Testimonials

Elena Belyea (BA Honors 2011)

What was the most beneficial aspect of being enrolled in the Drama Honors program?

Learning to think and speak about theatre on a conceptual level, specifically, learning how to recognize a metaphor onstage, and speak to the intersection between text, bodies, image, and meaning. 

What skills did you learn during your time in the program? And how did they prove useful after you graduated?

Learning how to write with rigour and specificity. Learning how to meet deadlines and pound out pages (ex. with my thesis), even if I don't necessarily know where they're going or what I mean by them, but to keep writing anyway. In particular, I have fond memories of being in my Honors seminar with James MacDonald and him having us read out certain parts of an assignment we'd done that week. It was almost like a roast. This was at the beginning of the term, and it was an eye-opening moment in terms of how lazy our writing was, and how sloppy we'd been, thinking that we wouldn't have to take accountability for what was being submitted. We laughed and laughed. In the future, it made us much more careful about what we wrote, and for me personally, I know my writing improved immensely. As a theatre practitioner who submits literally dozens of submissions for grants and projects a year, this skill is INVALUABLE, and something that I know many of my peers do not have. 

What is your current occupation?  

Playwright, performer, producer, arts educator. 

 

Mark Vetsch (BA Honors, 2011)

What was the most beneficial aspect of being enrolled in the Drama Honors program?

The most beneficial aspect of being enrolled in the program was the ability to look at theatre from new theoretical perspectives and be able to apply and challenge those idea in other practical work that I was doing in my degree.  Drama honors allowed me to learn how to tackle a theoretical concept, conduct quality research, and challenged me immensely in my own personal writing. Being a part of the program allowed me to connect with and confide in my honors cohort and created a support network. The program allowed me to take a more diverse drama degree and allotted me more credits and courses applicable in drama towards my university education.

What skills did you learn during your time in the program? And how did they prove useful after you graduated?

In my cohort, we were exposed to several different dramatists, directors, and performance artists and looked at theories and style of performance I otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to. In our seminar we were able to cover topics such as grant writing which was a skill that I greatly desired to have and has helped me in my professional career.

What is your current occupation?

I am a full-time high school drama teacher and independent contractor for theatre in Edmonton.  I work with two independent theatre companies in Edmonton on a regular basis as an Artistic Associate, teach theatre classes at the Citadel, and have independently contract my work.

 

Natalia Knowlton (BA Honors, 2012)

What was the most beneficial aspect of being enrolled in the Drama Honors program?

The Drama Honors program prepared me for a Masters in the UK. Their classes in theory and research along with my honors paper, prepared me to look at my theatre practice more critically which has helped me develop my craft as a playwright.

What skills did you learn during your time in the program? And how did they prove useful after you graduated?

The honors program gave me skills in research, critical thinking, and a knowledge of theorists and philosophers who have written about theatre. A crucial aspect of my Masters was to be able to analyze my writing and explain my artistic choices, which the Honors program had already started preparing me for. Being able to explain my artistic choices is a crucial skill that has proven useful when I apply for funding or development and production opportunities.

What is your current occupation?

Playwright and theatre maker.

 

Evguenia Voloboeva (BA Honors, 2013)

What was the most beneficial aspect of being enrolled in the Drama Honors program?

By far, the small, personalized approach of the program was the most beneficial aspect in my opinion. As the course content heavily relied on discussing the assigned material, being heard was both imperative and conducive to the learning process (an experience that I do not believe I would have gotten from a different program). I gained confidence and was able to study high-level material alongside Masters and PhD students which broadened my perspectives and knowledge base.

What skills did you learn during your time in the program? And how did they prove useful after you graduated?

I learned many skills during the program which ranged from the ability to research effectively to oral presentation and writing skills. All of these have proved immeasurably useful after I graduated as I have put them to use in various fields of employment (Marketing, Volunteer Management, Not-for-Profit Management and Executive Recruitment). Although the fields that I have listed are not directly linked to my Drama Honors undergraduate program, it was because of the transferable nature of the skills honed during the program that made me extremely employable in fields not exclusive to my field of study.

What is your current occupation?  

Prior to my maternity leave, which I am enjoying currently, I was employed by CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) as Client Recruitment Specialist were my portfolio covered quality assurance and strategic planning in regards to client retention/recruitment of the organization. Also, I am currently studying towards my MBA through Thompson Rivers University (Part-time online program).

 

 

Kara Chamberlain (BA Honors, 2013)

What was the most beneficial aspect of being enrolled in the Drama Honors program?

For me, being exposed to advanced art and theatre theory while also taking practical theatre courses allowed me to develop my aesthetic and interests as a theatre artist. This has proven vital in developing my early career.

What skills did you learn during your time in the program? And how did they prove useful after you graduated?

I learned high-level writing skills, which has helped with grant applications, applying for performances, and marketing. I also learned a variety of skills in the theatre, allowing me to successfully devise, produce, design, and perform in my own work.

What is your current occupation?  

I am currently a freelance actor and theatre maker, developing my theatre company and building a reputation for my work in the UK.

 

Maria Alexandra Tarcu (BA Honors, 2014)

What was the most beneficial aspect of being enrolled in the Drama Honors program?

The most beneficial aspect of being enrolled in the honours program was that I learned how to research, structure and write a thesis paper. Additionally, I gained knowledge about multiple theatre groups and various theatre artists that I would have otherwise not known about. It allowed me to expand my knowledge of my field in a way that I did not find in the BA program. In short, the Honours program made me a more rounded theatre artist that is able to talk about her field with ease.

Another benefit about the program was that as BA students, we were able to work with professionals from the field that have been working for many years. This is the point I think of the honours program as well....to put us in contact with professionals, people who have experience and are willing to share their experiences with us new artists.

What skills did you learn during your time in the program? And how did they prove useful after you graduated?

As I mentioned above, I learned how to research, structure and write a thesis paper. This proved useful in the way that I express myself eloquently both on paper and in my day to day life. Additionally, the honours program allowed me to sign up for a masters degree in cultural journalism in Paris. Since I already had the necessary writing skills, I was accepted immediately.

Moreover, the honours program taught me about multiple European theatre companies and artists and when I moved to Paris three years ago, I was able to attend shows and look for these companies. This has proved to be invaluable to me and has allowed me to see shows that have changed my life.

What is your current occupation?

Today I am a professional actress working in Canada, France, Holland, Romania and soon the United States.

 

 

Harley Morison (BA Honors, 2014)

What was the most beneficial aspect of being enrolled in the Drama Honors program?

The most beneficial aspect of Drama Honors: being fully immersed in a multifaceted theatre program with a low professor to student ratio. This meant that teachings in one class would directly apply to others and, along the way, professors were able to provide specific feedback pertaining to my coursework as well as mentorship on my future endeavours.

What skills did you learn during your time in the program? And how did they prove useful after you graduated?

The holistic feel of the program gave me a well-roundedness that I find immensely helpful as a director and producer of independent theatre. The combination of coursework focused on actors' processes and dramatic theory with directorial labs and opportunities to gain valuable project management skills are not matched by any program offered at the University of Alberta. During my time as a student I was able to mould my program around what I was interested in learning, and partake in self-study modules that helped to bridge the gap between my studies and professional career. While not a conservatory-style program like others in the Department of Drama, the honors program excels at marrying theoretical learning with practical application - a practice that is absolutely necessary for artists launching their careers. This program instills rigour in artistic practice and inspires students to be relentlessly curious; facts I'm consistently reminded of as I look at the accomplishments of my classmates to date.

What is your current occupation?

I'm a theatre director, playwright, producer and administrator.

 

 

Andrea Ruschin (BA Honors, 2016)

What was the most beneficial aspect of being enrolled in the Drama Honors program?

The most beneficial aspect of the Honors program was the ability to truly focus on my areas of interest in the department. Whereas other students had to balance their minors or were stymied by credit restrictions on Drama courses, I was able to pursue many more opportunities that were Drama focused, and thereby had more opportunity to grow as a performer, writer, and academic in the area that I came to school to study.

What skills did you learn during your time in the program? And how did they prove useful after you graduated?

I learned to write under a timeline, how to research quickly and efficiently, and how to produce and revise material on a consistent basis. Given that I now work in the writers room of a comedy television show I am constantly required to be producing and revising my writing. I would not be nearly as comfortable producing high-quality material in a high-pressure environment had I not gone through the Honors program.

What is your current occupation?

I'm currently the Story Coordinator of a sketch comedy television show filming in Edmonton. My Honors thesis was about the lack of opportunity given to women in comedy across all genres (but specifically in stand-up), and the strength of that paper got me hired by the Showrunner. I quite literally would not have my job without the Honors program.