Josie (Betty 1) in Pitt Stages production of Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties directed Julia Kreutzer.
What are you studying at Pitt?
I am a senior triple majoring in theatre arts, psychology, and communication. I think of my studies as an intersectional approach to being human.
How do you see your theatre education contributing to your future goals?
Beyond the training and experience that has given me the skills and confidence necessary to pursue future directions in performance, Pitt's theatre education has instilled in me the importance of time management, collaboration, and flexibility. Nobody gets it done like a Pitt theatre student. My experiences of being thrown in the deep end on a production while keeping up with a full course load have simultaneously been the most challenging and rewarding undertakings of my college career. What made these seemingly impossible endeavors successful was the support I felt from the theatre community built by ambitious students, involved mentors, and encouraging professors. This kind, collaborative spirit has been invaluable in the past three years and especially during the pandemic. I felt prepared for the difficulties of remote learning and virtual theatre-making because I've learned to be collaborative, sympathetic, and to ask for help when I need it. As the world moves on from this moment and I navigate my own path forward, I think these values will be more vital than ever before.
Is there a research opportunity, production, internship, class, etc. that has been instrumental to your time at Pitt or in helping you form your post-graduation goals? If so, please tell us about the experience.
I've been so lucky to have had many opportunities to perform on stage while at Pitt and in doing so realized how fundamental that form of expression and influence is to me. A project I will always be eternally grateful to have been part of was last February's Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and directed by Ricardo Vila-Roger. The show's themes of generational trauma and systemic racism were difficult, raw, and so needed at that time, and they remain so today. That show marks the first time I got to act alongside the talented professionals in our department and I grew immeasurably from the opportunity. As a lifelong theatre-goer, I've always been awed by the impact a topical show can have on my perspective. Appropriate was the first time I felt myself on the other side of that equation, delivering that gut-punch on audiences.
What do you hope to do when you graduate?
I'm still in the process of figuring out what I will be doing after graduation but I hope to pursue acting professionally, either in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. I want to continue creating theatre in any capacity I can. I also plan on working with kids to be a part of teaching self-expression through the arts to others.
What do you enjoy doing outside of academics?
Creating theatre is a big chunk of my life outside of academics, through Pitt's Performance Collaborative, which I act as business manager for, as well as in local community theatre back home. In the past year I've gotten into tabletop role-playing games, which I highly recommend to anyone looking for a social quarantine hobby. I love listening to podcasts and doing yoga, though generally not at the same time.