SUU to Everywhere

Andie Szekely ('16)

Andie Szekely ('16)
SUU to Lighting Technician

Originally published on December 12, 2017.

Due to frequent visits to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in high school, Andie Szekely was no stranger to the campus of Southern Utah University. The decision to transfer to SUU from her previous school in Wisconsin was an easy one. The campus was beautiful and it offered the program she was looking for, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre design and technology.

Andie dove headfirst into theatre at SUU and took on a variety of projects throughout her education. She was the lighting designer for several productions; The Fantasticks, Dancing at Lughnasa, Hamlet, and Rent. Andie was also involved with the United States Institute for Technical Theatre (USITT) where she won a nationally recognized lighting design award during her senior year. In addition to her work on campus, Andie took advantage of several internship opportunities in New York, Disney World, and The Sante Fe Opera.

Andie had countless experiences throughout her education that acted as important lessons, but she recalls one memory in particular that became a defining moment in her life.

“The opening night for our production of The Fantasticks will always hold a special place in my heart,” said Andie. “We, as students, had poured the entirety of our lives into that show. On opening night the group of us held hands and watched our stage come to life. There is a moment in the opening song where the music swells and handfuls of floating lanterns turned on. The audience audibly gasped, and as I looked across the theatre, I saw the smiles, the tears, and the general emotions on people's faces and started to cry. I looked down my row to see that my peers were silently crying as well. That moment was huge. It was a reminder that SUU was the right place, and I was here at the right time.”

Andie had several mentors in the theatre department who helped guide her throughout her education. In particular, Brian Swanson, assistant professor of theatre arts, and Heather Reynolds, associate production manager and electrics and sound supervisor.

“Brian is the definition of tough love, and he is one of the primary components of my success at SUU,” said Andie. “Heather Reynolds also was, and still is, a wonderful mentor to me. She is incredibly smart, talented, patient, and kind which are qualities that I knew I wanted to take with me into my future.”

Andie now works as a freelance lighting assistant on a variety of jobs across the country. Every few days she finds herself working on a different show and with a different company. Some of her responsibilities include going to an equipment rental shop, prepping the various amounts of lighting equipment, arriving at the site location, overseeing a crew and participating in executing the hang, power, and safety of all lighting related functions. The venues she works in range from ballrooms to concert halls to convention centers to opera houses.

“Due to the diversity of my job, and the need for lighting in a range of events, I am given opportunities to travel, to develop my own work schedule, and to consistently train on the job,” said Andie.

An attitude of constant progress and learning has set Andie apart in a competitive field and allowed her to become successful shortly after earning her degree.

“I love that in just 18 months after graduation, I have taken what I have learned from SUU and applied it in so many different ways,” said Andie. “My education at SUU provided me with a foundation of knowledge to develop any project that comes my way.”

Learn more about SUU’s Theatre Arts program.