to be able to include two semesters of internship or a marketing intensive in Paris during the January term to get the unique experience needed to standout in the post-graduation journey. CCC understands that much of what we learn doesn’t only take place in the classroom, and recognizes that it is in fact a fine balance of hands-on work and classroom instruction that allow you to maximize and individualize your educational experience. Of course, internships and intensives fulfill course requirements, but much, much more importantly, they allow you to learn through doing.
What advice do you have for graduating students who are beginning their own job search?
It’s a brave thing to amplify yourself and embody the ideal that your time is truly valuable, and I urge students entering the job search to maintain that mindset while trying to navigate the path forward. While looking for employment, we don’t always have the luxury of remaining patient until a position that perfectly matches our qualifications and experience becomes available. Even if the job search takes longer than expected and you’re not doing exactly what you had envisioned right out of the gate, continue to respect the work you have already put in by nurturing the professional relationships you built while earning your degree.
How can people get in touch with you or stay up to date with the theater?
My work email: email@example.com
My Instagram: @cnordeeen