Sitting in a darkened auditorium watching her mother perform in the glow of the stage lights in the Brewery Arts Center, Mary Works' passion for theater was born.
After graduating from Carson High School in 1985, Works went to the University of Southern California, where she received a bachelor's degree in cinema television production.
Her degree took her to the Bay area where she worked as a sound editor and assistant sound editor on such feature films as "Chocolat," "The Legend of Bagger Vance," and "Fight Club."
Although she worked in California for 10 years, she never gave up her Nevada residence, traveling back and forth between jobs.
"I'm a Nevadan," she said. "I was born here and that means something to me. I've been all over the world and nowhere else is home."
She returned to her Nevada roots for good two years ago and to her roots in theater.
Earlier this month, she was named director of the Brewery Arts Center.
"In a way, it feels very natural," she said. "It's a family here. It's always been very comfortable and friendly."
She replaces Joe McCarthy, who left to take a job as Carson City economic development/redevelopment manager. McCarthy served as director for six years.
"He did a phenomenal job running this place," Works said. "He's real dynamic and he really cares about this community. I can't say enough about all he's done."
Works plans to build on that legacy.
"I'm hoping to maintain all the wonderful things we have, then take it to the next level," she said. "You always feel there's an audience you don't reach."
And she said the center offers some respite in a culture where art programs are often the first cut in a receding economy.
"The more difficult things are, the more you need art," she said. "It keeps your soul together in the hard times. Art is not frivolous, it's really integral to who we are."
One of the elements she's most excited about is the new Performance Hall, which is the old St. Teresa Church.
"It's fabulous in there," she said. "Every seat in the house is a good seat. The sound is phenomenal."
And for parents who may be nervous about taking small children or babies to a performance, there is a crying room available.
Works understands the isolation parents can sometimes experience when they need to stay home with growing children.
She and her husband, Aaron Covington, have an 18-month-old boy, Gabriel Nevada, and she is five months pregnant with their second child.