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Once a Performer, Dana Degnan Aspires to Work Behind the Scenes

By Jacob Nelson

While studying to be a performer as an undergraduate at Stephens College, Dana Degnan realized she enjoyed the business and “back-end” area of the arts more than what she was training to do onstage.

“And that is how I ended up at Northwestern in the MSLCE program,” Degnan said.

The MSLCE student is interested in pursuing a career in the performing arts field, specifically theatre. The passion, she explained, stems from her experience stage-managing shows as an undergrad.

“I have always enjoyed working on musicals and plays,” she said. “The people in performing arts are so great to work with and are truly there for the love of the art.”

However, it was while working on these productions that Degnan realized where her interests were pointed. While stage-managing a Summer Theatre Institute Musical Revue at Stephens, Degnan realized she wanted to learn more about the administrative side: “who decides what show to run, how do you run a marketing campaign, etc. That’s when I started looking at grad school programs.”

And that search is what brought her to the MSLCE program, where she hopes “to learn more about the business and administrative side of the arts, as well as connecting and networking with my classmates, professors, alumni, and guest speakers.”

After graduating Degnan aspires to work in the administrative office of a Chicago theatre, assisting with the day-to-day operations.

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