Olivia Toombs pursues her passion for stage management
By: Caroline Frank
Art & Life Editor
Olivia Toombs, who is in her third year at Meramec, has been involved in theater throughout her time here.
She has taken fine arts classes and collaborated with Michelle Rebollo on multiple directing showcases and productions.
Tombs is currently working toward her associate degree in General Transfer Studies but plans to get a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater with an emphasis in Stage Management.
“I kind of found my creative home with stage management … I see organization as an art,” Toombs said. Tombs said she originally became interested in this area of art because a close family friend of hers was heavily involved in it.
“She seemed to be having a lot of fun with it so I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll go for it,’” Toombs said.
After auditioning for a couple school plays, a teacher of hers asked if she wanted to be a Student Assistant Director. Toombs described this position as “a middle-school version of stage management.”
Once Toombs was in high school, she began working with props and exploring other aspects of theater.
“One of the girls that used to do props with me began doing stage management, and she kind of coached me into that,” Toombs said. “My director also really pushed me to do [stage management].”
While in high school, Toombs’ tech director encouraged her to attend the International Thespian Society state convention in Missouri.
After going, Toombs said that was the first time she thought, “This is something I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Toombs said she enjoys the interaction that goes on during the production of a show.
“One of the things somebody told me when I told them I wanted to do stage management was, ‘You are the head of communication’ … And that is so true. I have to keep the director updated; I have to keep the tech director updated; I have to keep my crew updated; I have to keep my cast updated.”
Toombs described the amount of people involved in the collaboration behind each show.
“That is one of the things I really love about stage management,” Toombs said. “You’re not just in one little area of the creative process. You talk to everyone; you learn from everyone. I think that’s my favorite part about it – the communicative process of it all.”
After every rehearsal, Toombs types up a report covering what was gone over and what still needs to be done. Toombs then sends the report to everyone involved with the production.
Toombs has worked behind the scenes with Rebollo on the following productions at Meramec: “Nickel and Dimed”, “Rhinoceros”, and “Violet”.
Rebollo described Toombs’ work ethic behind the scenes.
“Olivia possesses the important quality of patience as a stage manager, and that has taken her a long way in the short time that I have worked with her,” Rebollo said. “She is respectful to all actors and theater personnel and realizes how difficult it is for actors to prepare and perform.”
Rebollo went on to describe Toombs’ personality while working on a show.
“Olivia always has a smile on her face and is so helpful to everyone she meets,” Rebollo said. “It has been a pleasure working with her on a variety of plays. I will miss her greatly when she moves on, as she has been one of the best Production Stage Managers that I have worked with.”
Toombs said she is planning on transferring next fall to Webster University, an art school in Portland, or Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, which has a BFA in Stage Management.
“I like how art-based those communities are,” Toombs said. “They’re very progressive … the type of theater I want to do is very political … I very much believe that art should make a statement in any way that it’s presented.”
She said her passion for theater comes from getting to watch the director bring to people what he or she really loves.
“I’m just really driven for it,” Toombs said. “Theater is my thing.”