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Theatre Alumni & News

Alumni News | Current Student News | Faculty News

ALUMNI NEWS

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I love being able to say that I am a working actor, trudging through Los Angeles and living my dreams! The past two years here in LA have proven to be the most influential and memorable experiences of my life. I am growing, improving and pushing the boundaries of my art and my knowledge. This wouldn’t have been possible without the friends, wisdom and training that I received at Belmont. I owe my heart and soul to the Theatre Department and the people who continue to believe in and support me. Currently I am reading a feature script that I have been cast in as lead actor for this fall. I booked and shot a worldwide Toyota commercial this past weekend and an episode of My Crazy Ex that I starred in aired on Lifetime this week.  It continues to be a whirlwind of exciting projects but the work continues and we all have to keep pushing onward and upward! Much love and dream big my friends!

Shawn Hawkins, Theatre & Drama, 2015

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I have been a company member with the American Shakespeare Center since 2014. The ASC is home of the beautiful Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only recreation of Shakespeare's indoor theatre located in Staunton, Virginia. This season, I am playing Peter in Peter and the Starcatcher and Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing. I am also the seasons Fight Captain and have taught master classes for Mary Baldwin University. The program at Belmont laid the groundwork for me to go on to earn my MFA and to work with the industry’s leading professionals at such theaters as The Alley, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, and the American Shakespeare Center. 

Benjamin Reed, Theatre & Drama, 2008

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The final words that President Bob Fisher said to my graduating class in May of 2014 were “From here to anywhere.” That statement could not have more true. Since my graduating at Belmont I was accepted into The Actor’s Studio Drama School; one of the Top 10 Graduate Drama Schools in the United States. While I have just recently graduated from ASDS and am working actively in the industry, recently booking a paid feature and meeting a world of agents and casting directors, it goes without saying that Belmont University’s Theater Department laid the groundwork for what would catapult me in the years beyond and into employment. The team that Paul Gatrell assembles and maintains is absolutely among the best that any student will find anywhere. While your degree may be a Bachelor’s, mark my words their program is every bit as strong as any Master’s Degree you’ll find anywhere.

Mason Sullivan, Theatre Performance, 2014

Belmont Theatre Alumni 2016 graduates, Eliza Garrity (sound design), Rebekah Lecocq (assistant stage manager), 2014 musical theatre graduate Matt Rosenbaum (Mint Julep, one of the main characters), and current students Sam Lowry (projection designer) and Robert Helvey (assistant technical director) were involved in Studio Tenn’s production of The Battle of FranklinClick for full review.

Jessika Malone (BA Theatre and Drama, 2007), and Nyazia Martin (BFA Theatre Performance, May 2016) are given stellar reviews for their work in the production of Failure: A Love Story at Actors Bridge Ensemble.  Click here for full review

Madeline Marconi (BFA Theatre Performance, May 2016) “deftly handling the two related roles of the damsels in distress,” says the Nashville Scene as she portrayed Nikki and Emily in the Actors Bridge Ensemble premiere of The Patron Saint of Losing Sleep this past September.  Click here for full review.

Ara Vito (BA Theatre, May 2016) received second place for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg National Student Playwriting Award for her play Alice.  In addition, the play was named one of the best collegiate theatrical productions in the country by the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) in April 2016, including Outstanding Performance & Production Ensemble and Distinguished Production of a New or Devised Work.  Click here for further details.

Blair Allison, Theatre graduate student, is interviewed for Broadway World's feature "Where are they Now?"

Morgan Davis and Kyle Odum, both 2016 Theatre Performance graduates, are given stellar reviews for the production of "Noises Off" at the Nashville Rep. Click here for the full review from Broadwayworld.com.

BU Theatre students who are in or have graduated from the following graduate programs:

Kyla Lowder, MFA in Acting, University of Southern California
DJ Clark, MFA in Scriptwriting, California State University, Fullerton
Mitch Massarro, MFA in Technical Design and Production, Yale School of Drama
Jessika Malone, MFA in Theatre Direction, Illinois State University
Mason Sulivan, MFA in Acting, Pace University
Miles Gatrell, MFA in Acting, Iowa State University

CURRENT STUDENT NEWS

Madison Tankersley, BFA Theatre Performance major, was recently accepted into the esteemed Classical Actor Training program at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) for Spring 2017.

Jenna Dooling, BFA Theatre Performance major and Music Business minor, and Kenzie Butler (theatre minor), were both accepted into the Belmont East/West programs for Spring 2017.  In addition, Dooling will be attending the Columbia College Chicago’s Comedy Studies Summer program, summer 2017.

JB Bridge, BFA Production Design major, will be participating in the Disney College Program, which gives students a comprehensive, experiential-learning opportunity, providing unparalleled enhancement to their academic and professional careers, spring 2017.

Summer Shack, Theatre and Drama major and Dance minor, was invited to speak at Rejoice School of Ballet, a non-profit dance school that aims to nurture and celebrate dancers from diverse racial, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Shack was invited to speak as part of the school’s “4 Pillars Program.” Click here for the full article.

Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region IV 2016-2017 Student Award Nominees for their work on the following productions:

Our Town by Thornton Wilder Shelby Hess and Drew Freeman (Irene Ryan Scholarship Nominees); Maggie Jackson (Barbizon Costume Design); Taylor Thomas (Barbizon Lighting Design); and, Alizah Ferguson          (Stage Management).
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams Kiley Carlsen and Joe Cash (Irene Ryan Scholarship Nominees); Rachel Kennedy (Stage Management); Henry Beach (Barbizon Lighting Design); Isaac Burrier (Barbizon Scene     Design); Taylor Thomas (Barbizon Sound Design); Brittany Reese (Props); and, Laramie    Hearn (Dramaturgy).
She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen Reilly O’Connell and McKenzie Wilkes (Irene Ryan Scholarship Nominees); Maggie Jackson (Stage Management); Alizah Ferguson (Barbizon Costume Design); Emilia Adams (Barbizon Lighting Design); JB Bridge (Barbizon Scene Design); Robert Helvey (Barbizon Sound Design); Rebecca Garland (Barbizon Make-up Design); and, Sam Lowry (Student Director).

FACULTY NEWS

Paul Gatrell, Professor of Theatre and Department Chair, is currently designing the set for Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s Romeo and Juliet, directed by Santiago Sosa, January 5 - 29, 2017.  Click here for more information.
Brent Maddox, Associate Professor of Theatre and Director of the BFA Theatre Performance program, is scheduled to perform as Dr. Frederick Treves in Studio Tenn’s upcoming production of The Elephant Man, February 16-26, 2017.  Click here for more information.
Dr. James Al-Shamma, Assistant Professor of Theatre, recently served as an editor and translator for a collection of plays titled, “Contemporary Plays from Iraq,” set to release January 12.  The plays included in the collection give an Iraqi perspective on the war and occupation that has changed the way of life for those living in the Middle East.  Dr. Al-Shamma has previously published two books on American playwright Sarah Ruhl and has written for publications including The Eugene O’Neill Review and the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism. “Contemporary Plays from Iraq” is currently available for pre-order on Amazon or at Bloomsbury Publishing.
Shawn Knight, Theatre Lecturer and professional actor and director, recently directed Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook at the Nashville Children's Theatre.  The show will run for 56 performances and play to approximately 25,000 kids and adults.  Later this season, he will be seen at the Nashville Children's Theatre in Cinderella (December), Treasure Island (January and February), and Goodnight, Moon (April and May).  He will also serve as musical director for the latter.  Click here for more information.
Jessica Mueller, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Director of the BFA Production Design program, will be working with Shawn Knight on an Equity production of Goodnight, Moon at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, in Arrow Rock, Missouri.  Shawn will be guest directing a local crew of Nashville Equity actors who will travel to Arrow Rock to produce the first-ever Theatre for Young Audiences piece at the Lyceum.  Jessica will be designing and building costumes for the production.  Click here for more information.
Jackie Jutting, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Director of the BFA Theatre Directing program, is scheduled to direct the Actors Bridge/Belmont co-production of THE AMISH PROJECT by Jessica Dickey, April 7 – 23rd, 2017, as well as the Verge Theatre production of THE WHALE by Samuel Hunter, June, 2017.  Nashville.  Click here for more information.
Eric Pasto-Crosby, Theatre Lecturer and professional actor and fight choreographer, will be performing and choreographing fights for Cinderella, Treasure Island and In This Corner Cassius Clay at Nashville Children's Theatre.  Eric recently played the role of Lloyd Dallas in the Nashville Rep’s production of Noises Off!  See full reviews at Broadway World and in the Tennessean.