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Student Spotlight: Sunny Rawlinson

Sunny Rawlinson photo
Sunny Rawlinson

Class Rank:

Major and Minor:
Theatre Design & Technology Major; Considering minoring in LGBTQ Studies, Africana Studies, Appalachian Studies, and Strategic Social Media

Huntington, WV

Why did you choose to attend WVU?

Growing up in West Virginia I never anticipated going to school in-state but after touring 8 other institutions nothing felt right. I had actually taken a few classes with Prof. Steven Neuenschwander at the two previous WV State Thespian Festivals and loved working with him so I took to Google to find where he taught and it led me here. After asking some questions, taking a tour or two, and having lunch with a school ambassador, it felt more like home than anywhere else. From the facilities to the hands-on learning atmosphere, I just knew this was the place for me.

What do you like about your major and your WVU experience?

As a stage management student I love the hands-on approach and practical experience I get from this program in particular. All my classes are project-based or directly connected to productions which makes the program super engaging and rewarding especially as someone who was never a very strong traditional student. I was an assistant stage manager in my freshman year and had the chance to stage manage out only in-person production this past spring. This year I'm starting right out the gate stage managing our first productions of the 2021-2022 season, "35mm: A Musical Exhibition".

What advice would you give to prospective students considering attending WVU's College of Creative Arts?

My advice to prospective students would be to reach out! Touring the facilities and meeting up with an ambassador gave me a way better idea of the space and community provided by the College of Creative Arts. Ask to sit in on a class, see a show, meet with faculty - you can tell how strong our program is by being in the center of it, and there's no better way to do that then to visit and chat! (Pro tip: Ask all your questions, no question is too far-fetched!)

Have you recently received any awards or scholarships? Have you recently participated in any competitions, productions, performances or exhibitions? If so, tell us about your experience below.

As I mentioned before, I'm stage managing the first show of the season, "35mm: A Musical Exhibition" By Ryan Scott Oliver. I'm super excited about this project because it's a show I'm really personally attached to but I also have the chance to work with a visiting professor as my director and I always jump at the opportunity to work with new people and to collaborate in new ways. Matt Greenberg, the director of the show, is really passionate about collaborating with students in a way I haven't seen before in my time here, selecting a student co-director and choreographer, and embracing the ideas and impulses of the performers. I'm also particularly excited about our approach to social media in collaboration with the production as someone also interested in media and branding. We're primarily utilizing Instagram @35mmWVU to document the rehearsal process, shows, and cast info and are encouraging folx to interact with us there. Our show opens September 30th in the Museum Education Center and folx can buy tickets online or in the box office.

Do you participate in any clubs or organizations? 

I'm the Associate Director for the National Residence Hall Honorary in the Central Atlantic and am a member of the WVU Rhododendron Chapter. I'm a member of Spectrum, an LGBTQ+ Student organization. I'm a member of the Residence Hall Association and a resident assistant (RA). I'm a member of the Collegiate Gaming Club and a member of the Theatre Student Organization.