Founder of Theatre Event Academy
Theatre Event Academy came about all at once after 15 years of professional work in theatre & live events. For many years I worked in theatre and pursued a formal lighting design education with the intention of building a freelance design career and perhaps someday moving into academia. However, it wasn’t long after grad school that I fell into live event work. It was challenging, exciting and pushed me to learn about an entire field I hadn’t known existed. I quickly realized that the traditional technical theatre and design education I received had done two things: First, it had prepared me well for success in the broader live event industry–theatre being a specific subset of live events. Second, it had fallen flat at informing me about all the other areas of work for which I was also trained.

Time and again, on trade show floors, in hotel ballrooms and at show sites, I worked with technicians and project managers who had the same skill sets theatre educators teach, yet few of them had theatre backgrounds. More importantly, I noticed that the people who were the most efficient, effective and successful were people who had started their careers working in theatre, or at least had been involved in theatre at some point. However, they too, had just “fallen into” this line of work.

So the question was: If theatrically trained stage managers, technicians and designers already have the skill sets to not just work, but thrive in the live event industry, why do so few of us know about this career path? In an attempt to provide solutions to this challenge, Theatre Event Academy was born.

More than ever, today’s live event industry is in need of project managers, technicians and designers who can collaborate, solve problems efficiently & creatively, and who know what it means to work in a show environment. We should not be surprised that theatre people fit the bill.

After all, theatre is the original live event.


Leah Springman, Founder of Theatre Event Academy

I come from a theatre background. I earned a BA in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA in Lighting Design from University of California-Irvine. My theatrical experience includes seven seasons at the Utah Shakespearean Festival and LD and ALD work at numerous regional and local theaters around the country.

Shortly after grad school I got into other areas of live event production. For over 7 years I served as Lighting Director for Radiance Lightworks, Inc.—a Los Angeles area company which specializes in lighting design and project management for trade shows, corporate theatre and themed entertainment. One of our major clients was Universal Studios-Hollywood Theme Park, where I designed and managed annual productions and permanent attractions. These projects included Halloween Horror Nights, Grinchmas, the Universal Movie Museum, House of Horrors and too many special events to count. I also lead the lighting & rigging design and management for all U.S.- based trade shows for Mattel, Inc., (the toy manufacturer), and managed the lighting for Mattel’s gallery facility on their campus in El Segundo, CA. I worked on top trade shows such as San Diego Comicon, Licensing Expo at Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas), and American International Toy Fair (AITF) at the Javitz Center in New York City.

I founded Theatre Event Academy because I experienced first-hand how theatre professionals can not only flourish in, but bring meaningful improvements to, the live event industry. It is my passion to bring awareness and training to students, educators and theatre professionals so that they, too, can make a living doing what they love.



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