2021 – Looking Back, Looking Forward

Before I get going though, here’s a Public Service Announcement for you: If you have a vehicle, go out and record your odometer reading for your taxes! Even if you didn’t have 1099 earnings for 2021, you never know if you might for 2022, or if tax laws will change. You’re welcome.

A photo I shared during the Year of the Stage Manager Instagram Takeover while testing our Shindig platform for WSHU

Okay, that said, I figured I would do a little recap of what I’ve done this past year. I continued to work quite a bit virtually because of the pandemic, primarily as Virtual Stage Manager for WSHU Public Radio out of Fairfield, Connecticut, and on several medical conferences with TLC Events Group. I couldn’t be more thankful to WSHU’s Rima Dael and Janice Portenso (let alone many others) for welcoming me with open arms – and as of December making me a part-time W2 employee. Another set of thanks goes to Karen Gottlieb for teaching me about the world of Pheedloop and virtual conferences (and Beth Bornstein for connecting us). I continued to connect with so many online, whether through webinars or guest lecturing through Zoom, but in October I was able to go back to my true love…after 563 days hiatus (that’s 1 year, 6 months, 16 days), I stage managed an in-person event again, Pagliacci with Opera Memphis. And I rounded out the year by completing teaching my first full semester of stage management classes – for the fall semester I taught Stage Management II for my alma mater, Wright State University. Most of it was virtual, but I took the long way home from Memphis to spend a week with Mom and teach taping out groundplans in person with the students, as well as guest lecture a few more places along the drive, too.

If all goes according to plan (please, COVID, keep at bay), I’m heading out again mid-January to do two shows back to back. Again, keep an eye on my Upcoming webpage for the latest details. I’m also a two-chapter contributer to a stage management book being published in late January (currently on a year-end sale!). Oh yeah, and I’m still the “unofficial voice of Colorado’s unemployed,” with our Facebook group still at more than 8,000 members. There was even a human interest story on me Christmas weekend. I’m working on a page with all the published interviews I did for local news about unemployment and they are NOT all included in the interview dates below. I also wrote 22 blog posts in 2021, 9 of which were dedicated to navigating unemployment.

You can read more details on most of these events in the “Completed Credits” section of my “Upcoming” webpage, but here it is chronologically. Fun personal things and volunteer projects are included as well, so paid events and my teaching (class and guest lectures) are in bold. I think the tally is 12 virtual events, 5 virtual conferences, 2 in-person events, and 8 guest lectures. Whew!

Letter Block tiles laid out Scrabble-style that read Year Review 2021
(Image found online)

Erin’s Year Recap

January 2 – Became moderator of Colorado Unemployment/PEUC/PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) Q&A Facebook group (approx. 2400 members at the time, growing to 3000 by the end of the weekend, as the CDLE system went offline for a system upgrade – volunteer)

January 2 & 4 – Interviewed by Colorado Public Radio’s Andy Kenney about unemployment

January 28 – WSHU Virtual Event: WSHU Presents Little Pub Unplugged (Video)

February/March – for a month or two, I was officially a “Claimant Advocate” for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and attended a couple weekly staff meetings (volunteer). This blog post recaps one major meeting we had.

February 9 – Interviewed by Marshall Zellinger of Next with Kyle Clark, 9News NBC about unemployment

February 13 – Connection Convention, Year of the Stage Manager/Stage Managers’ Association – volunteer panelist

February 15 – Guest Lecture (virtual): San Diego State University

February 22 – Interviewed by Colorado Public Radio’s Andy Kenney about unemployment

February 24 – Stage Managers’ Association Webinar: Taxes 101 with Michelle Seipel (host – volunteer)

February 26-28 – Coordinated USITT PRIMP – Portfolio Reviews & Interview Materials Prep sessions (volunteer)

February 27 – Colorado Public Radio Virtual Event: Turn the Page with Colorado Matters: “Other People’s Pets,” by Boulder author R.L. Maizes 

March 1 – Guest Lecture (virtual): Indiana University

March 8-12 – USITT National Conference – Stage Management Mentor Project mentor, Vice Commissioner of Management – PRIMP (Portfolio Reviews & Interview Materials Prep) & Special Projects (volunteer)

March 16 – SM GO: Colorado – host of virtual gathering for Stage Managers’ Association (volunteer)

March 18 – Stage Managers’ Association Webinar: Managing the Super Bowl – a one-on-one chat with Jay Sheehan (host – volunteer)

March 19 – Guest Lecture (virtual): San Diego State University (2nd and 3rd times this year)

March 21 – WSHU Virtual Event: GCTYO 2021 Concerto Competition: Final Round (Video)

March 23 – SM GO: Dance Edition – SM Shimmy, host of virtual gathering for Stage Managers’ Association (volunteer)

March 26-27 – Coordinated USITT PRIMP – Portfolio Reviews & Interview Materials Prep sessions (volunteer)

April 8 – Entry to Equity virtual discussion with Montclair State University (volunteer)

April 13 – Year of the Stage Manager Instagram Takeover

April 13 – WSHU Virtual Event: The First Amendment: What It Is & What It Isn’t – A very timely “Join the Conversation” event from WSHU (Video)

April 19 – Spoke with Colorado Representative Chris Hansen about unemployment

April 25-27 – Actors’ Equity Association Convention – as elected Western Region Stage Manager Delegate (volunteer)

May 3-7 – TLC Events Virtual Conference: Association of Biochemistry Educators/Association of Professors of Human and Medical Genetics

May 8 – Shindig Virtual Event: Harvard Law School Alumni class reunions

May 10 – Denver Liaison Committee meeting of Actors’ Equity Association (volunteer)

May 11 – Celebrated being fully vaccinated (at the time)

May 14-21 – TLC Events Virtual Conference: American Society for Reproductive Immunology

May 22 – Stage Managers’ Association booth representative for Broadway Stage Management Symposium (volunteer)

May 24 – SM GO: Denver, host of outdoor gathering for Stage Managers’ Association (volunteer)

May 30-June 5 – Paddled a very full inflatable kayak for 84 miles of the Deso-Gray section of the Green River (private trip, Class II & III)

June – Officially resigned as Chair of Webinars for the Stage Managers’ Association, after hosting 4 pre-pandemic, and sometimes two a week during the first several months of it; a full list is on my speaker page

June 15 – Finally saw my mother in person for the first time since Dec. 2019, with a trip to Ohio for a week

June 23 – Shindig Virtual Event: CIGBA/DCI Virtual Summit Mix & Mingle Star Awards Gala (Canada)

June 24 and 25 – Shindig Virtual Event: The Conference Board (Europe)

June 28-July 1 – TLC Events Virtual Conference: American Society for Neurochemistry

June 30 – Colorado Public Radio Virtual Event: Turn the Page with Colorado Matters: As A Woman by author Paula Stone Williams 

July 4-11 – Went on an epic road trip with my dear friend Deb Sherrer, knocking off 3 of the last 6 states on my list – North and South Dakota and Montana

July 10 – Celebrated my 20 year anniversary as a member of Actors’ Equity Association

July 11-14 – TLC Events Virtual Conference: National Neurotrauma Society

August 12-14 – Technically my first live production “back” – Stage Management and Production Associate for a Central City Opera Touring Artist outdoor run of performances of our bilingual opera, En Mis Palabras: In My Own Words

August 26 – WSHU Virtual Event: Education During COVID: What We Know & Need to Know, a “Join the Conversation” event. (Video)

August 27 – Began teaching Stage Management II at Wright State University, focusing on stage managing in multiple genres and working with unions

October 1 – Guest Lecture (in person): University of Oklahoma

October 4-30 – LIVE PRODUCTION!!!! Stage Manager for Opera MemphisPagliacci

October 6 – WSHU Virtual Event: Sunday Baroque: Creating and Managing Diverse and Inclusive Playlists with MusicMaster (Video)

October 19 – WSHU Virtual Event: (Prep and Tech only, event run by Brian Rangell) – Join the Conversation (Video was not able to be saved)

October 24 – SM GO: Nashville, host of outdoor gathering for Stage Managers’ Association (volunteer)

November – USITT Stage Management Mentor Project Application Ajudicator (volunteer)

November 3 – Guest Lecture (virtual): Colorado State University

November 8 – Guest Lecture (in person): Indiana University 

November 10 – Guest Lecture (in person): University of Missouri – Kansas City

November 10 – SM GO: Kansas City, host of gathering for Stage Managers’ Association (volunteer)

November 15 – Interviewed by Denver Post’s Noelle Phillips about unemployment (wouldn’t run until December 26)

November 17 – WSHU Virtual Event: Join the Conversation with NPR’s Stacey Vanek Smith, Author of Machiavelli for Women (Video)

November 19 – Celebrated getting my booster shot

November 28 – SMA Central Region (Milwaukee) SM GO: Stage Managing Opera (panelist, volunteer)

December 1 – Officially became a W2 employee of WSHU instead of 1099 Independent Contractor, working on social media presence (especially YouTube and Hearken) in addition to virtual events; I can flex my time at roughly 10 hours per week, working around any theatre/performance jobs I may obtain.

December 6 – Inteviewed by CBS4 Denver’s Karen Morfitt about unemployment

December 7-10 – TLC Events Virtual Conference: 28th International Complement Virtual Workshop (based in Denmark)

December 15 – Photo shoot with Denver Post!

December 20, 2021 to January 2, 2022 – Westport Country Playhouse (with WSHU) made our 2020 radio play A Merry Little Christmas Carol available again for free to patrons, extending additional payment to all of us involved the first time.

December 26 – Published feature online and in print on me and other moderators: They spent hours moderating a Facebook group to help people navigate the frustrations of Colorado’s unaemployment system; Volunteers stepped up to help Coloradans as they navigated state’s complicated and flawed system (Denver Post)

I also took the following classes/certifications (not counting so many free webinars attended): CPR/First Aid
Theatre Production – CCO Certificate & COVID Safety Training
Advocating for Intimacy with Siobhan Richardson
Bystander Intervention in the Workplace – Hollaback
Bystander Intervention to Stop Police Sponsored Violence and Anti-Black Racist Harassment training – Hollaback
COVID Compliance for Live Events – Health Education Services
Protecting Youth – Sacred Heart University
Preventing Harassment and Discrimination: Non-Supervisors Extended Version with Title IX/Clery – Sacred Heart University
Additional Implicit Bias/Racial Sensitivity and Gender Bias training as a Vice Regional Rep for the Stage Managers’ Association

BONUS: If you made it this far, enjoy this beautiful rendition of Auld Lang Syne shared by my friend Andy Wilkowske. It’s arranged by Timothy C. Takach from “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” written by Peter Rothstein. Wishing everyone a happy (and better) new year!