California Musical Theatre: Victoria Plata


Q. California Musical Theatre’s education department has a ton of programs, from internships providing hands-on theater training to summer dance classes. How did you land such a cool job?
A. When I first applied for this position, I thought, “I don’t have a chance in the world,” and after interviewing I realized that everything I had done led me to this. My background is in arts education—I was a teacher and then an arts administrator and grant writer—but I wasn’t a theater teacher. I don’t sing and dance, and I don’t act, so I thought I might not be the right candidate. But what they really wanted me to do is create programs, which is fabulous. We now have 13 different programs altogether.

Q. How long have you been doing this?
A. I started in July of ’96, and it was a new position; I’m their first and only education director.

Q. What populations do you reach?
A. We’re working with everyone from kindergartners to seniors. This year, we made new inroads with that (senior) population. We realized we had these wonderful singers and actors here in town in Forever Plaid, and that they don’t have that much to do during the day, so they’ve been working with the seniors, teaching them singing and acting. We also provide free tickets so students from as far away as Stanislaus County and Lake Tahoe can come to see our shows.

Q. Is your job as much fun as it sounds?
A. It is fun! At the end of the summer, I always tell my boss I’m going back to teaching because I want my summers off. But I’m only kidding. This is the best.