Life After Theatre

Amos Johnson
By Amos Johnson January 26, 2018 12:43

Joey McDonough and Katie Manuel perform in St. Clair College’s The Pajama Game at the Chrysler Theatre (Photo credit: Knelsen Photo).

By Amos Johnson & Justin Crouch

The theatre industry can be very competitive and many students face challenges finding work in the industry after graduation. For some, this means they may have to leave their theatre dream behind.

“[Doing theatre] helped me most with just being a more social person and opening up to people,” said Michael Scussolin, 27, a graduate of dramatic arts from the University of Windsor.

“In the theatre profession you kind of have to be able to open up to new things and new ideas and being able to let yourself be out there a little bit more.”

Scussolin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in dramatic arts. He currently works at Chrysler and does not see himself going back to theatre.

“I had always been interested in theatre because that was what I was really good at in high school. So, when it came time to pick what I wanted to do for my schooling at the university, I decided to go into theatre,” said Scussolin.

“Leading into that (a career) was like ‘okay, if anything, I can use this as a teachable skill to go to teachers college afterwards.’”

Scussolin moved to China for 14 months to teach English in a city called Zushi. While he does not see himself going back to theatre for a career, Scussolin said teaching theatre is always a possibility.

The craft of acting and drama can be used as an education tool to help students better themselves, according to Meaghen Quinn who teaches several classes using this method at the University of Windsor.

“What people often miss is they think that drama is just about the stage, but we also use it as a learning tool,” said Quinn.

“If you’re nervous speaking in front of people, you have to remember that the actor has weeks of rehearsal and that’s why they can do it. Sometimes people think it’s something you’re born with. You can learn the technique of acting.”

Not only does Quinn teach drama to theatre students, she has also introduced drama and acting into the lives of business students as a way to build their confidence both physically and vocally. Her style of teaching works through bringing dramatic elements to a topic, creating a memorable experience for the students.

Joey McDonough, 21, is a graduate of the music theatre performance program at St. Clair College and has been working in shows non-stop since he graduated in April 2017.

“I’m specifically a theatre actor. Film is definitely something I am exploring, essentially it is the same thing in film but for me it is just a different level of intensity,” said McDonough.

“I’m very big with all of my actions and my intentions of movement but for film everything is brought down. It’s two different styles [of acting] but it’s all the same thing.”

McDonough started in theatre when he was eight years old, later performing in high school and eventually joining the St. Clair College program. McDonough recommends the college program to anyone pursuing acting in Windsor and said he would not be as successful as he is today without it.

“I’ve been extremely happy with who I am and I haven’t looked back at all,” said McDonough.

Theatre is a vast occupation with many career choices, making it flexible for graduates fresh out of their chosen acting program.

Amos Johnson
By Amos Johnson January 26, 2018 12:43

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