This feature was first published in Journeys Winter 2018.
This article was written by communications writer Kinjal Shah.
There’s no business like show business! And Vanessa Noon (Class of 1992) couldn't agree more.
From a working theatrical stage manager in Los Angeles to managing the television broadcast of the tennis venue during the London 2012 Olympics to having a part in producing the Stand Up to Cancer Telethons and even the Oscars, Noon has a pretty impressive list of career highlights.
Life wasn’t always glitz and glamour. Born to English parents in Bermuda, Noon moved to the United States soon after. In 1982 the Noon family moved to Singapore for three years. Noon attended Singapore American School from third grade through fifth grade and again in her junior and senior years when the Noons moved back to Singapore in 1990.
With siblings who had graduated from SAS in the 80s when they first lived here, Noon was expected to follow in their footsteps. This meant living up to the standards set by her older brother Christopher who was 1985 Male Athlete of the Year and sister Catherine who was also on the sports team.
Even though she ran track, Noon wasn’t very good. She soon found comfort away from the limelight working backstage on school drama productions. In her junior and senior years Noon was involved in school plays working on productions of The Glass Menagerie, Kiss Me Kate, Rhinoceros, and As You Like It. She was also part of the drama team that competed in the 1992 IASAS Cultural Convention.
A love for all things drama started when Noon watched Les Miserables at 13. “I had never seen a huge Broadway-style musical, and I was completely amazed at what they could achieve on stage with the automated scenery and lighting,” she says. The rest is history!
After graduating from SAS, Noon attended University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in stage management. The experience of a transient community and a constantly changing student body at SAS helped Noon in her freelance career where she went from project to project working with different people and knowing how to adapt to different situations and personalities.
To date, Noon has worked on 18 Academy Awards ceremonies, starting as a production assistant and working her way up to production manager. She also serves as a stage manager at Universal Studios Hollywood, the Disneyland Resort, and the upcoming reality television series The World’s Best featuring the best performers from around the globe. The thrill of live shows is what draws Noon to theater and variety television. The backstage of any production is a moving puzzle, and every piece needs to be scheduled, timed, and managed carefully with the magic and wonder playing out right before your eyes. “However, no live show is exactly the same every time. The most unexpected things can happen no matter how much you rehearse and I love the challenges and excitement that come along with it,” says Noon.
When it comes to offering career advice for budding stage managers and production managers, Noon is explicit: “Never burn a bridge. Ninety-nine percent of my jobs have come from word of mouth or referrals from coworkers.”
Follow Noon on Instagram @VanessaJaneN to learn more about the productions she is involved
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