Puget Sound graduates (majors and non-majors) win internships at theatres in the Northwest and around the country; they enter MA, MFA and PhD programs in the States and abroad. Theatre alums excel in many different professions from theatre and film to education and business. Here are just a few examples:

Alumni Spotlight: Casey Oakes, '13

By Ainsley Austin, '23

Illustration by Tess Berger, '20

Casey Oakes ‘13 came to the University of Puget Sound without ever having visited campus. He knew he wanted to attend somewhere far away from his home state of Maine and thought Puget Sound was one of the “most beautiful colleges in the country.” He didn’t think it would be possible to make theatre his career, so he entered school as a psychology major. But with encouragement from his parents and the expert faculty at Puget Sound (Geoff Proehl, Kurt Walls, & Marilyn Bennett), Casey changed majors and has remained involved in the theatre ever since. Much of Casey’s professional work has been in arts administration and he recently completed a master’s degree in nonprofit management from the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. He’s considering pursuing his PhD next and says he feels lucky to be able to work in the arts full-time.

While at Puget Sound, Casey was active in many aspects of student life, including being a part of Sigma Chi Fraternity and studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland for a semester at the Gaiety School of Acting. He double majored in Theatre Arts and English with an emphasis in Creative Writing, both of which he uses every day as the Director of Marketing and Communications at Portland Ovations, a performing arts organization in Portland, Maine connecting artists and audiences through diverse arts experiences. Casey was very involved in the Theatre department at Puget Sound; acting, directing, playwriting, and even being awarded two scholarships for stage managing department productions.

The day after graduation, Casey moved across the country to New Jersey to intern at Cape May Stage, a professional Equity theatre company. “I sometimes experienced 100-hour weeks working on two shows at once. It’s still one of my very favorite jobs,” he said. “When my internship ended they hired me as the Equity Production Stage Manager where I stayed for another year until moving to Massachusetts to be the Director of Artistic Engagement at Gloucester Stage.” After working in Massachusetts, Casey moved back to his home state of Maine and worked for Good Theater as an Artistic Associate and Equity Stage Manager and then spent four years at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, one of the world’s premier music institutes. In 2019, Casey started in his current position at Portland Ovations.

Portland Ovations presents a wide range of performing arts — including Broadway, dance, music, and theatre. The organization is currently producing and presenting virtual performances and conversations and “evolving with the moment until we can get back to being live,” Casey says. In addition to his work at Portland Ovations, Casey also serves on three boards — the Portland Conservatory of Music; a community music school; the Portland Ballet, a nonprofit for dance education and performance; and Visit Portland, the official marketing organization for Portland, Maine.

Casey’s double major has greatly impacted his career. “A big part of my work has been marketing, development, and arts administration,” he says. “I try to always be telling a story, and that’s what marketing is at its best.” Casey’s love of storytelling is what ultimately drew him to a degree in Theatre Arts and Creative Writing at Puget Sound. His advice to current theatre undergrads is to take full advantage of the Puget Sound community because it goes by too fast. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You don’t get this opportunity twice. Enjoy it all.”

You can find more of Casey’s work with Portland Ovations.