Random Renegade: Leslie Aldridge

Lizette Chavez, Reporter

Leslie Aldridge has been involved with the Theater department at Bakersfield College since January 2015. She originally started at BC as a student, taking an illustrator class, before visiting the theater and asking if they needed any help with costumes. She was hired to design costumes for the play “Mother Courage” and started working as an adjunct instructor the following Fall semester.

Aldridge, originally from Utah, moved to the city when her husband found work in Bakersfield. She said she was very nervous about the move as she had never heard about Bakersfield before and decided to do some research. “I googled it, they called it the ‘armpit of California,’” she said with a laugh as she sewed a pair of pants.

Aldridge shared her fondness of Bakersfield, teaching at BC, and the students.

“I love Bakersfield College, I love the students because they are really dedicated to their craft, they’re dedicated to learning. They seem to be very appreciative, I’ve worked in numerous theaters . . . [where students] were all kind of entitled. Here they are like ‘thank you so much for my costume’ whereas before it was a lot of ‘you’re making me wear this?’”

Teaching is not without its hardships especially when it comes to the Theater department, Aldridge stated as she helped some of her students with their costumes.

“The hardest thing, this might ruffle some feathers, is funding. I feel like the Theater department is at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to funding and recognition. I feel like we have our acting classes that bring in so many students from all areas of the school because they have to take it for an elective. Our classes are packed full of people, we have a lot of outreach to other students on campus and yet it’s hard to be recognized as a theater department, to be appreciated, and funding. To say, hey, that’s a department that’s worth putting [money] into.”

When asked why she thought that the arts are often taken for granted, Aldridge said that not being exposed to it or choosing to not expose yourself to it could be a factor. Film, being an easier form of entertainment, is more common, she said, but there are other forms available to expose yourself to, that can hold a richness and a fulfillment unlike anything else.

As for her students and what she hopes they take away from her class, Aldridge had this to say.

“I want them to leave the classroom feeling prepared, having learned how to work as a professional. I really feel that college prepares you for the work that you are going to do later in life, also to enjoy themselves, have fun with it, enjoy being in college, because sometimes we take it for granted the education that we get here in the U.S.”