Meet Matt Curtis, the Content & Marketing Director at Educational Theatre Association (EdTA). Over the past decade, he’s contributed to the development of over 50 plays and musicals through his work with Disney Theatrical Productions and iTheatrics. Matt received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Northern Colorado, where he’s currently on the remote staff of the graduate school. Here’s how Matt puts his theatre education to work in his current gig with EdTA. 

Theatre at Work_Matt CurtisMatt Curtis has spent his life involved in theatre. From his first role as “a piece of paper from France” in a schoolroom play, he’s trained and developed theatre skills he uses in his role with Educational Theatre Association.

Matt says, “There are literally hundreds of opportunities to work in the theatre business that you don’t learn about in even the best theatre schools!” 

Q: Were you in an International Thespian Society (ITS) Troupe in high school?

A: Yes! I’m a proud alum of Thespian Troupe 561 at Thomas Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I was inducted after my freshman year and participated in (I think) over 20 shows while I was a student there. My senior year, I was elected Vice President of our Thespian troupe and was proud to be an example for my younger peers.

2. Tell us about your first show and how it guided forward in the theatre world.

The first show I was involved in was a classroom production in the 3rd grade. It was a whodunit mystery, and all the characters were classroom supplies. I played a piece of paper from France called “Monsieur Papier.” I played a few fun rolls like that in classroom plays, and then in the 6th grade, the high school in my town was doing Annie Get Your Gun and needed a younger kid to play Annie’s brother, Little Jake. My teacher recommended me, and even though I was two inches taller than the senior they cast as Annie Oakley, I still got the part! It was my introduction to musical theatre and I’ve been hooked ever since.

3. What trainings or workshops have made the greatest impact on your theatre skills and how?

Every training was important. I didn’t naturally have the greatest singing voice, so I took voice lessons from lots of teachers. I got into a dance class so I could do more musicals and audition for show choir. I loved putting in the time and doing the work and that, I think, is what’s important. Work can be tedious and laborious, so you need to find an area where you love to do the work. For me, performing sparked my interest. For others, it’s lighting or scenic painting or graphics or publicity. There are so many avenues into the theatre community and finding the one in which you enjoy the monotony of the “work” is your sweet spot!

4. How does your theatre training help you succeed in your current work?

Theatre has fueled my entire professional life. I majored in musical theatre in college and moved to New York like millions of other hopefuls. I fell into directing along the way (which is still my favorite hobby, when I get to pursue it), but also kept gravitating back toward education. I eventually went back to school and earned a master’s degree in theatre education, which set me on an incredible path that led me to where I am now. And although my current job is administrative in nature, I use my knowledge of everything I’ve learned every day – from making decisions about what content appears here on, to helping our amazing team organize and execute the International Thespian Festival. And I get to bring the same joy I found in theatre in school to a new generation of students. And I still enjoy doing the work. I’m incredibly lucky!

5. How do you get to “do theatre at work?”

I think you have to stay flexible in what your perception of “theatre” is. I originally wanted to be a performer, then a director, then a teacher. I explored each of those roles and doing so allowed me to stumble on careers in the theatre I never knew existed. I always tell young people: stay interested in things outside of the theatre world because you never know when you’ll find an opportunity to use them inside the theatre world. What used to be hobbies of mine – graphic design, photography, planning events, playwriting, directing – are things I’ve been called upon to use in my career throughout the years, on Broadway and here at EdTA.

6. What would you like to tell us that we haven’t asked about?

If you’re ever curious about all the career possibilities in the theatre, open a Playbill or a program from a professional production and flip past the cast bios. Toward the back, you’ll find a list of every single person who touched that production, and it’s usually a very long list. Each of these people are attached to a fascinating job that helps the production become what you see on stage. There are literally hundreds of opportunities to work in the theatre business that you don’t learn about in even the best theatre schools! 

Patty Craft is content manager of

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