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Dublin High School Alum Cynthia Moore Goes Backstage with a Syracuse University BFA in Stage Management

September 23, 2014

Dublin High School Class of 2010 graduate Cynthia Moore was one of the first students to participate in’s Life in College series. Her story began at Santa Barbara City College and ended with a 4-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Stage Management from Syracuse University. caught up with Ms. Moore, now living in New York, about how to successfully turn a two-year associate degree into a four-year bachelors degree through a community college transfer program.

Cynthia Moore Stage Manager Since you wrote your original article you transferred to Syracuse University and completed a BFA. What advice do you have for students hoping to successfully complete a four-year degree that includes a community college transfer?

Cynthia Moore: “I would advise anyone that wants to include a community college transfer to take as much of their general education requirements as possible at the community college. Chem 101 is going to be the same from school to school, so save the money and use it for your more specific upper division courses at a 4 year school.” What attracted you to transfer to Syracuse University to complete your BFA?

Moore: “The networking opportunities and alumni were some of the bigger draws for me (Vanessa Williams and Taye Diggs graduated from Syracuse University Drama!). They got me looking at the school. Then I discovered the Stage Management BFA and loved the types of classes I would be taking. I was really excited for my design classes since I hadn’t had much experience with that at Dublin High School.” You majored in Stage Management – for those not familiar with what happens backstage in the theatre, describe the role of a stage manager in a successful production.

Moore: “That’s probably the most common yet toughest question I get when I tell people what I majored in. In a nutshell, I run the show behind the scenes. During rehearsals I keep track of where/when people and props/costumes need be and communicate that information to the various shops and department heads. During shows, I’m on a headset communicating with the crew and I orchestrate the lights, sound, set changes, and manage the staff running the show.” What role did Dublin High School Drama play in inspiring you to pursue theatre in college?

Moore: “I honestly didn’t really consider pursuing a degree in theatre until I got to college. In high school, I wanted to pursue an English degree. However, my time with DHS Drama taught me how much of a creative outlet theatre can be and I wanted to stay involved once I went off to college. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I realized I wanted to pursue the Stage Management degree. Another way DHS Drama inspired me was by teaching me how much of a family you can create for yourself in a theatre production. My best friends in high school were all in theatre with me and it was amazing.” What have you learned about theatre in the productions you’ve managed?

Moore: “I’ve learned to never underestimate people and to always be ready for ANYTHING. There have been plenty of times where something has gone wrong in a show and people have come up with insanely creative and quick ways to solve those problems. My favorite of these instances so far was a show I was working on during my junior year of college. One of my actors lost their contact onstage in the middle of a show one scene before the big fight of the show. My crew and I had to find the contact in a scene change during a blackout so that the actor would be able to safely perform a fight sequence. I live for moments like that during shows!” Finally, for students considering a BFA in Stage Management, what can they expect to study in college? What is the mix of classroom and practical study?

Cynthia Moore GraduationMoore: “It depends on the program they go to. At SU, we had a very even mix of classroom and practical study. As Stage Management Majors, we are involved in at least 2-3 shows a year and the staff makes sure we get a variety of shows to work on. We do things from working for the small student run company to interning with the professional company we share the building with. The classes I took were a mix of everything. I took intro to design courses, intro to acting and directing, and then a lot of more in-depth stage management classes where we looked at different aspects of a production and what we are responsible for during each stage of a show. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s also really fun!”