Class Year: 2009
Major at MC: Theatre
Senior Thesis Topic: “Applying Bertolt Brecht's Epic Theatre to Modern Works.” For the creative portion of my thesis, I adapted the book The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien into a stage production and produced/directed the show.
Current Town/City of Residence: New York, NY
Family: Drew Morgan ’06, spouse
How much traveling are you doing for acting jobs?
I travel for jobs probably 2-3 times year. Most of what I do is based in NYC, though.
Describe your career path since graduating from MC.
I've always known I wanted to be an actress, so there was never any question about what I would pursue. After college, I toured with a children's theatre company – performing classical texts for kids. Then Drew and I moved to Miami, where I started venturing into film (as well as still doing some theatre). After a year in Miami, we moved back to Knoxville for a couple of years. I'm grateful for those two years in Knoxville because I was really able to experiment as an artist. I did some filmmaking (which I fell in love with), wrote some one-act plays, directed some full-scale theatre productions, and grew immensely as an actor. When we moved to NYC, I felt confident in my artistic voice and the type of work I wanted to make. I've been really fortunate with the work I've been a part of in New York so far.
What’s been your most exciting professional experience to date?
I acted in a short film last summer called “HERE LIES JOE” that has just start-to-finish been an overall cool experience. It was a role that I was really excited to play. The director is a very talented filmmaker but is also pretty early in his career, so the process was very collaborative. It was like guerilla filmmaking. It was a skeleton crew, and sometime I'd even be acting while hold a piece of lighting equipment in my hand. I love that kind of environment, though. It felt like we were all coming together – through blood, sweat and tears (literally) – to make this piece of art. And the film has done really well in the festival circuit this past year, so it was so rewarding to travel to festivals and get to show off this work of art we had created – which, by the way, has a very meaningful message.
How did your MC experience prepare you for your vocation and/or life?
MC was so great for me. I grew up in a really small, rural town. I didn't have much of an opportunity to act or explore as an artist. MC was the perfect stepping stone for me. Because the theatre program was small, I got to play a lot of very challenging roles throughout my four years. Dr. Heather McMahon (whom I consider a friend AND mentor) really pushed me into exploring different aspects of the theatre arts, as well as guiding my growth as an actor. She also encouraged me to try directing and was extremely supportive through my very ambitious thesis project. I also feel very fortunate that I was able to play soccer AND pursue theatre. A lot of schools I visited told me there was no way I could do both. When I visited Maryville, they actually encouraged it. Coach Pepe Fernandez was SO supportive of my acting. He was flexible with my rehearsal schedules, and he came to see every play I was in. That meant so much to me.
What advice would you give to MC students who want to pursue acting after graduation?
Don't be afraid to ask for help and advice. Throughout my career, I have reached out to people I admire, and they have really become some amazing mentors to me. Artists love to help artists. And there's a lot they can teach you. Also, make sure you give time for self-care. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and stop taking care of yourself (mentally and physically). That's when you burn out. And when you burn out, you burn out HARD.
What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?
What do I do for fun?: I play the guitar and sing. That's become my favorite hobby. I also love gardening. (We have a yard in NYC! How lucky is that?) And I'm always sure to get out of the city regularly and find some nature. That always recharges me.
Since graduating from MC, what has made you most proud?
That's tough. I'm proud of a lot of my work. If I had to choose though, it would be the production of “God's Favorite” that I directed for my hometown's new community theatre company, The Plateau Players. It was so rewarding to bring the experiences I'd had as a professional artist, back to my town and create something with local people. It was hard work, but it was so extremely worth it.
Professionally or personally, what’s still on your “bucket list?”
Well, obviously I still have the big ones on there like: Broadway, a film in Sundance/Cannes/Tribeca, a juicy TV role. But personally, I have a couple film projects I'm writing that I would love to make one day. And I'm in the early stages of creating a summer camp in my hometown for kids in Appalachia. That's my passion project. And on a completely different note – I want to camp in the Grand Canyon!
What’s your best memory from your years as a student at MC?
Pheeeew that's tough. Lots of good memories! The first time I met Drew, the first time I was on stage, traveling to Ecuador on a Bonner Scholar trip, the opening of my thesis show, winning four conference tournaments, playing in the NCAA tournament....and a lot of really fun nights with my friends!
Complete this sentence: I’m glad Maryville College still...
… encourages their students to explore more than just their major. Some of my favorite classes weren't even a part of my major. It was completely unexpected!
Complete this sentence: My classmates may be surprised to learn...
...haven't played soccer in like three years! How sad is that? I'm itching to get back.