How is directing traffic similar to stage managing? Terry Feagin, who has worked at DCT (from the very beginning!) for nearly 30 years, tells us how her current role as Education Coordinator is similar to when she used to stage manage DCT shows!
Q: How did you get started in theater? Did you act when you were a child?
A: I worked backstage on a couple of shows in high school, but I really became involved in theater in college. I spent most of my free time in the theater and backstage – I was never interested in being onstage. My only acting role was in the 4th grade in a play about Harriet Tubman!
Q: You are one of the DCT staff members who has been here from the very beginning! Tell us about some of your favorite memories over the years.
A: When DCT first started, the staff was much smaller, so everyone did a little bit of everything. You might be taking ticket reservations over the phone and sewing a costume at the same time! All of the staff had their offices in one big room, and everyone pitched in to help with whatever needed to be done. I met my future husband, Hugh Feagin, when he was cast as an actor in some plays I was stage managing – that’s definitely one of my favorite experiences at DCT!
Q: You used to stage manage DCT shows. How is stage managing similar or different than helping coordinate the Education classes?
A: Both jobs require a lot of organization, and there is a lot of variety in both positions. Every day is different – they are actually more similar than you might expect. We used to say stage managing was a lot like directing traffic – and now I do direct traffic…in the carpool line!
Q: Describe a typical day in your current role as Education Coordinator, particularly while classes are going on.
A: My day is usually a combination of working in the office and being ‘on deck’ while classes are going on. In the office, I might be processing enrollments, answering questions over the phone, creating rosters for classes. When it’s time for class, I make sure the classrooms are ready, sign-in the students as they arrive, answer questions from parens, and then I’m out in the parking lot for carpool.
Q: Describe how carpool works.
A: I help the parents line up in the carpool line and make sure each driver is on the list given to us at the start of class. I give a list of the students in order to Nancy Schaeffer, our Education Director. Nancy has a great system for lining up the students in the correct order, and the teachers then help the students into their cars. It’s really amazing how quickly the line will go, and it’s a very safe way to get everyone into the correct car.
Q: You manage the carpool line throughout the year in all different types of weather. Tell us about how you “keep your cool” even during the worst weather conditions, like the brutual Texas summer heat?
A: I drink lots of water and always wear my sun hat and sunscreen. If it’s really hot, I bring a frozen wet bandana in my lunchbox cooler and wrap that around my neck – that’s my secret weapon! It’s really not so bad most days, and I really enjoy being outside a little bit every day.
Q: What is your favorite part about working for DCT and in the Education department?
A: I get to work with wonderful friends and co-workers and be a part of a tremendous organization that adds so much to our community. It has been very rewarding to see the organization grow and expand over the years, and to get to be a part of that growth. I love seeing our students enjoying their classes and having fun learning about theater.
Q: What is it like watching students reunite with their proud parents & loved ones (ready with flowers, applause, smiles & big hugs) after a class show performance?
A: Class performance days are very hectic, but they are a lot of fun. It’s very rewarding to see how happy and proud the students are after their shows, and the parents can really appreciate the hard work and effort the students have put in to create something as a group that is bigger than themselves.