By Joelle Weber
Somehow, I always knew that I wanted my career path to lead back to my roots, and my roots are definitely seeped in the performing arts. My mother started me in ballet classes at the age of three—little did she know how much that one decision would impact the rest of my life. Not only did I remain in ballet from age three through high school and into college, I tried out other forms of dance, took ten years of piano lessons, played the French horn for a while in middle school, and eventually found my way around to choir and acting in high school and throughout college. It should not have come as a surprise then to any of my friends or family members when I decided to pursue a career in Arts Administration upon graduation from college.
Originally, I hail from sunny Centennial, Colorado, and while I miss the mountains dearly, I would say the trade-off for Lake Michigan almost seems fair. Part of the reason I picked Chicago was for the lake. I knew I wanted to live in a city close to the water, and as half of my family is originally from the Midwest, water must be in my blood. So, after I graduated from the University of Wyoming in Laramie with both a B.A. in Communication and in Theatre Performance, I moved to Chicago. I fell in love with this city, from its amazing architecture to the vast community of arts and cultural organizations here. Plus, I figured it was a great place to start a career in Arts Administration, particularly in Marketing. Fun fact: While I was repeatedly warned about the terrible Chicago winters, they are NOT worse than Laramie winters. So, I’m happy.
I started with Victory Gardens Theater in August 2009 as their Marketing intern. After a month, I was bumped up to one of two full-time Kemper Arts Administration Fellowship positions, rotating between Marketing, Development, Business/Finance and Box Office duties. It was a fantastic way to get my feet wet in the industry and to figure out where I fit best. I also started working Front of House for Victory Gardens in October 2009, primarily as a house manager, and I have been in this position ever since! After my Kemper Fellowship, I transitioned into a role with VG’s Development department as the Campaign for Growth Assistant through August 2010. From there I went on to do the nine-month Apprenticeship Program with Steppenwolf Theatre Company as the Publicity Apprentice where I met a lot of great friends and worked under a fantastic mentor. Finally, this summer I worked part-time with Emerald City Theatre as the Marketing Coordinator, serving as their in-house graphic designer and helping plan the Pink Carpet Gala event for their show Pinkalicious: The Musical. On top of all this, I am an acting ensemble member and the Director of Marketing for The Island Theatre Company, a new storefront company. Needless to say, I have been really busy!
Now, I am glad to say, I have finally landed here at the Auditorium Theatre as the new Marketing Associate. I was attracted to this position because of the wonderful variety of work presented on the Auditorium stage. In particular, I am very excited about the many unique dance groups I will get to work with this year like Rasta Thomas’ BAD BOYS OF DANCE, the AXIS Dance Company, Batsheva Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre, and of course Chicago’s very own, Joffrey Ballet. My job responsibilities will range from working on show specific e-blasts, helping with our Social Media Campaigns, website upkeep, designing and programing the marquee for each performance, and hopefully much more! I am so thrilled to be on board and cannot wait to see where the season takes us.
It has been quite the path to the Auditorium, but in the long run, every step has held purpose and shaped me into the Chicagoan I am today. I have many people I can thank for helping get me here, but one in particular carries a lot of weight—so, thank you Mom. I truly owe you a lot for putting me in that first ballet class!