Tayneshia Jefferson served as the department’s second-ever production manager (seasons 2011-12 and 2012-12), leaving us last year to teach stage management at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She had a cheerful spirit, provided caring mentorship to her stage management students, and freely shared her great sense of humor.
We were saddened and shocked to learn that yesterday, July 31, Tayneshia died from an aneurism. She was much too young; her life was full of promise and spirit, and we are the poorer for its absence.
Here is Tayneshia’s faculty biography from the CMU website:
A native of Houston, Texas, Tayneshia L. Jefferson has served on the artistic and management staffs of a diverse range of organizations including Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre (UFOMT), Austin Lyric Opera, Zachary Scott Theatre Center and ProArts Collective.
She also has over 20 years of experience as a professional stage manager with the Alliance Theatre, Theatre Under the Stars, Houston Ebony Opera Guild, Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Austin, Dance Umbrella, The Kennedy Center and Grammy-nominated choral ensemble, Conspirare, to name a few.
She made her professional directorial debut with UFOMT’s wholly unique staged concert version of West Side Story and as an Assistant Director on the company’s landmark production of Porgy and Bess. Some of her other credits include coordinating several concerts and events for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s televised Sunday broadcasts, serving as festival organizer for Texas State Representative Dawnna Dukes’ Community Heritage Festival and producing the opening night concert evenst for the International Rotary Convention and a concert for 6,000 to commemorate the completion Salt Lake City’s landmark Mormon Tabernacle.
An avid member and supporter of the United States Institute of Theater Technology, she has served as a mentor for the Stage Management Mentoring Project since 2005 and is the current Vice-Commissioner for Stage Management. She is also the Chair of the People of Color Caucus. In her time as a member of the Management Commission for USITT, she has served as both chair and panelist on many sessions and roundtables during the organization’s annual Conference and Stage Expo, as well. Previous teaching experience includes Indiana University and the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware. She recently co-authored her first nationally published article entitled “Diversity in the Booth” for Stage Directions magazine.