Lighting the Stage: Theatre Alumna Mack Scales

KENNESAW, Ga. | Dec 5, 2023

Theatre alumna credits KSU for post-grad success

Every new job is an adventure for Mackenzie "Mack" Scales, a Kennesaw State University (KSU) alumna and lighting designer/electrician. As a graduate of KSU’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies (TPS) with a concentration in Design/Tech, Scales has taken her education and training to the professional world, from local theaters to the neon lights of Broadway.

mackenzie "mack" scales
Theatre alumna Mackenzie "Mack" Scales has been actively working in the professional world since graduation.

Only a couple weeks before graduating from KSU, Scales signed on to work as the assistant lighting designer for the production of Water for Elephants at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Now, with various local projects under her belt since graduation, she is making her own Broadway debut of that very same show as the design membership candidate. 

Scales credits KSU and TPS as a fundamental element of being prepared for her field. She directly correlates her participation in the program with her post-graduate success and says that “all of [her] connections, design influence, and professional relationships branched out from the interpersonal relationships [she] made at KSU.”

“While I was at KSU, I connected with many professionals who offered me hands-on learning opportunities that directly aligned with the practices that I would be carrying out in the professional world,” Scales says. “Within all of these opportunities, I was able to work closely with professors and staff who became my close mentors and encouraged and supported my interests and goals.”

Knowing that her mentors had confidence in her ability to succeed “reaffirmed my choice and commitment to KSU.” She served as both lighting and scenic designer for many KSU productions, alongside other leadership roles. These positions were “excellent learning moments to grasp the skills necessary to hold those positions outside of school,” explains Scales. 

Former faculty members Brandon Bagwell and Pamela Rodriguez-Montero were highly influential in her education, as they helped to expand her creativity and confidence “farther than I ever thought possible. I was also strongly guided by Chuck Meacham and Amanda Wansa Morgan, who always made themselves available, even if it was just for silly advice or fun conversation.”  

Scales also recognizes her peers, fellow shop workers, and TPS staff for making her KSU experience so impactful and meaningful. Staff members with a significant impact on Scales’ career include Steven Love, Daniel Terry, and Brittany Johnson. 

She stresses that the “people made the experience so worth it! The moments that stick out to me most from my time at KSU were the times that all the students’ collective hard work came to fruition with a successful day of work, or the opening night of a show.” 

Staying busy with both local and KSU projects, Scales remains a part of the KSU community, even after graduating. This KSU Owl can't wait to fly to New York to light up her next project: on Broadway! 

--Kendall Chamberlain

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