By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
When the College of Fine Arts and Production’s Technical Director and Master Electrician, Carolyn "Carrie" Hurst, isn’t using her talents to help bring theatre sets to life, she is chipping away at completing her very own tiny house.
As a professional with a background in both scenic and lighting design, creating beautiful environments is in her blood. That background also worked as a catalyst that led her to Grand Canyon University.
After working in a multitude of theatre jobs, anything from the Orlando Shakespeare Theater to a cruise ship, Hurst developed a love for working with students.
“That’s the biggest thing for me, that one-on-one interaction with students and getting those student volunteers into the shop and them building the shows. That’s the biggest thing,” she said. “That’s why I want to work for a university. I want to get younger students to realize, especially females, that this is a career path.
“I feel like that’s an advantage I have as a woman, that I can show them that this is a possibility within the field and that you can be in leadership positions.”
That desire to make a difference, paired with the unique specifications of the position, made finding an opening at GCU a match made in heaven.
“There are not many colleges that have technical directors who do both scenic and lighting,” she said. “It fell perfectly because my title encompasses both of those disciplines.”
In her first semester last spring, Hurst helped the department navigate the pandemic-induced complications that forced performances to the outdoor setting. Having plays and concerts are back inside Ethington Theatre brings forward an additional element of excitement.
“Having a little more normalcy for students to see that theatre can still happen, that’s a big one for me,” Hurst said. “All the students seem really excited to be back in Ethington building these really large shows again.
“Our shows are really high caliber, and I love that we’re challenging everybody.”
Hurst also plans to use the next year to complete the construction of her skoolie, a tiny house in a school bus. Her first steps toward making her dream a reality were gutting the bus and painting the outside.
“I always wanted a tiny house. Then once I discovered skoolies, that seemed like a better idea because I could travel wherever I want to travel,” she said.
With her role primarily taking place during the academic school year, the summer months will be prime time for Hurst to take the skoolie to different parts of the country. She hopes to complete her tiny house and take it out on the road by next summer.
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].