Name: Kyle Conway
Majors: Theater and Management
Graduation Year: 2005
Hometown: Urbandale, Iowa
I was cast as the Truffaldino in "The Servant of Two Masters" my first semester at CSB/SJU and decided I had to see where this theater thing led.
I originally tried to focus on acting . . . but theater is much broader than that. I ended up doing a wide variety of things including managerial functions through the Drama Club and touring students around the BAC (the building that the theater department is housed in). I wrote plays, performed, directed one-acts, built sets, painted, helped with set dressing, etc. Theater is a culmination. There is nothing you can learn that would not aid you in this field.
Luck. CSB/SJU alumnae/i alerted my father to the school, and I applied. The real selling point was the ability to study abroad in Galway at the Park Lodge Hotel (where my parents spent their honeymoon). I couldn't pass that up.
CSB/SJU theater receives excellent support (financial and otherwise) and the students are able to receive a large range of opportunities and skills through the department. There is not "one best thing"...the entire program is a gem.
In fall 2001, Conway was in "Servant of Two Masters."
Close. I still call them or send them an e-mail if I have a question I think they could answer. I've been gone for two years, and I still feel connected to the professors. While I was at CSB/SJU, I was always in their offices chatting about theater and learning what things they were working on or hoping to work on in the future. They also helped me find my way into graduate school for theater and pushed me to excel while I was still on campus. The professors, also, were completely collaborative. This blessing can make or break a department. CSB/SJU's department was perfect.
Most likely it is ever-changing with a constantly changing student population. However, when I was there the interaction was varied. Students had their own primary interests (acting/directing/designing), but these interests wisely and intentionally collided in the program so that students would not only experience but also perform tasks in all of these areas. This created a group of collaborative students instead of defined parameters of actors, directors, designers, etc.
It was ALL truly great. One experience was working in the shop to make a wine rack. I'd never really worked with wood before (especially wood not intended for the stage), and I made a wine rack which is still displaying bottles of wine today in my home.
In fall 2004, Conway performed in "The Ghost Sonata," by August Stringberg.
Join a club, join a department, PARTICIPATE. Yeah, it's scary...but just do it. The more quickly you become involved, the more quickly you make new friends, get new ideas, and appreciate the wonderful school that is CSB/SJU.
Again, get involved. Also, do not not do something because it isn't offered. I wrote a long one-act play during my senior year through an independent study. I also started the Drama Club to give people an opportunity to write plays and have them produced. Playwriting wasn't offered when I was at CSB/SJU, but with the help of the professors and the students, we were able to make playwriting a reality.
I'm in a masters program at Texas Tech University for theater, looking forward to being in a doctoral program so that I can teach theater the rest of my life. I've been a TA for a class this past year. Hopefully next year I'll be teaching my own undergraduate course. I'll also be taking classes and working on my thesis.
This summer, I'm presenting a paper at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) on the American Theatre and Drama Society (ATDS) Emerging Scholars Panel about live performance art on the internet.
Outside of that, I play guitar and piano (and compose for both). I write plays. I've been learning costume construction. I've also been learning graphic design for theatrical posters. Again, it all fits back into theater.
Conway performed in "The Foreigner," by Larry Shue, in spring 2005.