Today a group of young theater artists are gathered on the fourth floor of Boston University’s College of Fine arts about to audition for the School of Theater. They are nervous and excited and right at the precipice into their journey as theatre artists.
I had the pleasure this summer of working at Boston University’s Summer Theater Institute, which gave about 64 high schoolers the opportunity to spend five weeks in a fully immersive college training program. I met the most amazing students with such a passion for learning and creating. These kids, whether they wanted to pursue theatre as a career or not, threw themselves into everything they did. They surprised themselves and came at each task with an unfiltered love of theatre. This summer was transformative for me in that I was able to reconnect with my personal love for theater and my love of teaching. I remembered how exciting being on stage was! The lights, the costumes, crying in a circle after the show and hugging in each other’s sweat. This was the theater I fell in love with. The moments that cracked open who I thought I was and allowed me to be something greater. As I moved into college the love affair got complicated. Real life settled in: complications, biases, the reality of who I was, and who the theatre was and where we might not intersect. The love never died, it was expanded and challenged and deepened and at many times, tested. But being back with those early moments of love this summer allowed me to find that passion again. That spark.
Many of my BUSTI students are here today auditioning. One came up to me and asked how her semester has been replied, “really stressful and busy. I just had to come back to BU and be here. I needed this community more than anything.”
This community is so palpable and inspiring. I look at the students auditioning and am so excited for them to find the community that is such an integral part of coming to college for theatre. It’s a safe place to explore your relationship with theatre. To learn more than you ever thought possible about yourself and the world.
A BFA is a big step. It’s like sharing an apartment. Taking the next step to find out how to fit your lives together. It’s scary and exciting and an experience like no other.
I want, more than anything, for these high schoolers not to lose that. Not to get caught up in work and money and parties and have rehearsal feel like a chore. Continue to find the ways to go on a date with theatre. To spark that love. This passion is pretty much all there is to go on. Everything else is up in the air. Be young and bold. When it all becomes too much, just look for the love.