Thespians pursue future careers in the performing arts industry

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Thespians pursue future careers in the performing arts industry

Future stars: EHS students pursue a career in the theatre industry.

Future stars: EHS students pursue a career in the theatre industry.

Mimi Beringer

Future stars: EHS students pursue a career in the theatre industry.

Mimi Beringer

Mimi Beringer

Future stars: EHS students pursue a career in the theatre industry.

Cecilia Orth, visual editor

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For Edina High School seniors, fall often consists of college applications and planning for the future. However, for students pursuing a career in theater, the application process is twofold: they must first be accepted into the school and then into the theater program. Seniors Alexandra Zykova and Cris Sanchez are hoping to major in theater or musical theater, while senior Katie Lord is hoping to major in theater production and management.

This also means students pursuing this path have two separate application processes. For example, “You have to get into the University of Minnesota, and then you have to get into their Guthrie program,” Zykova said.

Zykova and Sanchez had to complete their college applications in mid-September as the audition date signup is only made available post-application. “That was very stressful because I had to do a lot of preparation in August,” Zykova said. Despite the early process, applicants won’t hear back from the programs until early April.

In addition to an application, the theater program will likely require an online or in-person audition. “I think the most challenging part was actually the auditions. I always doubt myself with my materials. I feel like I could’ve chosen a better monologue or I should’ve practiced more with my song,” Zykova said.

Likewise, Sanchez found the most difficult part was the auditioning aspect. “I have to pick a song, a monologue, and dance sometimes, so I need to pick something that suits me and that will show my best self. What I think they should see, and why I deserve to be in their program,” Sanchez said.

However, sometimes an applicant will not audition due to pre-screens. “Some schools have pre-screens where you need to sing, dance, and act a monologue beforehand, just to see if [the program] even wants to see you audition,” Sanchez said.

Similarly, Lord found it most challenging to impress theater programs with her best work. Because there are no auditions for stage managing, Lord had to put together a portfolio of all her work. “Some examples would be my blocking notes, call sheets, attendance sheets, and just general notes for cast and crew. I’m like the link between cast and crew, so I have everyone’s information at my disposal. I basically show[the theater program] how I organize and process,” Lord said.

Acceptance into a theater program is extremely competitive. While acceptance rates are not provided, the theater program at Baldwin Wallace University only accepts 15 students out of likely thousands of applicants. “It’s scary because you’re trying to show [admissions] your passion, your love for this thing that thousands of people also love. But also you want to prove that you’re one of the best ones,” Zykova said.

Even if a student is accepted into a program, it does not secure a successful career. “It’s intimidating because you get hired on a show-by-show basis, so it’s for a few months at a time. You never know when you could not be working for a long time. But it’s something I’m passionate about, so I feel like it’s worth it,” Lord said.

While vital, there are factors beyond an acceptance that need considering. Applicants must conduct extensive research through videos and articles about a program’s style of training and conservatories. “It was stressful, I did a lot of research and toured a lot of schools. It took a long time to figure out what I actually wanted out of a theater program too,” Lord said.

Despite theater being a risky career path, these students could not imagine life without it. Zykova has spent her entire life in theater since elementary school. “It would be so weird for it not to be a part of my life somehow,” Zykova said.

While Sanchez was an introverted child and did not join theater until his freshman year, he has also loved singing and acting since childhood. His experiences on stage have helped him be himself. “I think it all happened freshman year. I was coming out [as gay] and then I did theater, and it was all of this, just being myself, that lead me to stop hiding who I was and just open up to the world,” Sanchez said.

Similarly, Lord got involved in theater during high school, her sophomore year. She believed it would be a one time show. “I realized how much I loved it and all the people in it. I really couldn’t imagine living my life without it…I found my passion and it was such a good experience that shaped who I am,” Lord said.

The application process and a career in the theater industry are full of obstacles; however, these seniors advise others to pursue what they are most passionate about. “I kept doubting myself with how far I could go, or how competitive it is and how no way I could even be half the actor…But if you love what you’re doing, then someone will see that passion and they’ll for sure love you and want to work with you,” Zykova said.

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