Katrina Niemisto’s big break in the theater industry involved a blizzard.
Niemisto, a 2008 graduate of the theater program in Grand Valley’s School of Communications, had worked tirelessly as a freelance theatre professional, mostly in the Denver area. Through her former internship with the Denver Center Theatre Company, she was recommended to pinch hit as a stage manager for Theatre Master’s Aspen, when a family emergency called the staff stage manager away. With little notice, Niemisto stepped in to work on the show for the rest of its run.
“I got the phone call at 11:30 a.m. and by noon was in my car to drive five hours to Aspen, through a blizzard, to be in rehearsal that evening,” she said. “We worked four 18-hour days in a row to get the shows in order. It was exhausting but very rewarding.”
Currently employed as head of the wardrobe department at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, in Colorado, Niemisto coordinates costume specifications and quick changes for the actors based on their individual needs. “My job is making sure that everything that happens with costumes during the span of a show happens correctly and that no one goes on stage naked,” she said.
Though she loves to travel, Niemisto said for now Denver is her home. “I never thought I’d settle down somewhere, because I love traveling and want to live in a great deal more places, but after a year of working in Denver I knew there was something here that I just had to stay for,” she said. “The rich artistic community here has drawn me in a way I didn’t feel in other places.”
Niemisto is grateful for the time she spent at Grand Valley and for the encouragement of her professors and for their graciousness while she “clogged up their office hours.”
Theater professor Karen Libman said Niemisto’s key attributes are that she can work in nearly all aspects of the theater including on stage, directing, and back stage. Libman also said Niemisto’s adherence to the belief, ‘always do your best work’ has earned her a stellar reputation in the industry.