Arts & Culture: Katie Keaton takes the stage


Katie Keaton:
All growing up, I did dance in my hometown. That was always very exciting, being onstage. I always loved seeing what happened backstage. I’d never done theater in high school, so I figured I might as well give it a shot. College is all about trying new things, so I did.

I came in here and declared as a theatre major, not knowing what to expect. I was so scared. I was like, “I’ve never taken an acting class before. I’ve never taken stagecraft. What is that?” My sophomore year, I took the design for performance class with Dan Bilodeau.

From there, one of my classmates nudged me. She was like, “Hey, you’re pretty good at this. You should try applying for the Maine Masque show that’s coming up.” I had no idea what that entailed, so I gave it a shot. It was a really humbling experience to be able to design for Hauck Auditorium.

Dance-wise, choreography-wise, I got heavily involved in that, just because I declared a dance minor, and because I did that, my friends who run the Maine Masque, they were starting to put on Maine Masque cabarets and things like that. They wanted to have some choreography involved with that. They approached me and were like, “Hey, do you want to choreograph some of these numbers for us?” I was like, “Sure.” That’s where I got my foot in the door.

Taking the management classes and marketing classes has really helped me, especially as a production manager and a stage manager. That’s one of the heaviest things that you are involved in, is managing people. You’re not just managing an event, because the people make up the event. I think that really helped me with my skills.

I would say the community here is pretty vibrant. The people are pretty dedicated. Once they come here and they see shows, they realize, “Wow, something big is happening here,” and that keeps them coming.

I think the university really presents a lot of student undergraduate opportunities to work on shows very heavily, which is something that is awesome. It’s such a great resume builder to say, “I’ve already designed XYZ, and I’m only 21 years old.” I think I’ve been able to dab at a lot of different realms within theater and dance here, to where now I can be like, “This is where I want to go,” because I’ve had so many great experiences at UMaine.


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