Missouri State University
Amber Hensley

Amber Hensley

  • Entertainment Production Manager
  • Theatre, stage management

Following her passion while sailing around the world

Amber Hensley has known she wanted to follow her love of theatre since she was a young girl. 

Amber Hensley has known she wanted to follow her love of theatre since she was a young girl. As a Missouri State University student, she pursued a degree in theatre studies with an emphasis in stage management and dove head first into the theatre department. Now, after holding numerous positions across the nation as a stage manager, Hensley works for Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) as the entertainment production manager (EPM) for the ship “The Pearl.”

“The best thing I did while attending Missouri State was get involved with the theatre department,”

“Theatre is such a small world and it is so easy to make friends. My college friends and I were so close throughout the years and continue to be.”

A typical day for Hensley usually starts early, depending on what project she has on the top of her priority list. Throughout the day she holds rehearsals and meetings, keeps up with standard paperwork, manages show performances and ensures that guest entertainers are feeling comfortable — guests like hypnotists, comedians, magicians and guitarists who come on to fill in production spots. 

Until the holidays, the ship is in its charter season. Since she oversees guest entertainers and cast the charter season can be quite exciting.

“A charter is a special cruise for guests,” said Hensley. “It is, essentially, a concert that takes place on a ship. Every voyage has a different theme and we bring on big names in the music industry. We have artists like Shaggy, KISS, Barenaked Ladies and many more.”

Hensley advises students not to hold back when in pursuit of their passion. Rather, she says, instead of letting fear dictate what you do, take control, step out of your box and go out into the unknown. She herself has faced many challenges throughout her career, including getting “thrown into the fire” at her current position.

“There was an EPM that quit and they were in such a hurry to hire me that I did not get the month-long training on land nor did I get handover-training with the leaving EPM,” said Hensley. “It has been challenging to learn everything my position requires, but I have a great team who has been so supportive and understanding.”

Though Hensley loves her job, the long amounts of time away from friends and family can be hard. Overall, she is grateful for the opportunity and enjoys the everyday challenges that the job presents.