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Beatie Helps Light Up BR Stage

Bear River Teacher Has Long History At School And In Theater
Erin Beatie and Devin Cameron

Most know of her because of her job here at Bear River, as the lovable and easygoing theater manager and director that keeps the theater program together. Some know her as the teacher who always has an interesting story to tell or a lesson to teach, yet few truly know of her surprising past. Erin Beatie went to Bear River High School, much like us, and found her passion for theater in an unexpected way.
“I didn’t have an idea of what I wanted to do until sophomore year of high school. I wanted to have a leg up in getting into the auditioned show pop choir, Startlite Express,” Beatie said. “They needed technical help and were looking for people to train. I knew this would be a good opportunity to get me into the choral/dance group and It worked! I was excited to be in the group, but found much more passion was working behind the scenes rather than in the spotlight.”
Over the years she continued to work behind the scenes in the theater department until her senior year, when she became their full time technical guru and lighting designer, which is what she really wanted to do.
In that same year, she found her passion for teaching after the last show of her high school career, all encapsulated in one single moment.
“I was closing out the facility (the MPR was the theater at the time). I looked around the room, reflecting on all the memories, and realized technical theater was how I was able to find myself and my passion. It was a home, but also an art that utilized all of the skills I had learned throughout my school career (math, science, history, english) and wondered why a class like this was not being taught at high schools. I (out loud actually) said I would one day return to Bear River and create a tech program for high school students.”
After high school, Beatie worked in different sections of the theatrical industry. She worked with the IATSE Local 50 and worked at Accent Lighting as an interior lighting designer in hopes of landing a “bread and butter theater position”.
She ultimately landed Lead Auditorium Technician (Theatre Manager) at Colfax High School where she managed the facility, designed, and taught students the backstage arts. Alongside this work, she has never stopped designing for local theater companies for Nevada County, and continues to work with local companies to this very day.
From her work as theater manager at Bear River, she has made countless memories creating, filming, and designing, and has resultantly left an everlasting impression on our school that will continue for years to come.
“There are so many moments where I have laughed so hard I cried. So many moments where I saw a student succeed to a level that they didn’t know they had and it led me to tears. So many show saves. So many moments of random students becoming a tech family”
While she has achieved many great things during her time in the theater industry, her most memorable achievement is her work on “The Summit”, with a former student and best friend of her’s named Devin Cameron.
“It was during the heart of the pandemic, the world closed down and we were able to open. We were the only show in the world producing new theatrical works and we donated our time and over $6,000 of our money to air it to the world for free”
Her assistant in “The Summit”, Devin Cameron, also stands as one of her most memorable students, she explains how he has inspired her,
“Who has a personal theatrical lighting stock as a Freshman in High School?! He was ambitious and so good! He pushed me to explore further and create bigger things. He wanted to be an actor at first, but I pointed out how much excitement he carried when talking about lighting design. He agreed and applied to Emerson College. He was one of 4 people accepted in his field of study that year. Ever since, Devin travels the world as a very successful lighting designer. We still try to find at least one project a year to design together. Most of the time we are successful in carving out those opportunities.”, she said.
Outside of her career, Beatie is interested in a number of hobbies. She loves to garden, even while it is hard to make time in her busy schedule, and has learned how to make essential oils from her crops. She hopes to learn how to make her own homemade soap, lotion, and perfume in the near future. She is also fascinated with medical practice and spends a lot of her free time looking up different ailments and treatments to certain conditions.
She also loves to spend time with her family, her husband Ryan, her son Jack, and her new baby Alice. “We like snowmobiling, boating, camping, traveling, and use to do work at the Reno Air Races every year. We like to snowmobile in LaPorte, boating and camping at Bullards Bar – also camping at Donner Mine Camp and like traveling anywhere!”
When it comes to the ideal qualities she loves to see from students, she loves when students are having fun and can’t even tell that they are actually learning simultaneously, and she bases a lot of her lesson plans with that goal in mind. In some of her favorite students, she sees integrity and the willingness to learn, all qualities that help shape a person to develop a level of individuality, responsibility, and creativity.
One of her most active students, Olivia Herr, embodies many of her desired qualities and has been serving as a member of the production team for four years. When asked about Beatie she expressed, “Erin is one of the best teachers I have had. She has helped me personally grow and become the best version of myself that I can be. I love the way she teaches”. She also noted how her style of teaching impacts students. “Ms. Beatie starts off by helping us with the class and then starts backing off as we learn more and more, and if needed she will always be there to help us. This helps build students confidence and this form of teaching has really helped me grow and become more confident in my own work”
As of now, Ms. Beatie is on leave to care for her newborn baby Alice, who has struggled with some health issues in the past. She hopes to come back to school as soon as possible, but currently there is not an exact estimated time she will be coming back. In these trying times, it is important for us as students to show our compassion and care for her, and continue to support the foundation of production in her absence to provide a proper environment for her return.
All in all, Ms. Beatie has served as a crucial member of our Bear River community, and while she may be gone as of the moment due to family matters, her commitment and dedication to our tech program is one that will be remembered for years to come. Inspired to become a teacher from her years as a student at Bear River, she has fulfilled her promise to support future generations, and on top of that, has imprinted her own personality into the very fabric of our theater family.

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About the Contributor
Daron Nelson
Daron Nelson, Staff Writer
Daron Nelson is a photographer & cinematography director in Production Management, with a lot of experience with freelance photography & video work as well as theater production. Daron is also a part of the water polo team, band and volleyball team, with this year being his senior year here at Bear River.
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