[PODCAST EP18] From the Farm to the Ballroom with Project Manager, Beth Forbes
Written by: Ashley Davis
The moment Beth Forbes realized Live Event Production was something she wanted to pursue, she was twelve years old and tangled up in rope, trying to stop a 200 lb. disco ball from falling on a stage full of dancing actors. She was successful and walked away from the experience wide-eyed, full of adrenaline, and thinking, “I know whatever this is, I want more of it!”
Beth grew up on a dairy farm in Middleville, Michigan with her parents and two older siblings. Working hard and as a team was daily life for her family. When Beth turned twelve, her mother encouraged her to attend a Summer camp. Beth thought theatre camp sounded interesting and gave it a try. The camp required participants to work both sides of the curtain, allowing the aspiring thespians to learn both acting and the technical aspects of theatre. Beth loved it. Her parents supported her enthusiasm for theatre and encouraged her to pursue this new interest, even driving her back and forth on a 45-minute commute so that she could stay involved.
At age seventeen, Beth realized she had a talent for managing people. As stage manager for her local community theatre, she was oftentimes both working on-deck and calling the show at the same time. She began to view herself as a hub of a wheel, channeling information to and from different crew members.
Beth was introduced to the world of corporate production soon after, when she was approached by a lighting designer and asked if she’d be interested in Production Assistant position. Beth accepted. Fifteen years later, Beth is a Project Manager in the corporate production field and still likes to recall her hub-of-a-wheel analogy from her young theatre days, saying, “I get to manage this huge group of highly qualified, extremely talented professionals. And I get to be the one to set them up to succeed.”
In this episode, we are live on show site in Las Vegas as host Clem Harrod interviews Project Manager Beth Forbes. Listen-in as Beth shares her wisdom about researching clients, valuing crew members, and keeping a work-life balance.
Ashley Davis is a freelance Assistant Stage Manager and Production Assistant. She graduated from Asbury University majoring in Media Communications with an emphasis Production. She was first exposed to corporate production in 2011 and has been in-love with the industry ever since. In her words, “My favorite part about working a show is seeing everything come together and experiencing the audience’s reaction to it. I like to watch a talented crew make it happen and the level of trust we gain for one another as we rely on each crew member to contribute their skill set.”