|MSU Texas Title IX director loves chance to connect on stage|
By Andy Newberry, MSU Texas
The credits keep rolling in for Rachael Fornof. “Sister Act,” “Mama Mia,” “The Little Mermaid,” and soon “Disaster” (coming this fall).
Acting is not the reason Fornof moved to Wichita Falls, but it’s been a blessing she’s embraced at the Wichita Theatre and Backdoor Theatre. Fornof is the Title IX Director and Coordinator for Midwestern State University, where she oversees complaints and reports of sexual misconduct as well as implementation and monitoring of state and federal policies.
Previously she worked as a prosecuting attorney and a deputy county attorney. That’s all serious business, and she loves serving people.
But she enjoys entertaining on stage, too, contributing her talents to the Wichita Falls theatre scene since arriving in 2018.
Fornof was active in theater during high school but stepped back during college.
However, she realized it was a necessary outlet, a take a break from work when she attended law school in Pennsylvania. That reminded her how much she enjoyed that interaction. Now she’s fallen in love with the theater community in Wichita Falls as well.
“One of the nicest things about moving to Wichita Falls is how involved the community theaters are, and we have two of them in Wichita Theatre and Backdoor Theatre. It’s great that I have this whole other group of people who have become like a surrogate family for me and my husband,” Fornof said. “Even though I loved my law school colleagues, we eat, sleep and live law. So in Pennsylvania I took the little amount of free time I had and applied it to doing community theater. It’s a way for me to get out. For me it’s just fun and I meet people who are not lawyers, and get to know communities.”
She claims she’s not an outgoing person naturally. But on the stage she’s not feeling nervous.
“On stage it’s different, it’s not Rachael doing that, it’s my energy as a character,” Fornof said. “It’s also been nice in that it kind of bridges the community and university. (MSU Texas Chief Information Officer) Jim Hall is out there and they see that oh there are regular people who work at MSU.
“My job can get stressful, it can get emotionally taxing and to go to a place and not have to talk about it all the time is really nice.”
Her hobby and Wichita Falls have provided a creative outlet for Fornof, whether it’s playing Sister Mary Robert in “Sister Act” or young bride Sophie Sheridan in “Mama Mia” or embracing her next chance on stage.
AROUND THE FALLS: Fornof said cooking is not a favorite hobby of hers. But eating local food, supporting area businesses, and visiting downtown Wichita Falls are top her list.
“I’ve never lived in Texas before or ever lived in a place that had tornadoes. What’s surprising is that it doesn’t always feel like a small town. There are days I forget it’s small, compared to Las Vegas or Tucson where I came from. You see downtown starting to thrive. You can see more small businesses. It’s different than a big city.”
Photo info: (Richard Carter, For the Times Record News) In a recent production of “Sister Act” at the Wichita Theatre, Rachael Fornof played Sister Mary Robert, a postulant questioning her spiritual calling.