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 Anna Morton, McCarter’s Literary Manager.
What do you do at McCarter?
I am the Literary Manager at McCarter, which basically means I work with scripts and playwrights. I manage the database of submissions that come into the theater, read and see lots of plays, prepare scripts for rehearsals, administer commissions, maintain correspondence with agents and artists, and do production dramaturgy for our mainstage shows. I am also a member of the Artistic Staff, so I participate in season planning and other programming conversations with Emily Mann (McCarter’s Artistic Director and Resident Playwright), our team of producers, and Paula Alekson (McCarter’s Director of Education and Engagement).
Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I grew up in Cambridge, MA and now I live here in Princeton—from one college town to another!
Where did you go to school, and what did you study?
I went to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME where I majored in English and minored in Theater.
What attracted you to McCarter Theatre Center?
I came to McCarter through its internship program, and I really connected with the people I met during my interview process. I could tell that the culture and community here at the theater would be a good fit for me. I was also very interested in working at a theater with a woman artistic director, and when I got here I was very excited to see that there are a lot of other women in leadership roles as well.
What projects are you currently working on in your position?
At the moment I am preparing for rehearsals for our next production: Crowns, written and directed by Regina Taylor. This includes formatting and printing out copies of the rehearsal script, creating a resource packet for the actors, and gathering image research to display on the bulletin boards in the rehearsal room.
I am also in the midst of inviting artists to our annual Sallie B. Goodman Artist Retreat that takes place in June. We host nine artists at the Palmer House in Princeton for about a week in which they can work on whatever they want, and we offer optional group activities and dinners throughout so that they can get to know the other artists in residence and the McCarter artistic staff. It’s one of my favorite events of the year.
I have also been reading a lot of plays in the past few weeks; it’s been a good time for me to get a lot of reading done since we are in between rehearsals for our mainstage productions.
How has your work inspired you?
I love reading, seeing, and talking about plays, and I have a moment at least once a week where I think to myself “I can’t believe this is part of my job!”
I usually take the train into New York once or twice a week to see shows and readings, and I am always inspired by the work that other artists and institutions are creating. Keeping up with what is going on in the industry outside of Princeton helps to give me ideas about programming and projects for McCarter, but it is also always just fun to see the work that my colleagues are investing in and producing on their stages.
What is your favorite project that you have worked on thus far?
Last year, I helped to produce The Every 28 Hour Plays in my role as McCarter’s Artistic Assistant. That project took a lot of hard work, and it was the first times in my professional career where I felt a real sense of ownership over a project. I was amazed by how many people came to see the plays and how appreciative our audience was that we had shared the plays with the community. I remember feeling very proud that McCarter had made it a priority to participate in this national theatrical movement, and it was a very special feeling to produce work that I believed in so wholeheartedly.
What’s your favorite way to de-stress?
I am a big fan of podcasts—I listen to them when I’m cooking, cleaning my apartment, and walking to work. Some of my favorites are Another Round, 2 Dope Queens, Around the NFL, and almost anything from Gimlet Media.