Senior Arts Spotlight
For the first Senior Arts Spotlight, The Round Table sat down with Theatre major Isabel Chavez for an interview on Feb. 18. Chavez, who just finished stage managing Chelonia for the final time, was thrilled to share about her experiences with the arts at Beloit. Stage managing since her freshman year, she has grown to love the practice, especially when it comes to dance shows. Chavez explained how she came to find her place in the world of stage managing.
Before coming to Beloit, Chavez said that she had no experience with theatre. Since theatre intrigued her, she decided to come to Beloit because it appeared to have a decent theatre program. Her first semester, she took up introductory level courses in the department, and the following semester, she approached Alicia Bailey about stage management. Bailey offered Chavez an opportunity to be an assistant stage manager under then-sophomore Stacey Jaeger ‘21. Being an assistant stage manager for “The Moors” also helped Chavez make friends in the department. “I’m grateful for the people who were there before me… that are very understanding,” said Chavez.
Since her first experience as an assistant stage manager, Chavez has continued to manage as many shows as her schedule allows. Though her first experience in stage managing was for a play, Chavez finds humor in the fact that she does not enjoy stage managing plays. As a person who works better under pressure, she told The Round Table that less long-term work goes into stage managing dance shows, but that there is tons of work to do on performance days. For plays, the distribution of work is the opposite. “The adrenaline, I love it!” said Chavez, remarking on the pressure of stage managing dance concerts. Stage managing Chelonia virtually in 2021, though, did not give Chavez the adrenaline she so loves. Chavez admitted that while stage managing the virtual show, she had to take an unusual hands-off approach.
While Chavez does have love for Beloit’s Theatre department, she does wish it were more racially diverse. Being a Mexican-American woman in a predominantly white department has presented its fair share of issues, said Chavez. Namely, when she was first starting out, she felt undermined by a number of her white peers. She felt they treated her as though she needed to prove her theatrical intelligence to belong. That changed over the years, though, and Chavez has made tons of longtime friends in the department.
Being a part of the Theatre program at Beloit College has allowed Chavez to grow as an artist. She asserted that the program is small enough that it provides plenty of room for independent growth. Chavez plans to carry her love of stage managing with her after graduation. She is more interested in continuing it as a hobby, but is also quite interested in using her skills to get into the world of music festival management. Her stage management experience combined with her time as Programming Board president has made her consider careers in event planning, too.
Chavez wants underclassmen in the arts at Beloit to know that it is okay to ask for help. As someone with minimal experience in theatre prior to attending Beloit, Chavez found herself asking for guidance often. “Sometimes it is okay to mess up,” she said, emphasizing how important it is to take your art one step at a time. Chavez recognized that mutual respect between students and faculty is how you make the best of your time as an arts student at Beloit, as well as how you learn your trade. Chavez’s experience as a Theatre student at Beloit has been amazing, and she hopes that everyone else in the department has a great experience, too!