Notes from Lenfest Hermione Wang '18 has spent so much time in Lenfest that people jokingly ask her if she lives there. Her job? Making sure that the show always goes on.
“I like to say that there’s always something exciting happening at Lenfest.”
Hometown: Calgary, Canada
Majors: Accounting, Business Administration and Geology
One of the things I’ll remember about W&L even after I graduate is that there are people here who believe in me and my abilities more than I believe in myself. It was one of these moments, during the summer between my sophomore and junior year, that landed me the work-study position of lead student director for house management at the Lenfest Center for the Arts. Despite having only worked shows intermittently during my sophomore year and never receiving the formal training that most student directors do, Susan Wager (assistant director and my supervisor) decided that I was the person for the job.
The opportunity came at a perfect time for me: I was looking to make changes and wanted something new. Since then, Lenfest has been a central part of my W&L experience. In fact, I’ve spent so much time in the building that one of the deans once jokingly asked if I lived there.
My favorite thing about working at Lenfest is that the place brings people together. From my peers who work or perform there to the regular patrons, I have met some amazing people I probably would not have met otherwise. Having come to this school from far away and not knowing what to expect beforehand, I appreciate the fact that I have found friends outside of the immediate W&L community. It makes Lexington feel like home.
There are many things I have learned from working at Lenfest. Some of the things are life skills that we hear about all the time: the importance of communication, organization and team building. But some of the tidbits of knowledge are as trivial as the fact that baked brie is a crowd favorite at receptions or that you can twist a soda can horizontally on a pile of napkins to make the pile look pretty.
If there was one thing I wished I’d mastered before becoming lead student director, it would be to keep calm even when things go wrong. Luckily and thankfully, there’s never been anything catastrophic, but even small things can appear significant when the show must go on. Some most memorable “uh-oh” moments include the time there was a bat in the staircase and the time we had a large water leak (miniature flood) in the box office. However, looking back, all of these challenges were just part of the experience, and they were good practice in crisis management. I like to say that there’s always something exciting happening at Lenfest.
In the past year and a half, I have changed our scheduling system from emailing to Google Docs and now to a mobile app to increase ease of communication. Each time, I’m grateful that Susan has trusted my judgement, but also that my peers have supported the effort and helped us work through obstacles.
My first few weeks, even months, as lead student director were a steep learning curve. And even though the role still induces high stress at times, I am glad that Susan threw me into it. This has been an incredible opportunity and I’m going to take the memories with me wherever I go.
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More about Hermione
– Lead Student Director at Lenfest Center of the Arts
– Community Assistant in the Global Service House
– Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee
– Beta Alpha Psi VP of Campus Outreach and Recruitment
– Geology Tutor and Teaching Assistant