Kyle Conway

Name: Kyle Conway
Majors: Theater and Management
Graduation Year: 2005
Hometown: Urbandale, Iowa

What made you decide to major in theater?

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.

What area of theater did you focus on?

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.

How did you choose CSB/SJU for your studies?

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.

What did you like best about the theater program at CSB/SJU?

  • The variety.
  • The opportunity.
  • The facilities.
  • The dedication of the faculty.
  • The dedication of the students.
  • The dedication and support of the community (both Benedictine and beyond).

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.

What was the biggest struggle you've encountered in the program?

Kyle Conway in Servant of Two Masters

In fall 2001, Conway was in "Servant of Two Masters."

My struggles were always wrestling with myself about "taking on too much" each semester. Between my two majors, performing, building sets, writing plays, etc. it can become overwhelming. But the professors at CSB/SJU always lend an ear and give advice. They never wanted you overwhelmed. The key was to push yourself. With their help, I always made it through each semester without collapsing and added much needed experience and talents to my resume.

What kind of relationship did you have with your professors?

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.

How is the interaction between students in the CSB/SJU theater program?

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.

Was there an experience that you had at CSB/SJU that really stands out in your mind as outstanding?

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.

Were you involved in any clubs or sports on campus?

In fall 2004, Conway performed in "The Ghost Sonata," by August Stringberg.

The Drama Club. Theater keeps you involved. I occasionally played basketball and participated in a volleyball tournament once. The Drama Club offered even more opportunities for writing/directing/
designing and also opened itself up to non-majors who didn't want the large responsibility of being in a departmental production.

What advice do you have for prospective high school students?

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.

What advice do you have for students that are just entering the theater program at 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.

What are you doing now?

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.