Rocklin, Calif., – For most college students, December means finals and the onset of a lengthy Christmas break. But for William Jessup University’s Emma Farrell, this twelfth month of the year equates to graduation.
The Newcastle native graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Arts Management and a significant accolade in hand. Farrell is the recipient of the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts’ Meritorious Achievement Award for stage management of the growing university’s latest theatrical production, The Crucible.
“It was such an honor to receive this recognition,” Farrell said. “Stage management is usually a behind the scenes craft. My team is typically way outside the spotlight so it is really exciting to be honored with this award.”
Last summer, Farrell was one of six Jessup students interning at Americana Theatre Company in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The experience exposed students to multiple facets of theatre production allowing them to obtain real world theatrical experience while working with professional actors.
The six-week opportunity allowed Emma to hone her stage management skills while working on the professional theatre company’s summer performance of The Three Musketeers. In the fall, she returned to Jessup to complete her last semester trained and equipped to stage-manage Jessup’s rendition of the Arthur Miller classic fictionalizing the Salem witch trials. “The summer internship was truly hands on which is really the only way to learn technical theatre production,” Farrell added.
Farrell also had the opportunity to work alongside Brittney Reimert who among her numerous accolades was a former stage management intern for Broadway’s Wicked. Reimert owns a hefty resume reflecting her strong stage management experience working with numerous off Broadway productions. She has her MFA in stage management from Colombia University and also teaches a stage management course at William Jessup University.
As a community college transfer student, Farrell was thrilled to find Jessup’s Creative Arts program literally in her own backyard. WJU’s Creative Arts program is the first of its kind that positions students to excel across multiple disciplines within creative arts. Most programs focus on one aspect while Jessup’s multidisciplinary approach immerses students in the business of visual artistry, music and theatre.
“I was thrilled to find Jessup’s degree program because it is what I’ve always done. I’ve typically worked in a business management role with artists in a creative role.” Farrell went on, “I’ve especially enjoyed the entrepreneurial side of this degree due to my strong interest in small business.”
In 2007, Farrell embarked on a journey to start a family business currently operating in Loomis called the Tin Thimble. The business specializes in felting and vintage sewing and offers a variety of classes from beginning sewing lessons to dyeing to felting.
After graduation, Farrell and her husband will temporarily say goodbye to the family business and the greater Sacramento region to relocate to a small village just outside of Nagoya, Japan where her husband has joined a program to study Japanese for the next two years. Although the move puts the momentum of her stage management career on hold, Emma is thrilled to have the opportunity to live abroad and possibly delve into learning the elements of Japanese theatre or teach English.
Meanwhile, Farrell’s connection with Reimert helped her become part of the candidate pool to be interviewed for the 2017 internship to stage-manage Broadway’s Wicked. An opportunity many simply dream of, Emma is thrilled to have made making the list a reality. Although the internship won’t begin until the middle of 2017, Farrell considers it to be great timing with the couple’s return from Japan.
Until then, Emma has finals to complete, many farewells to be had and to start keeping her eye on the best spot to put her shiny, new and well-deserved diploma.