Brittany Bara (MFA, 2018)
Why did you decide to go to graduate school?
I had just entered the training process to become a Designated Linklater Teacher, and I realized that I wanted to become a full-time teacher. I wanted more knowledge about HOW we teach, as well as more tools to teach a broad range of performance techniques.
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Pitt?
It is one of the few MFA programs that specialize in performance pedagogy. The program is built so that the MFA students are teaching every semester, so the significant teaching experience was also a big factor.
How did the degree program help prepare you for your career?
The hands-on teaching experience and pedagogy focused classes directly prepared me for the classroom experience, but I also appreciate the professional development. I was a working professional in the theatre industry and had no knowledge of academia before entering this program. The MFA program does a fantastic job at helping you understand the expectations of academia; from publishing articles, presenting at conferences, navigating departmental and institutional responsibilities, and most importantly, understanding the expectations of the job market.
What is your current position and what does it involve?
I am currently the Director of Theatre/Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre at Southern Arkansas University. As the Director, my responsibilities include selecting and producing a our mainstage season, strengthening the BFA theatre and musical theatre programs through recruitment, hiring faculty and guest artists, directing shows in the season, and teaching a range of performance classes.
Thoughts and/or advice for current graduate students?
This program allows you to hone the skills you already possess, so come in with a clear picture of who you are and what you want. Take the time to get to know your students and your professors – those relationships will sustain you long after graduation.