Meet Jamison Ko, who earned the 2022 International Thespian Excellence Award for Stage Management at the International Theatre Festival last June! Read about her experience with theatre, her advice for up-and-coming Thespians, and what she’s planned for the future.

Jamison Ko
Casteel High School
Troupe 8337 | Queen Creek, AZ
The Drowsy Chaperone by Bob Martin, Don McKellar,
Lisa Lambert, and Greg Morrison

What are your top three tips or words of wisdom about being involved in theatre?

Get involved! Nothing will benefit you more than learning about all the different aspects of a show that aren’t involved in what you currently do. Every actor should try tech, and vice versa. The experience of putting on a show is greatly exemplified when you recognize all of the different people and parts it took to get to the finished product. Also, look for show binders at second-hand stores like Goodwill.

Jamison Ko headshot

Tell readers the most important steps you took to win the 2022 Thespy for Stage Management.

I start by making a list of things that went well during the show process (punctual meetings, staying on task at rehearsal, etc.). From there, group those positive things into categories based on what skill you used to accomplish that thing (i.e. time management, communication, etc.). Use those larger categories as stepping stones for your presentation, supported by your paperwork. Don’t be afraid to show your personality and passion, and practice for everyone you can!

How long have you been doing stage management? Is there an interesting origin story about how you came to this important part of a production?

I have been stage managing for five years! Some of my favorite stage management credits include Pippin and The Drowsy Chaperone. My journey into technical theatre began after being cut from my school musical. I desperately wanted to be involved with the show and the theatre community, so I interviewed to be a technician. From there, I fell in love with the backstage environment and the process of creating a show, which led me to stage management the following year.

Tell us a story about a major potential disaster you overcame as stage manager, and how.

I worked on a production where one of our assistant stage managers (ASMs) had to leave the show just prior to beginning full runs. Losing them put a major wrench in the hierarchy and plan we had for moving into tech week. I was forced to quickly adapt the delegation of tasks to be covered by myself and now only one ASM so that we didn’t lose any progress or forget to do anything previously covered by the now absent ASM. We also had to rework the agenda for that week’s production meeting to include a conversation on how we would alter the backstage crew plan to function effectively with fewer people so there were no surprises or forgotten elements come tech week. Both of these things were incredibly challenging but thankfully handled promptly and allowed us to move forward in the show without any major setbacks.

Thespian college flag

What’s next in your theatre career? Further education in theatre? A different path where theatre still is a part of your life?

My next step is to attend Oklahoma City University in fall of 2022 to study stage management, and eventually make theatre and stage management into a career!

What would you like to say that we didn’t ask you about?

In my presentation, I obviously talk about my prompt book, but I also always make a point to discuss the softer side of the job. As stage manager, you have not only the responsibility of running the show but also an obligation to make sure the cast and crew are able to give their best performance during each show and rehearsal by providing an environment that encourages vulnerability and is supportive and comfortable for everyone involved. The stage manager plays a very crucial role in establishing and maintaining this environment and just making sure that everyone in the production can be their best!

View all of the 2022 Thespy Award winners, and get ready for ITF 2023! Watch for deadlines to be updated soon at

Natalie Clare is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Dramatics. Visit her work at

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