When Rachel Mondragon began talking with a group of people sitting next to her at a Wagon Wheel Theatre murder mystery dinner fundraiser, she didn’t realize she was speaking with the board of directors of the theatre. That conversation turned out to be serendipitous. A few weeks later, Mondragon was asked by the board to apply for an open position at the theatre: director of marketing and fund development.
Originally from New Mexico, Mondragon went to Hanover College in Madison where she received a theatre scholarship. There, she met her fiancé, Nick King, who now manages the Warsaw Airport. Mondragon graduated college this past spring with a double major in business and sociology.
“I acted in college through my junior year,” she said. “My freshman year, I did five shows, so I really threw myself into the theatre department. I was there 25-30 hours per week. When it was apparent that I wouldn’t finish college on time unless I withdrew from the theatre department, I cut back during my senior year in order to finish both majors.”
Mondragon has acted since she was 4 years old. Her mother put her in an acting class at a local college and she then attended summer theatre camps throughout her childhood.
“In high school, I lived in the drama department. I competed in acting competitions throughout the country. I decided to pursue a business major because I never wanted to be a starving artist. I wanted to make sure I had a career option,” said Mondragon.
Now in her third month at the Wagon Wheel, Mondragon says she feels lucky that she gets to work at the theatre. Her first week, she attended her first performance, “Mary Poppins,” and says that show was the “icing on the cake.”
As director of marketing and fund development, Mondragon secures advertising spots for the theatre, manages social media marketing and sets up cast interviews. She also manages fundraising events, most of which take place in the off season, and helps fund the theatre, which is a non-profit organization relying on donations and ticket sales.
Mondragon says working in the theatre is a lot different than acting in a theatre. “It’s easier actually! I get to go home at night and leave my work there. I also get to be around so much talent and see a new show every two weeks. It’s amazing.”
When not working, Mondragon enjoys exploring the Warsaw area. She appreciates the close knit community. She is also busy planning her wedding and writing a food blog, where she reviews restaurants and shares recipes.
“I feel very fortunate to have been given this opportunity,” said the 22 year old. “I graduated in four years with two great majors and I walked away with a diploma and a job. I’m grateful to the board for seeing I was great fit for the job, and to Will Dawson, who is now the director of operations, for helping me along the way.”