Introducing Rachel Aquino: Production Assistant and Stage Manager

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Rachel Aquino

Rachel Aquino often works with the Music Performance Unit as a 'Production Assistant' and 'Stage Manager'. 
Through this interview, we hope our audience gets to know her more, and what her roles entail to ensure smooth runnings of our concerts!


1. Please introduce yourself to the students and community!

Hi everyone! I’m Rachel Aquino and I am a fifth year Bachelor of Music (Honours)/Bachelor of Laws student here at UNSW. I have had the pleasure of working for the Music Performance Unit since 2019 in various roles – starting out as an usher, then rehearsal assistant, administrative assistant, photographer, box office assistant, production assistant, and now stage manager.


2. Can you explain what Production Assistant role does during the concerts?

The role of a Production Assistant is not that easy to define, but for me, it’s all about being a helping hand to all production staff. For example, as Production Assistant I often help the Stage Manager with stage changes or by relaying their instructions to front of house staff. I also help the ushers with managing the foyer, including making announcements to the audience. But for most of the concert, you’ll be able to find us in the tech box at the top of the auditorium keeping an eye on how the concert is going.


3. Can you explain what the Stage Manager role entails?

A Stage Manager’s goal is to make the concert run as smooth as possible. Most obviously, this includes making the stage changes between pieces, including managing all the chairs and stands backstage, but it also includes working with the musicians to make sure everything on stage is as they like it, cuing the lights, and communicating with other production staff to make the whole night feel as seamless as possible.


4. What has been one of your best memories while working at the concerts so far?

I don’t know if it’s my best memory, but one of the most interesting memories I have while working at the concerts was when the women’s bathroom in Sir John Clancy Auditorium was under maintenance earlier this year. My job for the whole concert was to redirect our guests to a nearby building and give them after-hours access. Thankfully, all of them were really nice about it. Most of them even felt bad for me for having to stand out there by myself!


5. What do you think is an important quality for working as part of a team, especially in an “on your toes” type of setting?

It might seem obvious, but good communication goes a really long way. And by good communication, I don’t just mean talking often about what is happening, I also mean not being afraid to ask for clarification or help, being patient when someone is busy, and just checking up on other members of your team if they are doing okay. This way, when something unexpected happens, the whole team is ready to take it on together.


6. What do you like to do in your spare time apart from music?

In my spare time, you’ll catch me at a local coffee shop with an almond flat white in hand, re-watching old rom-coms from the early 2000s, tending to my indoor plant collection, or dreaming about my next travel destination. I also enjoy exploring different types of visual art mediums, recently trying out my hand at film photography and oil pastels.


7. What do you want to do in the future?

Well, the simple answer is - much the same as what I’m doing now! Beyond the glitz and glamour of the stage are an ecosystem of people who love music and who support music in their various roles – like the wonderful team at the MPU. As an aspiring music/entertainment lawyer, though regardless of where I end up, I hope to continue loving and supporting music performance well into the future.  


Thank you for your time in explaining your roles to us. You might be able to catch her onstage or on the foyer blitzing through her tasks at the next concert!

To check out our upcoming concerts, click here!