Welcome to Ask an Admin, a series in which we talk with theatre administrators working in Minnesota to learn about their backgrounds, their jobs, and what snacks they keep in their desks.

Myrtle Lemon

Marketing and Communications Manager at Jungle Theater

Tell us a little about yourself and your path to your current position (schooling, training, past work/life experience, mentors, etc.).

I graduated from St. Olaf college with my Bachelor of Music in music education. I knew that I didn’t want to teach, but I wanted to be an arts advocate of some kind. I sat down with my good friend, Eric Broker, the communications director at Minnesota Opera, and he offered me a few words of advice. We started chatting about what I loved about teaching, and what I didn’t. It became clear that I needed a job that would allow me to share my love of the arts with other people, while flexing my creative muscle as well. Marketing & Comms seemed like the perfect fit! I had done some marketing for the music department of St. Olaf through my collegiate life, and my post-grad one, so it seemed only natural. I interned and then temped at Minnesota Opera until I found a home at Jungle Theater. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A singing veterinarian! Or an optometrist with seven dogs.

What’s the best part of your job?

I LOVE spreading the good news of the arts to everyone I meet. And my favorite part is that the Jungle does such interesting and creative works that represent marginalized voices and give life to untold stories. (Shameless promotion much?) It’s always a joy to greet new audience members in the theater who will become lifelong arts patrons because of their one experience. 

When did you know you wanted to work in theatre/the arts?

My parents were both musicians, and I went to arts performance almost every week. I played violin, cello, piano, sang, wrote poetry, created visual art, and acted in plays (really badly). As a kid, it seemed only natural to continue to my professional work along the same vein. I couldn’t imagine my life without the arts, and they always teach me something new. I wanted to do the same for everyone else in the world! 

What has surprised you most about your work/working in theatre/the arts?

Probably how much it doesn’t feel like work! It’s always something new every day and extremely exciting and fulfilling work. 

Who gave you the best advice you’ve ever received, and what was that advice?

My dad once said, “Find out what you love to do, and find out who will pay you to do it.” Very tongue-in-cheek, but I love him, and love that advice. 

What’s the best/your favorite production you’ve seen in the last year? 

This is again a shameless self-promotion, but I loved our production of The Wolves.It was so striking to see a show with a cast AND crew completely of women. And I got to know many of the actors personally. They’re brilliant young artists. I’m excited to see it again at the end of January!

You’re stuck on a desert island. Which three theatre-makers would you want to be stuck with (living or dead)?

Ezra Miller, Lily Tomlin, and Josephine Baker (she was mostly a dancer but I’m counting her!) 

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to work in arts administration/your position?

LEARN PHOTOSHOP. You’ll always need it. Also, don’t be afraid of the actors. Even if they’ve won 15 Emmys, they’re still regular people who just want some tea.

Do you keep snacks in your desk/work area? What are they?

Unfortunately, YES. I have about a thousand tea sachets, raw unsalted cashews (the raw/unsalted part is very important), and some Cliff bars that I’ve stolen from my fiancé (sorry, Trev!)