Molly Elizabeth McCarter
9 students from the Stage & Production Management Program spent several days in Orlando, FL where they were given backstage tours and shadowing opportunities at Cirque Du Soleil, Universal Studios and Disney World. During this trip they saw over 15 shows from in front and behind the scenes and met over 50 managers in varying feilds.
Under my supervision students raised over $7,700 through a crowdfunding campaign. This amount exceeded their goal and covered travel, housing and a food stipend for all students involved.
Schedules and Events
On the first day students met with Wendy Abraham, Manager of Communnications and Integration and Diana Chambers, Entertainment Manager, for a backstage tour of Hollywood Studios. Students visited Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, The Frozen Sing Along, Beauty and The Beast, Lights, Motors Action: Extreme Stunt Show and Fantasmic. At each show they were able to watch the show from an audience perspective, meet with the stage manager and techs running the show and take a backstage tour. During this day the students had the opportunity to learn about automation, stunt driving, emergency and weather protocol, pyrotechnics, water effects, large scale puppets and much more. They also managed to squeeze a few moments of fun during their 10 hour tour.
On the second day students started with a backstage tour of Dinsey's Animal Kingdom. During this tour they were able to see Festival of the Lion King, Flights of Wonder, and Finding Nemo. They also had the chance to visit and learn about Character Management, Operations Management, and various atmosphere.
In the second half of the day we went to see an evening performance of Cirque Du Soliel's production of La Nouba. We also started a shadowing rotation that allowed for each student to sit on headset and listen to the show called over the course of the next two days.
On the third and final day students started by heading to Universal Studios where they met with Creative Manager Rick Spencer and were given a backstage tour of park operations and the events department. They recieved a tour of the sound stages and recording studios and learned about large scale events like Hallowen Horror Nights, Macy's Holiday Parade and spent some time touring the build of the Mardigras floats that travel from New Orleans back to the studios in Orlando. There was also a backstage tour or Harry Potter World and an inside view of Gringots Bank.
In the afternoon the group went back to Cirque Du Soleil to take a backstage tour of the facilities with General Stage Manager Nic Roberts and then had the opportunity to watch a rehearsal where new acts were being put into the show for the first time in 5 years.