Spotlight on Ohlone:
Staunton woman found her dream job
By Bette Amsler.
Friday, June 29, 2012—Reprinted from Staunton NewsLeader.com.
All the world's a stage, and if you talk with Shannon Schultz, it is clear that she is thrilled to be a part of that world.
Schultz, 27, was born in Hayward, Calif., and grew up in San Leandro, Calif. During her last year in high school, she applied to several universities. She was accepted to the University of California, Santa Cruz, as a history major. Her plans changed when she acted in her senior high school production of "Into the Woods." She enjoyed the experience and made the decision to go to a community college to take theater classes to see if that might be something she could pursue as a career.
"I enrolled in Ohlone Community College [emphasis added] in Fremont. After graduating with an associate of arts degree, my goal was to work in theater doing something in the technical side rather than acting," she said.
The head of the theater department at Ohlone encouraged Schultz to concentrate her efforts on directing and stage managing. She followed his advice and fell in love with both disciplines. After graduating from Ohlone, Schultz attended California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, graduating with a bachelor's degree in theater.
"The theater department at California Lutheran was quite small so there was a great opportunity for a lot of hands-on experience," she said.
Schultz was then hired by the Marin Shakespeare Company as an assistant stage manager for one season, after which she returned to Ohlone [emphasis added] to audition for the part of Beatrice in Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." Instead, she was offered the part of Hero, which she was not interested in playing.
"The director, Tom Blank, then offered me a job as assistant producer for the entire school year, which included creating a study guide for the show and coordinating all the student matinees," she added.
It was at Ohlone that Schultz became a dedicated student of Shakespeare, learning and studying all the plays and becoming adept at memorizing the verses.
"Learning lines that are written in verse is actually a bit easier than regular dialog because the memorization begins by knowing a part of the verse and then filling in the rest based on how the line should sound," she said.
Schultz's next move was to begin searching online for a college to attend for her graduate studies. The managing director of the Marin company suggested Mary Baldwin College.
"In 2008, I applied and was accepted to the Shakespeare program at MBC," she added.
She graduated in 2011 with a master of letters and a master of fine arts. Her MFA project was to stage an all-male performance of "Romeo and Juliet."
"That project created a certain amount of controversy," she added.
Toward the end of her studies at Mary Baldwin, Schultz was working in the box office at Blackfriars Theater. When the playhouse manager left unexpectedly, Schultz was offered the position.
"I really felt fortunate to get a job in the field I love. My job entails keeping the theater running smoothly from organizing the volunteer ushers to making sure the building stays in good repair," she said.
"Although I miss my family and boyfriend, Chris, in California, I do love Staunton because of the small town feel. I can walk to so many places I enjoy. I come from a place where I was always commuting to and from work and school so this is a real pleasure for me."