The live online broadcast covered a myriad of topics
USA - Shure invited top professional women in the theatre industry from around the globe to join Shure President and CEO Chris Schyvinck for a panel discussion around the evolving role of women.
Panelists included Vicki Hill, front-of-house operator for theatre (UK), Nancy Lam, chief theatre technician, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (Hong Kong), Victoria (Toy) Deiorio, head of sound design at DePaul University (US) and Stephanie Farina, adjunct professor at The Theatre School at DePaul University.
The live online broadcast provided a myriad of topics ranging from what inspired these professionals to pursue this career, to challenges faced in the industry and global regions, to advice they have for young women interested in theatre production.
“This talented panel of women from all over the globe really provided some fantastic insights into their diverse adventures in theatre,” said Schyvinck. “The ability to bring their perspectives forward for the next generation of young women to experience is an essential part of our industry’s efforts to increase inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.”
The following are select excerpts from the panellists on the key topics discussed.
Vicki Hill on stereotypical challenges: “For me, I found the problem was breaking into that next level. I got a lot of ‘oh but you're so good backstage, you're such a good communicator. Everybody likes working with you backstage, you're great with the cast, you're really great with stage management. I almost found that getting people to see me as a leader, as an engineer, as a programmer rather than necessarily a facilitator and a communicator was the big barrier for me. Simply, I think they're all skills that you need all together, but I got pigeon-holed for a little bit. I ended up having to be quite ruthless about turning down work that I didn't want in pursuit of the work that I did. It worked.”
Nancy Lam on some of the regional challenges faced: “When I toured in China or South Korea, and they first saw me as a woman, they were quite surprised. Honestly, they didn't want to listen to me. Especially in Asia, from the history we have, women may be not as high as they think. I just did what I had to do and push and insist. And well, after they listened to what I said, then they followed. So, I think what I did, it made them really surprised, in a good way.”
Toy Deiorio, on what the industry can do better to promote women in theatre, said: “I would say what you're doing right now is having a webinar with women speaking, that alone is enough to open avenues for those that are seeking support or understanding of what they need to do in order to move forward. I think that's important. I think companies can hire more than one or two people on sound, especially on the pictures.”
Speaking about being accepted with advice for the next generation, Stephanie Farina said, “a lot of times for me it comes down to needing to work harder. I need to make sure that I'm on top of it, which has been extremely beneficial to me in a way because I've had to learn things faster and do things faster, and a little bit better.
“Be on time. Bring a wrench. And don't be a jerk. I feel like if you follow those three things, you will succeed in any job ever. You don't have to bring a wrench -- it's the idea of being prepared.”

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