My biggest challenge came when I moved into the professional field as a stagehand. It is a male dominated field that favors physical strength and knowledge of the industry. Being a small female, sometimes that worked against me. I was always thought of as ‘the new girl.’ It could be a rough environment. The culture at Santa Fe College is significantly different. The changes that the college has gone through in the past couple years—as far as gender equality, diversity, this being a safe place to be—has been really wonderful. And I have the chance to instill that in my students. Theater has always been a place for people who express themselves differently. That’s one of the values we put in our stagehands: that it’s a welcoming environment. For a while I thought I was a failure. Here I am in Gainesville while my friends are traveling the world. But this family here is what makes it all possible. It’s our strong sense of teamwork and collaborative sense of energy. It’s what makes the art easy. Why would I leave? This is the dream.
– Liz Reynolds, Staff Lighting Designer and Master Electrician