Imagery courtesy of Ambassador Theatre Group. Headshot imagery by Parish Photography.
I am a promoter at heart, personally and professionally; always enthusiastic about sharing the passion and uniqueness of people, places and experiences. An excited crowd brings me joy, and I never tire of hearing an artist say how beautiful the Majestic & Empire theatres are or how much they love San Antonio audiences.
What was the defining moment in your past that set you on the career path you ended up following?
There are two defining moments that set me on my career path. The first one was an early precursor….
Around the age of five I organized shows. I’d gather grandparents, aunts, uncles and parents to one by one sell them a ticket, direct them to their seats, distribute menus, take orders and present a “show.” Today, it’s not surprising to my family that I am a theatre manager.
The second moment that led me here was after graduating from college, my mom, anxious for me to find a job and start my adult life, clipped a classified ad the size of a fortune cookie fortune from the newspaper. The position was for a Marketing Assistant with the Majestic and Empire Theatres. I applied for the position. Three months passed and just as I was ready to give up, Arts Center Enterprises called. I had an interview the following day and my career in live entertainment promotion and venue operations began. The Majestic & Empire Theatres developed my foundation. I moved on after three years to expand my experience at the AT&T Center, and various venues in Austin, but eventually made my way back home to the Majestic & Empire Theatres in San Antonio.
The Majestic Theatre, Photography by Mike Hume
What makes you unique in your industry?
I believe the diversity of our programming puts me in a unique position. We are able to entertain so many different patrons because of the variety of our events, from family shows (e.g., Peppa Pig, Baby Shark), to concerts (e.g., Santana, Widespread Panic, Tony Bennett), to comedians (e.g., Jerry Seinfeld, George Lopez) to Broadway shows (e.g., Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen). We are uniquely positioned to reach a broad spectrum of the community.
The Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, Photography by John Dyer
What is one way you hope to impact your community in the future, either personally or professionally?
It’s important to me to honor, share and maintain the historic Majestic & Empire Theatres through relevant programming and community connections. We are lucky that these theatres continue to operate because of the passion and dedication of Joci Straus, Charline McCombs and the Las Casas Foundation to save and restore them. It is a privilege to be a steward of San Antonio’s magnificent treasures.
If you could sit down with any woman in the world–either from history or who is currently living–who would that be and what would you discuss with her?
In 1923, my great-grandmother “Dana” traveled with her one year old daughter Madeline “Mimi” (my grandmother) from Sofia, Bulgaria to Manhattan, New York. There she reunited with my great-grandfather who had travelled in advance to start their life in America. I remember Dana being a force. A fashionista, well-traveled, educated, always playing beautiful music and croquet. She was loving and tough.
Whenever I need a shot of bravery, I think of her journey. She made that trip (sans cell phone or google maps) and set the stage for the other strong women in my life. There is much more to gain than lose when you just go for it. I’d love to learn more about her life experiences.
Connect with Emily Smith at MajesticEmpire.com, on Facebook, and on Instagram @MajesticEmpire.
This profile was (Em)powered by Ambassador Theatre Group.
Edited from an interview by Eleanora Morrison.