Student Focus: Emily Oldham

woman posing in front of building
Emily Oldham at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Name: Emily Oldham

Major: Industrial Engineering and Performing Arts with an emphasis in Technical Design

Hometown: Rochester, Minnesota

Planned Graduation Date: May 2023

In addition to Theatre, what are you involved with here at ISU and beyond? I am pursuing a double degree, and my other degree is in Industrial Engineering. I am a member of two engineering honor societies: Tau Beta Pi (for general engineering) and Alpha Pi Mu (for Industrial Engineering specifically). This spring, I was invited to Washington, D.C. as the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) National Stage Management Fellowship recipient.

What music and theatre projects are you working on right now or have recently completed? This spring, I was the puppetry stage manager and one of the production assistant stage managers for "She Kills Monsters" with ISU Theatre. I also had the opportunity to step in as the fire dragon head puppeteer.

What is your favorite thing about your experiences at Iowa State? My favorite thing about my time at Iowa State is how widespread my theatre experience has been. From the first time I met Brad Dell on a campus tour and mentioned my interest in stage management, I was offered to be an ASM on a fall production to start working in the theater as soon as I arrived. Since then, I have been directly involved in so many different types of productions, including a student-produced festival, a new musical workshop, virtual productions, and puppetry. The variety of productions I have stage managed with ISU Theatre and the department's faculty support makes me feel prepared to take on exciting and varied works in the professional world.

Why did you choose the Department of Music and Theatre at ISU? Both Jane Cox (the previous Director of Theatre) and Brad Dell met with me personally and showed an interest in my growth as a theatre artist. From speaking with them, I saw how I could get involved with stage management without having to fight through barriers that I was seeing at other universities. ISU Theatre invites student artists into every step of the process. In the spring of 2022, I had the incredible honor of being the stage manager for BABA: A New Musical Workshop. Being part of the team that created that show from the ground up as an undergraduate student exposed me to aspects of the production development process that are uncommon for a college student to be involved in. The experience of script and score creation has changed my perspective on every script that is put in my hands.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation, I will be headed to the Chicago area to work for Ferrara Candy Company. I look forward to finding new opportunities in the theatre communities around me!

Any words of wisdom for prospective students? Know that asking questions is a sign that you want to learn more, not that you're missing something!