Pitt Stages produciton of The Verge - Directed by Andrea Gunoe
Scenic Design by Kami Beckford
Photo credit: Samantha Saunders Studio
What are you studying at Pitt?
I major in architectural studies and minor in theatre arts (focusing on scenic design) and studio arts.
How do you see your theatre education contributing to your future goals?
In terms of design, my theatre education has really taught me about world building and allowing yourself to design without limiting yourself (TDs might hate to hear that haha). I feel like the difference between theatre and architecture design is that architecture is very grounded in reality and a whole bunch of practicality from the start, and learning how to design a more freely from the start and making it into something constructable after that brainstorming period is something that I’ll take into everything I design. It’s also a lot of fun to do! I’ve also learned about crafting connections between people, like relationships between audience members and performers, or zooming out, how relationships and interactions can be framed/created in any space.
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.
Designing my first mainstage – The Verge in 2020 – was really important to me because it helped me prove to myself that I can design something from start to finish and that I do deserve to be confident in my skills. I feel like a lot of young creative people undersell themselves or shy away from owning up to how talented they can be because they doubt themselves (including myself), but you shouldn’t be afraid to be proud of the things you do! A big thanks to everyone that helped support me on that show – especially Gianni – and throughout my time at Pitt that reassured me I could do it when I was doubting myself.
What do you hope to do when you graduate?
I want to be in the design world when I graduate – I’m very open to a lot of things, as long as they exist in that area of “world building” – scenic design, exhibition design, some small scale architectural design (never large office buildings though – I find projects like those very boring) – I’m really interested in working where theatre and architecture seem to blend together.
What do you enjoy doing outside of academics?
I love to take care of my plants! I love having them around as reminders to take care of myself (including one of Ashley’s spider plants!). I also love baking bread – my favorite has been a braided pesto loaf. I’ve been trying to create more – drawing, some graphic design – and be more forgiving with myself, not pressuring myself to have to get something I’m satisfied with every day.
Is there something you would like to share that you wish we asked you about?
One huge thing I’ve been learning recently is the importance of rest! I used to say on days where I might not have achieved much that I had an “unproductive day” – but rest is very productive! There’s no rush to do everything and taking time to slow down might actually help get you to where you want to be faster. That would be a big piece of advice that I share with everyone I meet.