Caroline Watters – Being the Magic Behind the Curtain

“It’s a very weird job because you do all this work, and your whole life is engulfed in the show that you’re working on and every bit of attention to detail, and most of the people who come to the show have no idea that you exist… Most people know there’s carpenters, or there’s lighting people – but they don’t understand that there is somebody, who’s like a mystery person, that brings all of this together, and for some reason that attracted me. I want to be this person that does all this coordinating to bring everybody together to be able to create something every night, and I don’t need an applause.”

This week I chatted with Caroline Watters, a Stage Manager for the innovative international circus arts company Cirque du Soleil. Caroline is currently touring Asia while stage managing on TORUK – The First Flight.

Originally from Toronto, Caroline became attracted to the unexpected art of stage management while still in high school and received her BFA in Performance Production from Ryerson University in Toronto. The stage manager’s art is often hidden, beyond the sight or awareness of the audience, but ultimately there is a high potential for creativity on the grand scale of a live performance, and this is what drew Caroline to the work.

After Ryerson, Caroline went on to obtain her MFA in Stage Management from Columbia University. While working in New York, her Broadway dream shifted to more immersive and complex productions, and shortly after graduation, she accepted an internship with Cirque du Soleil which lead to working as an Assistant Stage Manager on Zumanity. After the experience in Las Vegas, she joined the Cirque du Soleil touring production of Varekai as a Stage Manager, which lead her to joining the stage management team of TORUK. Cirque du Soleil has provided the scale and complexity that she has desired for stage managing; her final Masters thesis covered all aspects of Cirque du Soleil Stage Management.

Themes from this episode include: 

  • The creativity of a stage manager – making the magic happen behind the curtain
  • Creativity in the context of a multi-national for-profit company
  • The rewards of being in a job that constantly puts you outside your comfort zone
  • Self care practice

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