Saturday, November 12, 2016
Major and degree earned: B.A. in Theatre
Graduation year: 2012
Current position: Associate Project Coordinator, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment
Hometown: Troy, MI
Now living in: Orlando, FL
In high school, I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in theatre, but I wasn't sure in which capacity (directing, acting, production, design) as I had an interest in multiple areas. In researching schools, it was hard to find a program that would allow me to expand my studies outside of a single focus. Luckily, my community theatre director suggested I look into MSU's Department of Theatre, because it wouldn't put me on a "cookie-cutter" track, and would give me the opportunity to explore my varied interests. After visiting the campus and talking to a few friends in the department, I knew it was the school for me!
Michigan State University provided me so many opportunities both in and out of class to gain practical knowledge and work experience. As early as freshman year, I was adding credits to my résumé by stage managing the Freshman Showcase and Summer Circle Theatre, while learning the ins and outs of working in a professional theater environment. The communication and organization skills I developed through my stage management experience at MSU are used daily in my current job with Walt Disney Imagineering. I often compare my job to that of a theatrical stage manager, as I work with designers, technicians, producers and performers in the development of shows, parades, puppets, and costumes for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The electives I was able to take, such as arts administration and advertising, helped me build a well-rounded knowledge base that has been an integral part of my success in the entertainment industry.
My most memorable experience at Michigan State University was my freshman year. It’s definitely an exciting yet scary adventure, moving to college and starting fresh with new friends and new experiences. I wasn’t sure where my theater degree was going to take me, but thanks to the open house I met the stage management students and found my calling. I was lucky enough to be the stage manager for the Freshman Showcase, assistant stage manager for two department productions, plus stage manage an open-stage show . . . all in my freshman year! The following summer, I was hired to be the stage manager for the three Summer Circle Theatre productions, where I really fell in love with stage management. The ability to work with so many different directors, designers, and performers in such a short time was an invaluable experience.
Use your time as a student to gain as much experience as you can and put as much on your résumé as possible. Your college years are your chance to take risks and make mistakes. I definitely played it safe during college, but looking back I wish I had been more adventurous and gotten more involved on campus. So many of the opportunities available during college (workshops, seminars, on-campus employment, clubs, etc.) won’t be as easily available or as affordable once you’ve graduated.
Zach English, Stage Manager for the 3rd Annual Freshman Showcase at MSU (2009)
Zach English, Senior Seminar Outreach and Engagement Project at MSU (2009)
Project DayDream Workshop in Metro Detroit
The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic – Nighttime Show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire – Castle Stage Show at Magic Kingdom Park
Star Wars Launch Bay – Character Meet-and-Greets at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Princess Elena of Avalor’s Royal Welcome - Castle Show at Magic Kingdom Park
The Muppets Present: Great Moments in American History - Live Show at Magic Kingdom Park
Zach English (MSU '12) is a graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. While studying, Zach stage managed productions for the Department of Theatre, MSU’s Summer Circle Theatre, and community theatres in the metro-Detroit area. With a passion for performing arts, Zach moved to Orlando after graduation and completed two internships with Orlando Repertory Theatre in their Marketing and Development departments. As a Disney Cast Member, Zach created magical moments as both a Character Performer and Guest Relations Host, and coordinated special events as a Production Assistant for Disney Creative Entertainment. His combined theatre education and experience as a stage manager led to roles as an Event Manager and Multimedia Designer for an Orlando-area production company, as well as an Entertainment Manager at Walt Disney World. In 2015, Zach began his current job as an Associate Project Coordinator with Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, where he assists in the design and development of entertainment projects for the Disney theme parks, resorts, and cruise ships around the globe. In his free time, he is a freelance graphic and web designer for two community theatre companies in metro-Detroit, where he spent much of his youth performing onstage.
Go Green! Go White!