Megan Franco

Megan Franco, BA (2023)

Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Pitt?
When I started at Pitt, I was a history / psychology double major with a theater minor. I knew I loved history and psychology, and I was originally intending on going to graduate school for psychology and pursuing that professionally. But, I have always loved doing theater and wanted to pursue it as a minor to stay active in the field. It was during my sophomore year, when I took Stage Management I, that I realized theater was something I could do professionally, and I chose to declare majors in Theatre Arts and Psychology and kept history on as a minor instead. Over the course of my junior and senior years, following the shut down from COVID, I found myself being more and more involved with the theatre department and the clubs, and I knew I had made the right decision declaring my theater major.
How did the program help prepare you for life after graduation? 
The multidisciplinary nature of a BA program and Pitt’s theater program specifically has helped me immensely with my ability to feel confident when I step into a new space. Being able to take classes in all areas of tech has prepared me for my current job, where I am on the road and working with sound systems and lighting systems in venues ranging from touring Broadway houses to public middle schools. Just a few tour stops ago, we were in a middle school and there was no dedicated lighting tech so I programmed the light board for our show, which is something I would not have been able to do if not for taking a lighting class here. Pitt's program also prepared me with the opportunities for hands-on learning. For stage management especially, you can only learn so much sitting in a classroom, but I was lucky enough to stage manage 3 main stage shows in 2 years, which certainly prepared me for the professional world. The faculty in this program also played a huge role in my preparation for post-grad. There was so much encouragement from faculty members before I graduated to apply for and take professional jobs, even if it meant missing a week of school. I remember asking Ashley Martin to proofread my first daily call for my first professional stage management job while at department auditions one semester. The support and encouragement was never ending, and continues post grad.
What is your current position and how did you get it?
Currently, I am the stage manager for The Lighting Thief: TYA Edition with TheaterWorksUSA. Essentially, I got the job through knowing someone who knew someone. I worked with someone who has a friend working with TheaterWorks, and he put me in contact to meet with his friend, and they sent my info to the production manager with TheaterWorks, I had a formal interview, and a few days later I had a contract. 
Do you have any thoughts or advice for current students?
My advice for current students is trust the people and resources around you. Getting into the professional world, especially in theater, is not always an easy transition. It is so important to focus on making connections with people, because attempting to transition to the professional world alone will make it even harder. Find your friends that you can ask silly questions too, even when you just need to hear the answer you already know. Find your mentors you can text months after graduation about your leadership skills, contracts, resume questions, etc. Find your coworkers / cast members who you can go to after a long day. These people are your resources, and they’re some of the best resources you’ll have access to.