Alumni from Theatre
Theatre and dance alumni have traveled many paths since graduation. From Broadway to Bombay, our graduates enter all walks of life. Here, many take this opportunity to reflect on the lasting value of their Dickinson College education.
|Benjamin Bird '99
"I learned the value of "Idea Communication" in the Department of Theatre and Dance. While there, I took the classes for the foundation & knowledge, participated in the plays, musicals and dance concerts for the skills & creative aspect and worked in the scene and lighting shops for the hands-on applications & pizza money. During all that time, I was learning how to articulate stories and language to audiences. I did not realize the importance of this until after I graduated from Dickinson. Now, I manage and operate a business. Everyday I must communicate with all types of people. I talk to the owners about their money, suppliers about their goods, customers about their orders and prospective clients about the benefits of our products. I have to communicate multiple ideas on multiple levels to hundreds of people daily. When I started as a manager, the ability to communicate ideas with many people felt very natural to me. I firmly believe that my experiences in the Department of Theatre and Dance prepared me for the single most important value between people: "Idea Communication."
"I didn't realize until after I graduated how well Dickinson's theatre program prepared me for the real world. Looking back, I appreciate the fact that I was able to be part of a department which, at a university level, functioned so professionally. At Dickinson, if you participate in a production, you help with all aspects of the production. I not only held specific positions for each production, but I also expanded my knowledge and skills in all aspects of theatre, by accumulating Mermiad Players hours and taking Dramatic Arts courses. This has given me a wonderful base on which to build, and a working knowledge of theatre that has made me extremely flexible and valuable to employers. When interviewing for theatre positions in Manhattan, I felt extremely prepared and qualified for almost anything that was presented to me. I believe that the organization and structure of the theatre department gave me an edge over other recent graduates because at Dickinson, we paid attention to details. By doing so, we not only got the job done, but it was done well. After working under the guidance of such talented faculty, I look back at Dickinson's theatre department with great respect and admiration, and look forward to my future in theatre with confidence and anticipation, because I know that I was trained by the best."
|Kimberly Renner '96
"I am so glad that I became involved in Dramatic Arts while I was a student at Dickinson. I cannot say enough good things about Dickinson's drama program. The Dramatic Arts program at Dickinson is truly a collaborative experience, and the program openly encourages everyone to become involved and learn about all aspects of theatre. I think I spent about an equal amount of time acting on stage as I did helping out in technical/production positions. I discovered just how much hard work goes into every aspect of preparing a play for performance--from the day the show is picked and designed until the set is struck after the last performance--and I also discovered how very worthwhile all that hard work is. There are no words to describe the exhiliration of performance night. There are also no words to describe the exhiliration and feeling of accomplishment after trying your best at an audition, after helping build part of the set, after working really hard at a challenging scene during practice. Not only did I learn about the hard work that is behind dramatic productions, but I also made many friends and I believe I also learned more about myself. I am presently working on my masters and studying to become a secondary social studies teacher at Wake Forest University, and I believe that the experience I gained by participating in Dickinson's Dramatic Arts will prove invaluable to me. My involvement in theatre has definitely improved my communication skills, given me many creative ideas for drama activities in the social studies classroom, and has illustrated to me the importance of dedication and hard work. I'm not sure at this point whether being a social studies teacher will be a long term career choice for me. Whether it is or not, I know that drama will always be a part of my life. I am looking forward to helping out with high school dramatic productions in the near future. Dickinson College is very fortunate to have the excellent Dramatic Arts program and faculty that it has, and I would encourage any interested student to take advantage of this opportunity."
|Jen Schwab '94
"I came to Dickinson expecting to be a French teacher after graduation," quips our former actor and Costume Shop foreman. Jen found that the best things about our program were "the opportunities to be involved in every aspect of production, regardless of year or major, the special opportunities for Freshman actors in the Freshman Plays, the faculty with professional theatre connections for outside employment/internships, the cast parties, and the Mermaid Players Love Fest on Valentine's Day. Volunteering backstage showed me that there's SO much more to theatre than the actors." Jen is now "leading the glamorous life" as a member of the costume shop of the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC. Jen takes with her many memories, such as "the time my pants fell down in the Anything Goes Act I finale" and her boyfriend, Chris Rice '96.
|Stuart Pankin '68
"I came to Dickinson planning to be a psychology major, but the theatre, and especially David Brubaker, seduced me (in the gentlest and purely artistic sense). Most of my memories of college are the Mermaid Players, my good friends and colleagues, our wonderful teachers and directors, all those exciting plays, and the great opening night parties. Dave and Marj Brubaker introduced me to a process of working, and a love for acting and the theatre, that will stay with me always. The fact is the Mermaid Players changed my life--or at least focused it--and showed me where my life and career must lead. I'm a professional actor today because of the incredibly positive experiences I got through the theatre program and classes at Dickinson. And as far as social influences, I met my wife Joy while earning a Masters Degree in theatre from Columbia University. If marriage isn't the ultimate social experience (aside from Freshman Mixers), I don't know what is. The theatre department today is much more varied and complex than when I was a student (before the wheel was invented). If the teachers and curriculum have maintained the quality and professionalism they had when I was a young actor (and I'm sure they have), there can be no better place to learn, prepare, and have fun.