Welcome to Ask an Admin, a series in which we talk with theatre administrators and theatre-makers working in Minnesota to learn about their backgrounds, their jobs, and what snacks they keep in their desks.

Renata Nijiya

Box Office Manager at Theatre Latte Da

Tell us a little about yourself and your path to your current position.

I have always loved theatre, but can distinctly remember wanting to be a part of it when I was eight years old, and my dad took me to see a touring production of Les Misérables. I attended and participated in theatre as an actor or techie throughout middle and high school and then attended Longwood University, graduating with a BFA in Theatre Performance while also working in the costume shop. After graduation I moved to Minneapolis and began working as a costume designer throughout the cities with companies such as Mixed Blood, Minneapolis Musical Theatre, Walking Shadow, 20% Theatre, and Workhaus Collective at the Guthrie Theater. During this time I also re-found my love for dance and began performing burlesque as Queenie von Curves, producing Naked Girls Reading and as a cast member of Ballet of the Dolls, which lead me to working at The Ritz Theater as Director of Audience Services with Ballet of the Dolls. After four years at my second home, The Ritz Theater changed hands and I randomly had a short stint as a vegan butcher, but continued my work as a performer. When Theatre Latte Da purchased The Ritz Theater and was looking for a Box Office Manager, I leapt at the chance to return home. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a prima ballerina or a biochemist! Neither worked out but I’m still living my dream, working in theatre and performing.

What’s the best part of your job?

The two best aspects of my job are that I have incredible co-workers who are caring, smart, funny and passionate people. I also love that I’m the public’s liaison to being able to escape into the world of theatre.

When did you know you wanted to work in theatre/the arts?

I think I always knew in a way, between putting on make believe shows at home with dress-up clothes to immersing myself in attending theatre as a child.

What has surprised you most about your work/working in theatre/the arts?

How small of a world it is! Almost everyone working in theatre, no matter what vicinity, is only a couple degrees away from one another.

Who gave you the best advice you’ve ever received, and what was that advice?

My mom and dad have always been my biggest supporters and taught me to always be myself.

What’s the best/your favorite production you’ve seen in the last year?

I loved Theater Latte Da’s production of Assassins. It was innovative directing, set design, lighting design and impeccable performances, plus a very smart script.

You’re stuck on a desert island. Which three theatre-makers would you want to be stuck with (living or dead)?

Julie Taymor, Marcel Marceau and Caryl Churchill.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to work in arts administration/your position?

Being a good human goes a long way. Treating others with respect and courtesy comes first.

Do you keep snacks in your desk/work area? What are they?

Yes! Pita chips and Hi Ball energy waters.