November 2, 2022

Backstage at the Egyptian: Meet Matt McKinley our new PT Janitor!

KARYN: What drew you to working at the Egyptian Theatre?
MATT: I wanted to work here because the Egyptian has always been a part of my life. I’m from Belvidere but my extended family is from DeKalb, and I’ve been to the Egyptian dozens of times over the years, I think the first show I saw there was seeing the Rugrats Movie with my grandma. I’ve loved the Egyptian for years and I jumped at the chance to work here.

K: Have you ever worked at a theatre before?
M: Yes, and I have a BA in Theatre Studies from NIU. In high school, I was in a sketch comedy called Doin’ Time, with my best scene being one where I die in slow motion. In all honesty, I think my knees might explode if I try it again today. In college, I spent a year working in the local Rocky Horror group here at the Egyptian. I sold prop kits. At NIU I was involved in a bunch of shows, and I’m most proud of my work stage managing A Skull in Connemara. I also discovered I have a passion for playwriting.

K: What is your favorite part of your job?
Everyone here has a real love for theater and for the community, and it’s refreshing being around that energy. I like that I’m surrounded by people that enjoy what they do and I like having a part in making sure people are comfortable and having a good time.

K: Since you work at night, have you had any paranormal experiences here?
M: Not yet, unfortunately. There was one night my second week I thought I heard strange noises, but it was just someone working in the office.

K: If you could see any movie on the Egyptian Theatre’s 22 ft. tall screen what would it be?
I could probably think of a hundred movies I love that I’ve never had a chance to see in a big screen, but I’ll just give you a few. Evil Dead 2, I’m a huge fan of horror movies and this is one of my favorites. I think the energy of an audience would really add to the creepier scenes. Shock Treatment. It’s a sequel to Rocky Horror but doesn’t reference it at all and stands as its own thing very well. It’s strange and fun and deserves a cult status. The Princess Bride. Possibly the most good feeling feel good movie I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that didn’t like it.

So why did we hire this Matt? Hear from our Facilities Manager, Peter Lindsey, on how much this role has already improved our work environment!

KARYN: How does having a night custodian help you in your role?
PETER: Having an overnight custodian has been wonderful. Matt is a great addition to our team and has made my job much easier. Prior to hiring Matt, I was responsible for all janitorial work in addition to routine maintenance, which in a historic theatre can be quite extensive. Having someone to come in after shows has freed up quite a bit of time for those maintenance tasks. Also, it’s great to have another set of eyes on the theatre to keep track of issues that arise. There’s a lot of ground to cover and I need all the help I can get! Matt’s diligence and reliability has been a welcome addition to our staff.

K: Is it exciting to see the Egyptian Theatre’s staff grow?
P: It is very exciting to see the theatre staff grow. I started working here in late 2020, and at the time we were just trying to survive a pandemic. Now we can focus on growth again after a very tough couple of years, and it feels great. I am excited for what’s in store for the Egyptian and am proud to be a part of it.