A Thirst for Theatre

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Austin Bouchard had no clue about a major or a career path when he auditioned for a University of Mary Washington theatre production before stepping foot on the Fredericksburg campus his freshman year. Now four years later, not only has the senior theatre major found direction as an actor, he’s directing his first full-length theatre production. It all began with that first audition. Bouchard had acted in high school and, on a whim, decided to submit an online audition for a production of Rent. He learned that he landed a lead role in the play shortly after he arrived at UMW. “I’d been in class for all of one day, and all of a sudden I’m in this huge production,” said Bouchard. Despite a successful performance, he put theatre on the backburner. He wanted to get a well-rounded experience at UMW, so he took a computer science class and soon declared it as his major. Then, an art class rekindled a love for oil painting, so he added a major in studio art. “The more you … [Read more...]

Coloring Outside the Lines

Photo by Leigh Williams '14

A bin of orange bouncy balls caught Sidney Mullis’ eye during a routine trip to Wal-Mart.  The University of Mary Washington studio art major snapped up a plastic ball and pondered the creative possibilities. She transformed the cheap childhood toy into wearable art that she later filmed for a performance art piece called “Straight.” The coming-of-age work earned her the Melchers Gray Purchase Award  at UMW’s annual student art exhibition in April, ensuring the work a place in UMW’s permanent art collection. Mullis, already an accomplished artist as a 2014 graduate, often traverses the line between art and theatre in her work. She isn’t afraid to take risks, and admits she doesn’t fit neatly into conventional categories. “I don’t really know where I sit in between the two [disciplines], and I’m actually happy about that,” she said. “I think there is something more interesting to me when I don’t know. I think that goes into my working process, too.” With “Straight” and … [Read more...]

Stage Presence

Nicholas McGovern '14 plays Melchior in "Spring Awakening."
Photo by Geoff Greene.

Nicholas McGovern ’14 never planned to major in theater at the University of Mary Washington. He never considered auditioning for a play and had no idea he had the talent to make it on stage. He didn’t realize that he could sing, let alone belt out a tune in front of hundreds or be accepted into a competitive summer acting school.  He never dreamed he would play a lead in the musical “Spring Awakening” at Klein Theatre. But, in a space of a year, it all happened. And it all started with baseball. Growing up in Springfield, Va., McGovern was surrounded by his sports-loving family. Between McGovern and his cousins, they covered all ranges of sports from ice hockey and lacrosse to cheerleading and collegiate sailing. McGovern swam, played football and baseball, for which he was recruited to play on the varsity team at UMW. Although he declared a major in business, McGovern took a theater class during his freshmen year to fill a general education requirement. In that … [Read more...]

Overseas Adventures

Bethany Farrell (left) is a Peace Corps volunteer in Bejaad, Morocco

Before Bethany Farrell was old enough to have a driver’s license or board a plane alone, she dreamed of discovering new cultures, helping others and traveling beyond her Williamsburg, Va., home. “When I ended up at [University of] Mary Washington, I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of people at Mary Washington choose the same path,” Farrell, a 2011 UMW graduate, said. Community service and a strong sense of civic responsibility are integral to the fabric of UMW. In fact, UMW ranks among the nation's top small universities for alumni serving in the Peace Coprs. Farrell, one of 21 alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps, is in the midst of a 22-month stint in Morocco as a youth development volunteer. While at Mary Washington, Farrell felt her dream grow and develop, both through her work as a theatre and political science double major and through experiences overseas. As a junior, she left the U.S. for the first time as part of the European Capitals summer study … [Read more...]

A Class Act

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On a mild Friday night in early October, Professor of Theatre Gregg Stull watched with keen eyes as a group of students worked through a scene of Steven Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” which opened in Klein Theatre Thursday, Nov. 1. The musical is a coming-of-age story featuring the fairytale characters most anyone will remember from childhood: Cinderella, the Baker and the Baker’s wife, Jack who traded his cow for some magic beans. But life is not a fairytale; a vengeful giant is on the loose and has already claimed a number of victims. Stull, the chair of the department and the director of the play, rose from his seat during a particularly poignant scene between a widowed Baker and Cinderella. But Stull wasn’t sure the pair was quite conveying that. He posed a couple of questions, told them to try again. He returned to his seat. “Good, good, good,” Stull said. It is a historic theater season at the University of Mary Washington. One hundred years ago, on Dec. 16, 1912, … [Read more...]