Front and Center Stage: Staff Spotlight

McCarter is so much more than what you see on our stages. Dozens of arts professionals are hard at work every day making a difference in the lives of others. This is the first is a series of short interviews with McCarter staff, where they discuss their backgrounds, their work, and their professional passions. We recently sat down with Manda Bliss, McCarter’s Executive Assistant to the Artistic and Managing Directors.

What do you do at McCarter?
I am the Executive Assistant to the Artistic and Managing Directors at McCarter.

Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I am from Allentown, NJ – just 30 minutes south of Princeton.  And I live in Griggstown, in a wonderful neighborhood called Sunset Hill, just 20 minutes north of Princeton.

Where did you go to school, and what did you study?
Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, studying theater with a concentration in directing.

What attracted you to McCarter Theatre Center?
I loved coming to McCarter growing up with my family and my high school theater classes.  I was just out of college when I started at McCarter and was so excited to be a part of a professional theater of this caliber.

What projects are you currently working on in your position?
Preparing for the next full Board meeting; as the Assistant to the Managing Director I work closely with the Board.  And preparing for a welcome dinner at our Artistic Director’s home for the company of Stones in His Pocket beginning rehearsals here in Princeton on December 12th.

How has your work inspired you?
My bosses are incredibly talented people, as are each of my co-workers.  There is a constant positive energy, care for one another, and our work as a whole that is infectious.

What is your favorite project that you have worked on so far?
I love the annual Artists Retreat, where we bring playwrights, directors, and other amazing artists here to Princeton to work on whatever they would like for 10 days in June.  We provide a lovely place for them to stay, group gatherings and meals, and resources to aid their work.  It is incredible to commune with these amazing artists as they craft their next project; the time always feel like a retreat for all of us and a time filled with blossoming energy and palpable creativity.

What’s your favorite way to de-stress?
Yoga and meditation are a big part of my life and are key to cultivating my inner peace.  But I also adore music evenings with my husband and 7 month old daughter; we’ll sing, dance, and play guitar – it’s the most wonderful thing to do after a long day!