May 22, 2023
Cristo Lopez

Stanislaus State helped Cristo Lopez discover the importance of personal expression. In his first year, Lopez was unsure what he wanted to major in, but he was most comfortable working in the arts and joined the Theater Department.   

“I practically lived in the Theatre Department. It was always a constant learning experience and there was never a dull moment.” Lopez said. 

With an interest in production design, Lopez began working as a student assistant for the technical director and learned the fundamentals of stagecraft. Through this experience, he became better equipped to identify and solve production-related issues, mastering the art of assessing the stage and selecting the optimal methods for a successful production.  

Lopez said he was privileged to work with exceptional mentors in the Theater Department, who guided him in mastering the art of production, including many construction techniques. As he delved deeper into his studies, he discovered a special interest in lighting design. 

“I owe so much to Edgar Alamo, the scene shop coordinator in the Theatre Department. I’ve learned a lot from him in the short time that I’ve known him, as he is already a professional lighting designer,” Lopez said. “He introduced me to different lighting programs, which I set out to learn more about to further my craft. I’ve been lucky enough to also work with him as an associate lighting designer outside of the University.” 

Lopez has come to realize that with big goals, big dreams can follow. He already has a footprint in local theater and plans on expanding even further.  

“I’ve already been lucky enough to find some work across the Central Valley,” Lopez says. “Most recently, I’ve been fortunate to work in the Bay Area. I’ve already got one foot in the door and all that’s left is to get the other one in. I need to put myself out there and work on projects that allow me to keep learning while also creating something for everyone.” 

Lopez is an example of someone who set his mind toward a goal and accomplished it and may be an inspiration for other Stan State students to follow their dreams. 

“It’s O.K. to not know what you want to do with your life,” Lopez said. “College is a time of experimentation where you’ll find out who you are and what your goals are. Only you know what you want, and you’ll come to find out that the things you learn will apply to you more than you think.” 

#StanGrad File


Cristo Montanez Lopez 


Milwaukee, WI


Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts 

What memories stand out most from your time at Stanislaus State?

“I remember my first year here at Stan. I came in not knowing what I wanted to do with my life but quickly threw myself into theatre. It was a place where I felt like I could explore different pathways and who I wanted to be. I’ve shared many memories with other theatre students working on many shows.  I think what I’ll remember most is the people I’ve met in this part of my life. What I like about theatre is the fact that it connects you to people from all around. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to create a friendship with someone who I’d never expected to have in my life and no words can express my gratitude for them.” 

Which faculty or staff member had the greatest impact on you, and why?

“It would be impossible to list just one person since there were many faculty/staff that contributed to who I am and what I can do. I’m grateful for Technical Director Clay Everett, as he showed me ways to be creative with problem-solving and for teaching me different construction methods to the point where I’m able to have a valuable skill set. I’d like to thank the chair of the Theatre Department, Eric Broadwater, as it was in one of his classes that I started to find a passion for lighting design. It was also in another one of his classes during my junior year where I, along with other students, was being prepared to face the world beyond college. There’s no way I could ever give a bigger thank you to Scene Shop Coordinator Edgar Alamo. I’ve learned so much from him in the short time that I’ve known him.  Even faculty members such as Jack Souza and Carin Heidelbach got me to think deeper about people and the relationships between all of us. There is nothing I did not take in from any one of these wonderful people that will not be used in my future endeavors.” 

What advice would you give to current and future students?

“To current students, I think the best advice I could give is to know your limits and learn when you need to take a step back. I found myself being a workaholic partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic and I felt part of my education was lost. I tried to make up for this by pushing myself to always be working on something.  But I found ways to enjoy the short moments of peace."  


Note: This article is part of the StanGrad series highlighting Stanislaus State students who are part of the Class of 2023. Read more StanGrad profiles.