Tara Miller

Part 1: Why are women important in the theatre?

International Womens Day

‘When I was growing up, I had no idea there are so many specialized jobs in the theatre’

To mark International Women’s Day this month – and to call attention to the many perhaps unexpected theatre careers off the stage, we are asking six of the many women who work, play and make magic here at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts their thoughts on a series of questions related to women in theatre. Today: Why are women important in the theatre?

• Eileen Garcia, Assistant Properties Director: “Women important in the theatre because theatre provides the voice of the woman, and women provide another way of seeing the world. When I was growing up, I had no idea that being a props person was a job. I didn’t know that you could upholster and craft and sculpt and make fake food and do all of these random, fantastic things for a living. I didn’t realize there are so many specialized jobs in the theatre until I got to graduate school. Providing models for women to see themselves in the workplace is so important. Theatre is about teaching empathy, and I think that’s what women are best at. We really feel what other women are feeling, and it hits us at a really visceral place in our cores.”

Lydia Garcia. Photo by John Moore

Lydia Garcia. Photo by John Moore

• Lydia Garcia, Executive Director, Equity and Organization Culture: “Theatre tells us what stories are worth telling. It tells us what stories have value. If we’re not telling the full story because we are marginalizing the voices of women, whether cisgender or transgender, then we’re not doing our job of reflecting the society back to itself. I don’t know of many fields that can do that other than theatre.”

March is also Women’s History Month

• Tara Miller, Senior Event Manager: “Why is anyone important in theatre? Everyone has a voice. It doesn’t matter what gender you are or what ethnicity you are or how you identify. Everyone deserves the right to share their story. Even if you think yours is ordinary, someone is going to relate to it in some way. The more we share our stories, the more people will feel comfortable bringing their own stories forward.”

• Leslie Channell, Director of Business Operations, Education: “I grew up loving theatre. I found a sense of empowerment and a sense of my own voice by doing theatre. In high school, I was surrounded by athletes – and in particular, male athletes. So, as a woman, to have had the chance to be on that stage and express what was inside of me and tap into that creative self helped make me the person I am. Now being in an administration career, rather than an artistic one, gives me an interesting perspective, too. Because in the past, administrative roles taken by women have largely been seen as support roles. Not anymore.”

• Cecilia Kim, Ticket Agent: “It’s important because women haven’t been well-represented in general. Theatre is a place that represents life and what’s going on in the world – all of it – and if we don’t show women, we are excluding them. It is important to have women in theatre to show that we are all part of the larger community.”

• Helen Masvikeni, Marketing Project Manager: “Women are these great beings who bring this angle to the storytelling that is so full of emotion. It’s important to have us to balance things out so we can help tell the story well. And let’s face it. If a story needs our opinion – we’re going to give it.”

Emily Holden is the Theatre Company Marketing Intern.

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

Assistant Properties Director Eileen Garcia Lord of the Flies

Assistant Properties Director Eileen Garcia shows off some of her handiwork – a severed pig’s head – in the Theatre Company’s ‘Lord of the Flies.’ Photo by John Moore.

More women in theatre careers at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts

For each day of this series, we will use different photos to feature more women and the jobs they perform here at the DCPA. To see their names and titles, scroll your cursor over each photo.