In 2012, the West Ottawa Orchestra went on a trip to Disney World. At the time, Paige Truijillo was a sophomore. Disney World is known for guests being able to meet their favorite characters. On that trip, Truijillo saw that there were so many jobs in the entertainment industry besides acting. In that moment, she knew that theatre was what she wanted to pursue.
Including high school, Trujillo has been doing theatre for nine years and has been involved in numerous productions in many ways. In her senior year, she was even the president of the drama club and she had won the best thespian and leadership awards. Since graduating in 2015, Trujillo has been pursuing theatre at Hope College.
Truijllo is self-inspired to pursue the arts, and her teachers have given her opportunities to grow. “I made the decision on my own to pursue it professionally, but a lot of the confidence came from my teachers, specifically Mr. Foley. He gave me a lot of opportunities that challenged me and helped me grow. He always believed in me,” Truijillo said. “They all care about the students as people. I think in college, because we’re all adults now, the professors can get to know us a little more in-depth than what high school teachers can, but all my theatre mentors have always been extremely supportive.”
When Trujillo was in high school, she was heavily involved in the arts, but out of everything, she loved theatre the most. “It was what I am passionate about. I participated in a lot of different activities too, like Orchestra and IB Art, but for me theatre was the thing that clicked,” Trujillo said “There was hardly a job in the theatre that I didn’t do because I wanted to try everything. Directing, props, publicity, backstage crew, set painting, acting, choreography, etc. I was very proud to be the go-to props person, and even ran props solo for The Diviners.”
Now as a student at Hope, Trujillio has been found doing similar theatre jobs as she did a WO. “I was recently Adele in Jane Eyre the Musical , a choir member in The Christians, a costume crew member for The Sparrow, and an Assistant Stage Manager for Miss Julie. I also work in the Props Shop, pulling and making props for all of Hope’s shows and whatever nearby theatre companies contact us. Like when I pulled chairs for West Ottawa’s Crazy For You,” Truijillo said.
According to Truijillo the largest difference between high school and college theatre is professionalism. “This is partially because of the fact we are all here to pursue theatre as a career. But the backstage elements are all so much more professional–they’re preparing us for how theatre is outside of school. For example, the role of the Stage Manager is almost completely different and much more intensive than it is at West Ottawa,” Truijillo said.
High school theatre is about learning about theatre whereas in college, theatre is about applying it to the professional world. “College is a lot more like the professional world–at least here at Hope College. The acting classes really open your eyes. I can’t believe how little I knew in high school. But the biggest similarity is the team effort of putting on the show. Everyone is vital, just like at WO,” said Truijillo.
“Be willing to learn. Going into an acting class, you never know what you’re getting into. Each person will teach you a different method, and each method works best for different people. Find what works for you and, be encouraging to those around you because you can learn from them,” Trujillo said as a piece of advice for anyone wanting to pursue theatre. Theatre after high school can be a possibility for anyone.