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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Creating worlds on stage

    Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat 

Katelin Ashcraft, a senior graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in design technology with an emphasis in scene design and props, stands in the prop shop located in the Tornabene Theatre. Ashcraft has created many of the props used in UA plays while working as prop master and set designer for numerous UA productions.
    Lisa Beth Earle
    Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Katelin Ashcraft, a senior graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in design technology with an emphasis in scene design and props, stands in the prop shop located in the Tornabene Theatre. Ashcraft has created many of the props used in UA plays while working as prop master and set designer for numerous UA productions.


    Growing up, theatre arts senior Katelin Ashcraft ran the gamut of childhood dream jobs. She wanted to be a veterinarian — or maybe a dolphin trainer — better yet, a journalist. But then high school happened, and coming from a musically inclined background — “”We’re the family at Christmas that sings songs around the piano,”” Ashcraft said — she picked up scenic design for the high school’s musicals and plays, but just for fun.

    “”I had done 10 musicals and a couple of other plays before I had come to college,”” Ashcraft said. “”It wasn’t until I got (to the UA) that I believed it (could be) a real major.””

    Ashcraft’s high school drama teacher encouraged her to pursue a degree in scenic design. He went a step further by helping her acquire an internship with the UA’s theatre department, one of the top 10 programs in the country, the summer before her freshman year. 

    “”I was the only freshman that knew from the start that I wanted to do (scenic design).”” Ashcraft said.

    Despite the 40- to 100-hour work weeks, four-hour labs, classes from nine a.m. to noon all four years and working on sets right after lab until 10 or 11 p.m., Ashcraft still gets goosebumps doing what she does.

    “”It was the first night we brought the lights up on the set (of “”The Diary of Anne Frank””), and chills literally went down my spine and down the spines of the costume and lighting designer. (The scene) started taking on the whole feel we were working towards — trapped and claustrophobic, the whole (feel of the) annex. That was amazing to me because it wasn’t even all together. We didn’t have all the elements. We just brought out the lights, and you could see the texture of the floor and everything.”” Ashcraft said, reminiscing on her first main stage job.

    Despite her success with “”Anne Frank,”” serving as a resident by supervising lab — a responsibility normally assigned to a graduate student — Ashcraft keeps her head ducked under the clouds. “”Being (in this major), you know right out of the gate you are not going to be a scenic designer — unless you’re doing really small community theater,”” Ashcraft said.

    “”Unlike being a doctor, where you (have a designated set of steps), in the arts you kind of have to pick your own path. Just take a leap here, a jump there … and you might end up doing (something) random before you get back to doing what you really, really love.””

    Ashcraft plans on pursuing a position as prop master for the Arizona Theatre Company as well as applying for an internship with Disney, ideally working in set dressing or props.

    Though she visited Chicago and went through a rigorous interview process with numerous colleges for graduate school, Ashcraft decided to wait a year or two before pursuing further education. “”A lot of people think you should do real world work for a couple years and then go back (to school)”” Ashcraft said.

    And amid the chaos and uncertainty surrounding graduation, Ashcraft received some encouraging words to keep her steady on her feet and firm in her resolve as she enters “”the real world.”” 

    “”My one professor, Peter Beudert … kept looking at me and saying, ‘I’m not worried about you. Something’s going to happen and pop up and you’ll get your break, and it’ll just go from there.'””

     

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