Audio & Music Production Major Makes Star Broadway Connections
Ollie Ward ’20, who dreams of a career in musical theater production, had an unforgettable summer working alongside Broadway stars such as Matthew Broderick, Eden Espinosa, and Samira Wiley, and professionals for famous shows including Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton.
“Williamstown is like summer camp for Broadway professionals,” Ward said. “It’s where they go to let their creative minds wander. I was able to be a part of that creative process, and build sound systems, design, and engineer.”
Ward assisted with sound design and engineered several theatre performances, which included the up-and-coming musical Lempika. She said the greatest part of her internship was working alongside Broadway engineers, associate designers, and celebrities.
“The connections I made were unbelievable, and I now call them friends,” said Ward. “Also meeting Kai Harada was amazing because he just won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Sound Design for a Musical with The Band’s Visit.”
As part of the internship, Ward also traveled to New York City for two weeks to build boards, racks, and speaker equipment from scratch for the festival. She worked among some of the best of the best in the industry.
The internship gave Ward real first-hand experiences to complement her classroom and experiential learning at LVC. She credits the extracurricular activities she participates in on campus as essential in preparing her for the professional experience she got in Williamstown. She is a member of the College’s student-run record label, VALE, the Wig and Buckle Theater Company, Valley Audio (which runs sound for performances on campus), and serves as president of the VALE Media Industries Conference, which this year is focusing on women in the music business.
Ward’s internship was made possible through the connections of Professor Michelle Barraclough, instructor of music, who introduced her to a friend in the theater sound industry. After some additional networking, Ward was recommended for the internship in New England, which has set her on the path to a Broadway future.
“My mom always told me to find a job that didn’t feel like work, and I can now officially say I have found that job,” Ward said. “I want to grow from here. This is just the start for me.”
Ward plans to hone her skills on campus and then move to Manhattan next summer to work as a sound engineer for local theaters.
- Jolie Winemiller ’18, LVC Marketing & Communications Assistant