From Work-Study to Career
House Manager at Seattle Repertory Theatre
At only 5 feet tall, Theatre major and Psychology major Liza Gonzalez-Ramos never thought she’d be working security. “I’m not particularly menacing,” she admits. But as a concessions assistant at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, she was asked one night to guard Carrie Fisher (best known as Princess Leia in Star Wars) from “crazy stalkers.”
“In theatre, you have to be flexible. You learn to improvise,” says Liza, who was a sophomore at Seattle Pacific University at the time. She originally thought of attending college in a small town, but is thankful she chose SPU, where she found her work-study job in one of Seattle’s largest playhouses. At Seattle Pacific, she also acted in several shows, and worked as box office manager and a house manager.
Jerry Collum, assistant professor of theatre, says that the ability to get drama experience both in the city and on campus is a unique part of Seattle Pacific’s program. “I came from the University of Washington, and it was hard for students to get actual work there. Here we rely on our students,” he says. The Theatre Department hires 15–17 student employees each year, and is well-connected to other venues in Seattle.
All of Liza’s theatre jobs gave her plenty of opportunities to exercise flexibility, and to land her first post-university job as Seattle Rep’s front of house manager. “Seattle’s theatre community is so tightknit,” she says. “It’s tough to imagine my life outside of that.”