Bio  |  Philosophy  |  Resume and Credits

Erin Joy Swank (she/her) – Freelance Stage Manager



Headshot for Erin Joy Swank stage managerErin’s twenty-plus-year professional career includes a wide variety of productions, from intimate two-person dramas with political and social impact to large scale spectacles with, on occasion, more than 200 artists onstage (not to mention those working behind the scenes). Large musicals are probably her favorite genre to stage manage, but right now she really enjoys working on a diverse range of projects throughout the year; additional recent credits include opera, dance, cirque, classical music, “straight” theatre and a sports award show, as well as guest speaking at several educational institutions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Erin “pirouetted” (who likes the term “pivot” anymore?) to working on virtual events, including as stage manager for WSHU Public Radio‘s online panel discussions and virtual platform liaison for several international medical conferences. She is proud to admit that her favorite cast members so far were the adorable camels of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular tour, though many others remember it for those famous high-kicking Rockettes. Erin is also an active volunteer for several industry organizations. As Vice Commissioner in Management for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), she organizes the PRIMP (Portfolio Reviews & Interview Materials Prep) sessions along with other special projects. She is the Colorado Regional Rep for the Stage Managers’ Association (SMA), and was the first-ever Co-Secretary outside of New York, as well as the Chair of Webinars prior to and during the original surges of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also serves on the Denver Liaison Committee/Community Group for Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), and was elected a Western Stage Manager Convention Delegate. In January 2022, she became a published author as well, contributing two chapters in Off Headset: Essays on Stage Management Work, Life, and Career, expanded topics from her popular stage management blog. During warmer months, Erin splits her time between theatre and guiding canoe and duckie trips down any river possible.


“Bit by bit, putting it together…” – Stephen Sondheim

No picture for the puzzle, no idea what it will be - Mystery!Putting a show together is often like a big jigsaw puzzle. Unlike recreational puzzles, productions don’t usually have a “picture on the front of the box” to help guide you, and you may not even be sure if you have all the puzzle pieces. However, you can use what you’ve learned from other production puzzles to go about creating the best version of the current project possible, and figuring out how to fill in what might be missing. If you have a team of people working on the puzzle, focusing on their areas, but adding to the overall picture, you can create a great work of art.

….And it’s fun to vary between large complex puzzles and ones with fewer pieces!

I wrote even more about my “puzzle philosophy” in a blog post, when we were working on backstage puzzles, including the one pictured above.

I recently found a newspaper article that 17-year-old Erin (that’s me) wrote about the world of the theatre and how life changing it could be…and I even cover the diversity and acceptance that can happen within. I’m hoping that I have done that high school senior proud. She inspires me, too.

Resume and Credits