Get Career-Ready with: Madison Downing '24, Artistic Director of Ghostlight Theatre Company and Made for the Stage Youth Theatre Workshop Student Profile
Photo by Ethan Stoner
Meet Madison Downing '24
- Theatre Arts
- Lima, Ohio
- High School
- Shawnee High School
- Dream Job
- Anything that allows me to make art that helps others
- Hobbies & Interests
- Thrift shopping, listening to music, driving my car with the windows down with my friends, all things reality TV, eating yummy food
"From the moment I learned about the many different jobs in theatre, I immediately knew I couldn’t just do one thing. The theatre arts program encourages exactly that. This program has molded me into a well-rounded performer, director, playwright, producer and so much more."
What are the three things you love most about Point Park and why?
I love the campus. The smaller size makes everything accessible by foot (making it easier to get to class on time). I’m not used to city living, but I enjoy the urban feel of Downtown Pittsburgh while being right next to the river and nature. I especially love all the amazing restaurants; there are so many options, you can get what you love and try something new.
Why did you choose the theatre arts program and what do you enjoy about it?
I got my start as a performer when I was nine years old. Then at 16, I directed for the first time. From the moment I learned about the many different jobs in theatre, I immediately knew I couldn’t just do one thing. The theatre arts program encourages exactly that. This program has molded me into a well-rounded performer, director, playwright, producer and so much more. I feel ready to take on any job.
Tell us about Ghostlight Theatre Company and your role with it.
Ghostlight Theatre Company is student-run and produces theatre for and by students.
As this year's artistic director, I lead a team of Conservatory of Performing Arts and Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management majors in all the background work needed to make art and shows happen. We select a show season, prepare budgets, schedule and provide any support to students that we can.
Our mission is to help students create lasting artistic habits that allow them to produce work long after their time with Ghostlight and Point Park.
@pointparku Follow along with Theatre Arts major Madison Downing '24 as she shares how she gets career-ready at #PointParkU! See what it's like to Artistic Director of @Ghostlight PPU and more!💡✨ Full story on pointpark.edu! #GRWM #GetReadyWithMe #TheatreTok #TheatreTikTok #PointParkUniversity ♬ Pumpkin - Fred Paci & Nobel
You successfully operated a grant-funded summer theatre program in your hometown two summers in a row. Tell us more about that, your role and the growth you’ve seen as a result of your work.
Two years ago, I founded the Made for the Stage Youth Theatre Workshop. As a young, budding artist, I was always looking for opportunities to learn and grow my knowledge of theatre. However, theatre is a costly passion and thrives in bigger cities. Professional theatrical training is hard to come by in small towns and even harder to afford. So, when I saw a need, I decided to fill it.
I am the artistic director of this free workshop, open to 30 students (and growing) ages 8-18, where my staff and I teach acting, directing, playwriting, musical theatre, voiceover, theatre basics, auditioning and, most importantly, safety and boundaries.
First and foremost, I am leading a group of young, future, world-changing humans and then artists. It’s important to me that these students learn the value of their voice and understand what they deserve in their spaces and how to ask for what they need.
An essential element of the success of this workshop is connection with the community. I only share time with these students for two weeks, so I partner with local community theatres to give the students a place to continue their theatre experience throughout the year.
At the end of two weeks, the students perform a showcase open to family, friends and the community where they act in scenes, show pieces they’ve directed, sing a big musical number and so much more. What warms my heart the most is how these students arrive as strangers and leave as friends. Most of these students would never have theatrical training like this due to financial or geographical obstacles, and if I get to help just one kid experience the joy I feel for theatre, then I have succeeded.
When did it all come together that you made the right decision to major in theatre arts at Point Park?
I was in a meeting on the first day of school, my junior year. I thought about the work I had done, the work I was going to make and the people I got to share it with, and I just knew. I wouldn’t be this happy had I chosen another path. I am proud to be where I was then and even more proud of where I am now.
How is Point Park preparing you for career success?
Point Park has given me countless opportunities to be a leader. I have a work study position at the Professional Career-Readiness Center, which has helped me understand and appreciate the business side of any operation even more.
I enjoy the responsibility that comes with my job. I get to help bridge the gap between institution and student and give insight into what students need and want. It’s a great responsibility and one that I enjoy immensely. I have strengthened my time management, communication, business and, most importantly, my confidence, and I feel ready to take all that I’ve learned with me long after I graduate.