The benefits of being involved with theatre arts at the college level, in the words of Stonehill alumni.
Katherine Staiti, Executive Director, Operatunity Performing Arts Center
"I really can't say enough positive things about the enormous impact my theatre arts training at Stonehill has had on my life: both career and personal. I work as Executive Director for the Operatunity Performing Arts Center, a nonprofit organization offering classes in music, drama, and dance, where I also teach an "Introduction to Acting" course. I am also a member of The F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company executive board, where I have the privilege of taking part in several productions a year alongside some of my best friends - friends I met by joining the Stonehill Theatre Company."
Amy Caffazo, Spokesperson, Marshall's
"Without the experiences I had being part of STC- as a performer, assistant stage manager, props master, and member of the Executive Board - I would not have the confidence or qualifications to continue a career in the arts, and I imagine I also would not have the enthusiasm.
"Because I did not enter college as a theater major, I was convinced I wouldn't have the opportunity to pursue theater past high school. STC gave me the chance to keep theater in my life - and helped me realize that it's where my true passion lies.
"As a spokesperson, I'm constantly using my theatrical background. I represent Marshalls stores across the country as a fashion and home style expert for print, radio, and TV interviews. Being on live television is just like being on stage: completely nerve-wracking until you remember your lines and get into the groove. In addition, I still act with community theatres."
Tim Kelly, Firefighter/EMT & Teacher
"After leaving Stonehill I taught special needs students for almost 10 years. Every time you teach a class you are "performing". Now I am a Professional Firefighter/EMT. I teach Firefighters and EMT's. I could not survive in a room of firefighters without entertaining them as I teach. Many of my "entertaining" skills were learned as a Theatre Arts student at Stonehill. That training has paid off as often as I "perform" for a new class. I think a room of Veteran firefighters is a harder crowd than any crowd I performed for during my years at Stonehill."
Jeanine Weiss, Teacher
"Currently I am beginning my second year teaching 7th grade English at Gibbons Middle School in Westborough and I always felt that having a background in theater was a big boost to my confidence level when it came to speaking in front of people, especially parents!!
"A lot of what teachers do feels like performing most of the time, especially in middle school where if you don't put on a "good show" they just won't get it, so I was always thankful to STC because the experiences I had in the company made me a better teacher.
"Also, this year I am teaching a drama elective class to 8th graders and just today we talked about Greek Theater and I made a specific point of mentioning Euripides and "The Bacchae," (which by the way they were totally thrilled/grossed out by).
"Finally, I have been asked this year to direct their fall play! I must admit I'm slightly petrified about stepping into the director's chair for the first time but having stage managed three STC shows I was confident enough to accept the responsibility and I'm really excited about it. None of these things would have been possible were it not for STC and without it I would have become a completely different person."
Mark McCarthy, Director for Training, Deluxe Corporation
"I had the opportunity to minor in Theatre Arts and perform in more than a dozen different productions at Stonehill before graduating in 1987. I have spent the last 20 years in a variety of business leadership positions in Sales and Sales Management, Customer Service Leadership, Call Center Leadership, Training, Marketing and now in my current role as Director for Training at Deluxe Corp, (a billion dollar company with nearly 10,000 employees). I would not be nearly as effective today if I did not have the coursework and drama experience associated with Theatre Arts at Stonehill College.
"Success in business is really about your ability to "sell" something; whether it is a product, a service, a vision or a belief. Selling is very much about storytelling and bringing a person or group along a certain path to where you want to take them. Theater arts classes teach you how to tell a story, how to bring an "audience" along, how to evoke feelings and passions around pretty much anything. To this day, a theatre background in school or elsewhere almost guarantees you an interview when looking for a sales job. That background shows you have the capacity to capture and maintain the interest of your customer or client."
Jeanine Kane, Actor
"I am currently working as an actor at the Gamm Theatre in "The Elephant Man" and will be Mrs. Cratchit in Trinity Rep's "A Christmas Carol" in November and December. I also teach acting, Intro to Theatre and voice at Massasoit. I think one thing I took away from my time at STC is the sense of professionalism instilled in all involved in putting up a production. I learned (sometimes the hard way!) that discipline is extremely important as a performer, and solid preparation and a willingness to work very hard is necessary to create a strong performance. I came to the theatre because it would be fun, but came away with the knowledge that it will be fun as long as you put in the time and work hard."
Heather Boucher, Theatre Arts Educator
"I graduated from Stonehill in 2003 as an elementary education major and theatre arts minor. Upon graduation I accepted a position as a theatre arts educator and continued my work with a non-profit theatre arts group.
First, the friends and family I made at Stonehill helped me to pursue a career in the arts. As I began my life 'after Stonehill' I used a great deal of the technical and life skills that I learned while working in the theatre department. I found myself working on three and four shows at a time and it took the extreme organization and discipline I learned from the department to complete these tasks.
The department taught me to research and investigate and to take pride in quality and authenticity. Although I am no longer involved with these theatre arts groups, I am now teaching Kindergarten and continue to use my theatre arts background each and every day. Whether it be creating and presenting a new unit, or using drama activities to make the academics come to life, the arts have left a profound impact on my life. And although I never aspired to be an actress, I am on stage, performing for my Kindergartners on a daily basis and loving it."
Christina Jagielski, Science Teacher
"I graduated in May 2005. Though heavily involved with STC I was a biology major with a secondary education minor. In my four years at Stonehill I worked on all eight main stage productions, several student-directed plays, as well as designing and running lights for the Dance Club's Fall and Spring Productions and for two short years helping out the Musical Theatre Club in the same capacity.
During my run with STC I started as a set builder and moved into becoming first a student electrician/light board operator and then a student light designer. I balanced my passion for lights with an equal desire to stage mange and did so for four main stage productions. The freshman and senior year the productions that I stage-managed both went to American College Theatre Festival (ACTF).
Around campus, STC is known for its slightly odd and thought-provoking plays. However, what few realize about being involved in theatre arts is that lessons are learned not only by memorizing lines but in being part of a family and a semi-professional theatrical group.
I was never on the stage when the curtain was up and the house full of spectators; however that does not diminish the wealth of knowledge that I took from my time with STC and apply in my classroom every day.
I teach seventh grade science now in Northborough, MA. Everyday, I don my costume and my makeup and I step into the hot glow of the lights. I was told after my last observation: 'You have a great attitude and stance in front of the class, showing great poise and engagement.
You're always quick on your feet both mentally and physically, which allows to the perception of never losing your cool. You engage your students in not only the lesson at hand but the story of the whole picture.' For this glowing praise I could thank the prep work that I received from my student teaching and the secondary education department, but in truth I learned it from Dr. Patricia Sankus and STC.
Knowing that I am the only one who knows the script in the classroom allows for me to play my role as teacher however I want as long as I sell it to the audience as being real. 'Make bold choices, but make them real, sell it to the audience.' Those words of Dr. Sankus transcend into the classroom where I have learned that in teaching it is a one woman show. I am there not only to direct and teach my students, but to create the enthusiasm needed for science. Instead of being the blasé teacher who stands in front of the room, I place my enthusiasm on stage hoping to capture my students' attention in the world I create.
STC was amazing in its ability to effortlessly force me to grow. I never knew how much STC had taught me until I was on my own and found that I had no reason to worry about standing in front of an audience, for theatre arts has given me the tools and techniques to start me on the path of becoming an excellent teacher."
Jennifer Carli, Development Coordinator of the Annual Fund Campaigns, Boston Lyric Opera
"I graduated from Stonehill in 2002. I am currently employed as Development Coordinator of the Annual Fund campaigns at Boston Lyric Opera. I would definitely say that my time on stage has helped me speak in front of large crowds. The improvisation classes I took at Stonehill "prepped me" to handle the unexpected and think creatively in high pressure/stressful situations. Also, working as the Publicity Coordinator for STC gave me invaluable experience in the art of persuasion!"