Backstage at the Wilson Center: Beth Harvey Celebrates Ten Years of SMTE

FSCJ South Campus’ very own Beth Harvey will be producing “The Wizard of Oz” this summer. Harvey is the current director of the Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts, and she coordinates the Summer Musical Theatre Experience (SMTE)–a program that is both managed by, and solely for, high school students.

Harvey has a long standing background in theatre that she considers to be a major contribution to her love for the arts. During her elementary school years, Harvey spent every summer participating in the Children’s Theatre program at Theatre Jacksonville. Located in San Marco, Theatre Jacksonville was known at that time as “Little Theatre.”

In addition to her summers spent with the Children’s Theatre program, Harvey also has a deep family connection to this small San Marco gem. She’s a third generation contributor. Her mother was a local community actress at the theatre, her father was a long-time member on the Board of Directors and her grandparents were volunteers during the 30s and 40s.

“I do have a long history of theatre within my family,” Harvey said.

Harvey departed from the East Coast completely during her early adulthood, and pursued a career in corporate America. After getting married, she returned to Jacksonville.

Once back in Florida, Harvey again began volunteering for Theatre Jacksonville, and eventually landed a job in the business office. She worked in that position for five years under Director Robert White. Throughout that time, the small community theatre had a partnership with FSCJ, and the two produced numerous shows together through the Academic Community Theatre program.

Eventually, Harvey was approached by some former colleagues of Theatre Jacksonville that were now working for FSCJ. They encouraged her to apply for the new Wilson Center that was being built at the college.

Once Harvey was at FSCJ, she applied the skills she acquired during her years in corporate America, and channeled them into her new job–rising quickly through the ranks to become the new director of the Wilson Center, a position she’s held for close to 20 years.

This year marks the 10 year anniversary for SMTE. Harvey is beyond ecstatic as the group prepares for their big production. “I always wanted to set up a program that would be based, developed and run like a community theatre, but strictly for high school students,” said Harvey. She is proud of  the program’s success in inspiring high school students to come out of their shells, and chase their dreams.

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