November 8th, 2023

“There's so many jobs out there where you can't get the job unless you've had the job. Technical theater is no different. It's about trust. It's about safety and making sure you're going to be able to do it when you show up.” - Mitch Mattson

As the team at Roundabout Theatre Company considered the significant barriers to entry for potential technical theatre workers, they realized something was “off”. So, they created the Theatrical Workforce Development Program (TWDP) -  a partnership between Roundabout Theatre Company and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE.) TWDP offers participants hands-on, work-based training in four technical disciplines and connects them directly to employment opportunities in theatres across the city. 

In this episode, A.R.T./New York Theatre Operations Manager Sarah Lahue talks to the program leaders about how TWDP helps participants with everything from learning about self care on the job to avoiding student loan debt. Tune in to learn all about how this innovative program is helping to develop the next generation of theatrical workers.





Njeri Baker is a dedicated Arts Administrator with more than 7 years of theater experience across production, company management, and theater administration. She graduated from Howard University and New York University with a BFA in Theater Technology & an MA in Performing Arts Administration, respectively. Currently, she's an Education Manager at Roundabout Theatre Company, managing their Theatrical Workforce Development Program. A program training young people in backstage theater work to diversify the technical theater industry.


Mitch Mattson is the Director of Career Training and Operations at Roundabout Theatre Company – NYC’s largest not-for-profit theatre company. He leads a team of arts administrators and teaching artists fostering the next generation of dynamic theatre professionals through career and workforce development programs. His work has created partnerships with over 5 professional theatres and shops across NYC – enabling Roundabout’s Theatrical Workforce Development Program to provide training and jobs to early career technicians. He facilitates workshops and presents on theatre education topics nationally and internationally. Mitch is the recent Board Chair of the American Alliance for Theatre & Education and an alum of Coro: Leadership New York, LNY31. Previous work of his at Arena Stage in Washington, DC was sponsored by the US State Department, taking him to India to create theater with young people.



Sarah Lahue has been working at the A.R.T./New York Theatres since 2018. As the Operations Manager for the Theatres, Sarah fields inquiries and helps to guide member companies and other renters through the process of booking time in the space and maintains the building calendar at large both for long and short-term rentals. She also manages the freelance Front of House Managers and is the point of contact for all front of house issues. In addition to her work at A.R.T./New York, Sarah works as a freelance stage manager both in Indie Theater and Off Broadway. She spends whatever free time is left watching horror movies.




Nicky Maggio or “N” (they/them) currently serves as Programs Manager at A.R.T/New York. N is a freelance theatrical curator with a focus on new play development and directing. Originally born in southeast Massachusetts, Nicky received their B.F.A. at Emerson College and then completed their M.F.A in Directing at The New School. For more information on their artistic projects, visit @nickymaggio


Ashley J. Hicks (a.k.a. Ash, she/her) works currently as a Programs Coordinator for A.R.T./New York.  Ash is an actor, writer, solo performer & teaching artist. She received her MFA from the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in 2021 and was a participant in the 2022 Disney Television Discovers: Talent Showcase. To learn more about Ashley and her past/recent projects, please visit



Additional Links:

If you’d like to receive new episodes as they’re published, please subscribe to “What’s Off?” in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts. It really helps others find the show.

“What’s Off?” Production Staff
David E. Shane, Executive Producer
Erica Wray Barnes, Associate Producer
Ashley J. Hicks and Nicky Maggio, Line Producers
Dante32, Audio Engineer
Devon Adams, Art Director/Graphic Design