Zachariah Ash-Bristol ’16: “I’m leaving with more than I expected.”
Recent grad Zachariah Ash-Bristol wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after high school, so he took the established alternate route to a four-year degree by enrolling in River Valley Community College to earn his general education requirements before transferring to Keene State. But by the time he got here, he knew exactly what he wanted and was willing to do the work it required.
Ash-Bristol was interested in entertainment, and got especially interested when he learned about a career as a theatre technician. “That’s why I started looking at Keene State,” the Hinsdale, NH, native said. “I met with Celine Perron, professor of Theatre and Dance, and she really opened my eyes to what the future could hold and what Keene could provide for me. I came in for a day and watched how everyone worked together, and the teamwork they displayed, and how close-knit everyone was, and their ability to show their own craft. I knew right away that Keene State was where I wanted to be—and in that Theater program.”
He immersed himself in the program, learned as much as he could, and by his senior year was the assistant technical director for the Theatre and Dance Department. Like other students in other programs at Keene State, he’s come to realize the value of the breadth of experience he’s gained here. “From talking to students from other theatre programs, I see that Keene is unique in the way it exposes us to all aspects of theatre,” he explained. “At other colleges, if you come in saying you want to learn lighting design, that’s all you do. When you graduate, you’ll know a lot about lighting, but you won’t know how to build a set, or design a costume. But here, you get to try your hand at everything. I applied for a job the other day and they offered it to me because I had such a broad background. I know about lighting, and how to build a set, and design a costume. It’s been great that I’ve had such a full experience here.”
And Ash-Bristol also praises the faculty for opening doors for him. “They welcome you in, they’ll always find ways for you to succeed, and, if there’s something you want to try, especially in the Theatre program, you’re going to get that opportunity. I came in for what I wanted, and I can say that I’m leaving with more than I expected, in the best way possible.”