The 2019 cohort for Southern Oregon University’s bachelor of fine arts in performance program will get more than degrees after completing their requirements last month. All 16 members of the BFA program performed a thesis showcase in December, first on the SOU campus and then at the historic Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica, California.
And all 16 have secured internships at either the Oregon Shakespeare Festival or the Oregon Cabaret Theatre.
“Performing our thesis showcase in L.A. was a peek into the work it takes to put on your own show and let people see it,” said Taya Dixon, one of the actors who participated in the performance. “I now feel better prepared to produce my own art in a place like L.A., which makes me excited and more at ease to jump into the professional world.”
Jackie Apodaca, the head of performance for SOU’s Theatre’ program, redesigned the BFA-performance program’s thesis requirement several years ago. In place of a thesis paper, students now work collaboratively to create an industry-style acting showcase for a local audience.
This year, Apodaca led the senior BFA cohort – who call themselves the “Frenzies” – on the trip to Southern California, where they performed for friends, family, alumni and industry guests.
In addition to booking the performance at Miles Memorial Playhouse, Apodaca was able to help the Frenzies find local internships and fellowships with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Oregon Cabaret Theatre. Both have close relationships with the SOU Theatre program.
“We often place every BFA student in a professional internship upon graduation,” Apodaca said. “It’s exciting to know our graduates are consistently going straight into the profession. This success distinguishes us from many regional undergraduate programs that offer, frankly, less for more.”
The BFA is a pre-professional degree with a declared area of emphasis in either performance, design, technology or management/direction. Admission into the BFA program is through audition, interview, and/or portfolio presentation, and requires two years in residence and acceptance into an undergraduate theatre major. For more information about audition/interview guidelines and dates, you can contact the Theatre Office.
“I’m so excited for the opportunity to work for a professional theatre company right out of college,” said Annie Murrell, another member of the Frenzies. “Especially one with as renowned a reputation as the Cabaret. I feel prepared for life as a working actor in a way I never could have without receiving a formal education in theatre and performance.”
The full 2019 BFA cohort – the Frenzies – are Austin Ewing, Quinci Lytle-Freeman, Hunter Sims-Douglas, Wren Eustis, Taya Dixon, Bucanan Howard, Lauren Taylor, Carlos-Zenen Trujillo, Galen James-Heskett, Annie Murrell, Sam Campbell, Rachel Routh, Angela Hernandez, Sean Boulton, Meghan Nealon and Corey Renfree.
Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer