Focused, Flexible and Skilled


If you had the chance to live and work in the city you love most, meet renowned artists and influential decision makers, and have constant variety in your work, you’d probably go for it, right?

Aisha Noma saw a chance to do just that, and by applying her skills and staying focused, she was able to quickly step into the life she wanted after graduation.

Noma, a 2021 graduate of the Radford University Theatre program, loves Washington D.C. She grew up there and knew she wanted to return to D.C. to live and work when she left college.

But she also knew that doesn’t happen just by snapping your fingers.

Instead, Noma committed herself to taking advantage of educational opportunities available to her through Radford to position herself for post-graduation success. By being flexible and translating her stage management skills into new things, she’s become the Events and Rentals Coordinator at the Arena Stage at the Center for American Theater.

Noma says the key was keeping her eyes on the prize, trying new things, and applying her skill set.

She began working at the Arena Stage in August of 2021. Prior to that she accepted an internship at the nearby Roundhouse Theater, a sister stage with Arena. That led to a fellowship after graduation and then full-time employment in her target city.

“My initial gateway here was as part of the production team,” Noma explained.

“Now I am doing multiple and different kinds of events. I might do a production related event one day or I could do a conference, or I could do a wedding the next.”

Each day is different and presents new challenges and opportunities, and Noma likes it that way. She gets to meet creative, successful artists, powerful influencers and political luminaries as well. And, she can bring her skills to positively impact the community.

2021 Radford University Theatre grad Aisha Noma smiles in front of the Arena Stage in Washington D.C.

“So, it's a little bit of everything. I coordinate, I stage manage, here and there. I could be a stagehand or house manager. You name it, I can step up and do it.”

Noma says she was well prepared for this kind of work in the Theatre Department where students can try their hand at everything and get lots of personal attention and support from the professors.

While at Radford, a typical day for her was very similar. She might go to classes in the morning, work the box office in the afternoon, stage manage a play in the evening and go back and do it again the next day.

“The professors really threw me in the mix, which was intense. But I think it really helped me compared to the other people who don’t have that experience and find it harder to adapt to doing multiple things,” she said.

Noma says she’s grateful for the variety of experiences and skills she picked up as a student. It helped her navigate real world situations, recognize professional opportunities, and gave her confidence that she could learn and adapt effectively once she left Radford.

For that, she gives credit to the professors and the structure of the Radford Theatre program.

“You don’t go through it alone,” Noma stressed. “They will help you figure it out, make connections and get the skills you need.”

Dec 8, 2023
Sean Kotz