Post image for Breaking Down Barriers

Sitting down for breakfast with Leslie Tamaribuchi, Associate Dean of School of Theatre at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) opened us up to a non-traditional approach of arts management.

CalArts has three management tracks in their program: Producing, Stage Management, and Production Management. The two most closely aligned with some of the other programs we are exploring would be the producing and production management strands. Each program has specific goals, but essentially they focus on the basics of management including budgeting, marketing, public relations, fundraising, and analyzing a script critically.

Students work on many hands-on projects throughout their time at CalArts in order to provide them a sampling of the type of work they would potentially be doing out in their careers. CalArts considers project management experience vital to their management students. CalArts believes in giving students the right general skills and tools, but also wants students to be able to develop their own specific focus. Each student in their fifth semester has a required internship. Often CalArts students are placed in for-profit settings. They have worked with a wide range of organizations such as amusements parks, in film or television. Leslie posed very valid questions for us to consider along our discovery journey: The theatre world is very expansive. Could our program be bigger by incorporating different businesses or by partnering with different types of institutions?

•How do we not set up barriers but rather support a fluid professional exchange between commercial businesses and non-profits? Why is there a commercial and non-profit divide?

•How do we change the perspective/image of our field? How can we broaden the discussion on where theatre management skills can be applied?

I have an intern here in our Education Department this semester named Elena Muslar and she just recently was accepted into the CalArts family and had this to say about what makes CalArts so uniquely exciting:
“I am immensely excited to attend CalArts after talking with students and faculty, sitting in on classes, and seeing theatrical performances! I know that I will be immersed into a mixing bowl filled with ingredients of expression, guidance, and creativity. From the start, The School of Theatre’s MFA Management program specifically has enticed me because of the personal attention CalArts provides for each student, respect for the student’s individual ideas to be cultivated, and the quick immersion into the theatre department through the Producing track. I am eager to be going into a program where I will get my feet wet right off the bat, producing shows and working on management issues so that I can attack them as an arts manager of the future!”

  • Yanda Li

    I am so glad to join the student focus groups to discuss about internship program model for theater management. I have to say there is very big difference between school and real world for a theater manager, much bigger than designers. Even CalArts is try our best to make an environment like a real world but it is still not. We can learn a lot from school but like budget, marketing, public relations and so on, we still need to learn in real world. A good internship is so important for management before we work as full time in the real world. We learn what we can’t learn in school, know what kind of manager the organizations want to hire and use to the transfer from a student to a manager.
    Thank you CTG for the valuable opportunity to talk to you and many management students from other schools.