The Little Hawk

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Technical theater is starting to open up for women to work on set and construction

Art+by+Zoe+Butler
Art by Zoe Butler

Art by Zoe Butler

Art by Zoe Butler

Lindy Rublaitus, Reporter

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During my first musical at City, the freshman version of myself joined construction crew without a clue of what I was doing. I was surrounded by upperclassmen guys who worked together as the heads of the crew. They showed me the ropes and gave me some of the easier tasks of constructions while they built staircases and worked the flys. They did the heavy lifting while I handed them the tools. I honestly felt out of place, like I didn’t know what I was doing, like I was “just a girl.” Still, I pushed through and continued to pursue technical theater.

At the beginning of my sophomore year, I earned the title of assistant stage manager. This made me the boss of everything backstage including those guys who were so high above me the year before. I started to gain leadership in all departments of theater, making me feel more like a leader. While working on To Kill A Mockingbird, I slowly recognized a growing interest through female students in crew, moving heavy scenery and building mock houses—the things I wasn’t qualified to do my freshman year. I was starting to find my community and I felt like I couldn’t be put down because I was surrounded for people just like me.

I specifically remember looking up at my stage manager and light designer, Elisa Swanson and Ailsa Burke. I watched them work their magic during rehearsals as they created a path for me to follow in the years to come. They had leadership qualities that I could only dream of obtaining- and they were women.

Right before Guys and Dolls started, I was asked to take over as stage manager because the current one decided to audition for her last show at City. Obviously, and nervously, I accepted the position. I felt so empowered by earning the title of stage manager because, just a year before, I was seeing myself at the lowest rank in the crew. Now, I felt like I was creating a path for the other girls on crew just like Elisa and Ailsa had done for me. Everyday in rehearsals, I would come in and show actors the ropes, leading them into a great show. I got to help new crew recruits learn everything there is to know about being on crew and where it could lead them.

As I am moving into my third year as a part of the drama program at City, I see groups of girls walking into the scene shop, working on the huge projects that were the things I dreamed of building when I first started out. I walk through the half finished set piece and see only women working on them. As I look through the lists of crews, I see a growing female population taking over lead roles throughout the drama department. There are still guys mixed in the crews but girls finally know that they can do what they want, they can be creative in so many ways. I started imagining the things I could have accomplished if this was the group I was surrounded by during my freshman year.

It is truly inspiring to see how females are taking projects into their own hands and becoming leaders as high schoolers. It is amazing to see that girls know that there are no limits, that they are not going to be brought down if they are surrounded by upperclassmen guys. Those girls I see everyday, working hard with drills in their hands and doing what they love, gives me a sense of pride to be part of a strong community. These girls are going to do amazing things because they are strong enough to take that first step.

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