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Hannah Pohlman on Managing, Mentoring and Making Art

By Elizabeth Saltzgiver, Managing Director for Otterbein Theatre & Dance

Otterbein Theatre & Dance is thrilled to have Hannah Pohlman join it full-time staff as Production Manager just in time for the start of the 2022-23 academic year and theater season. She has worked in many venues through central Ohio and beyond as a stage manager, production manager, seamstress, and administrator, and has great passion for supporting the arts in her hometown.

Elizabeth: Growing up in central Ohio, where did you find your passion for the arts, and more specifically, theater?
Hannah: My love for the arts started at a very young age —I was always eager to sing in music class and church, to play new instruments, and to try new things in art class. My mind was constantly moving a thousand miles a minute and I found a way to anchor myself through the arts. When I got to middle school and theater became an option, I knew I had to try it out.

Theater and the sense of community it brings had me hooked. I soon found that my skills were a great match for stage management, and the rest is history. The moment I discovered stage management, there was nothing else I wanted to pursue.

Elizabeth: What central Ohio arts experience has had the greatest impact on you?
Hannah:
For the past few years, I’ve had the privilege to work with the CAPA Marquee Awards Program. When I was asked to work as the assistant production manager on the first ever Marquee Awards Showcase, I was so jealous that the program had not existed when I was in high school, but I was also incredibly excited to work on the project. The Marquee Awards are not just an awards program. Students from the schools that are involved are able to take advantage of educational opportunities throughout the school year, grow their talents and skills, grow their network and further their arts education. Seeing high school students doing what they love, finding friends they never knew before and growing as individuals and artists during this program, is the most impactful experience.

Elizabeth: How did the pandemic affect your work as an artist and what got you through it?
Hannah: The pandemic was devastating as an artist. I lost my full-time job in the arts, my entire career field became dormant, and it made me feel like everything I’d done up until that point had been for nothing. I used my sewing skills working in my own Etsy shop, bridal alterations, custom sewing at Joann’s and even in manufacturing sewing where I spent almost year sewing liners for prosthetic limbs. I used my stage management skills as a production assistant on Hollister photoshoots, packing boxes for corporate events and picking up every little bit of work I could to help grow my network, my education and my skillsets.

Elizabeth: What excites you about the 2022-23 Otterbein Theatre & Dance season and what do you most look forward to working on with your students this year?
Hannah: Dance Concert is always something that excites me, but this year’s concert is especially exciting because the idea of the concert was conceived and written by a current student. It’s mind-blowing to me that our students are so talented and mature that we have one of our own behind this year’s Dance Concert, “Find Me in the Shadows.”

Elizabeth: What do you do for fun when you aren’t in a theater?
Hannah: I love hiking and camping! It’s incredibly soothing to turn off my phone (or go out of cell service range) and just experience the natural world. I also like to think of it as balancing out all the time I spend inside with theater. I’m currently working my way through the 52 Hikes Challenge and visiting all the Ohio State Parks and National Parks.

Hannah’s work behind the scenes will be an integral part of the 2022-23 Otterbein Theatre season, beginning with A Little Night Music, opening Sept. 22. Learn more about what the year has in store, and purchase tickets at www.otterbein.edu/drama.

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