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What Our Graduates Say

What Our Graduates Say


“Over the course of the last nineteen years I've worked in the motion picture industry, television and publishing in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and San Diego. I can honestly say that what I learned in the Theatre Department has been of incalculable value. The connections that I made there with like-minded people who are passionate about the arts, as well as the guidance received from instructors in everything from esthetics to communication, have not only helped me secure gainful employment but have also helped me better enjoy and appreciate the things life has to offer.

Far too often I encounter people in the workplace that have gone to universities with reputations for excellence that surpass EKU's and yet they lack some of the most basic skills for success. It's shocking to see people whose enthusiasm for creative endeavor is deadened by a cynicism that was obviously taught to them... I find myself grateful that I was instructed by people who, as well as having a deep understanding of their discipline, also possessed an almost childlike sense of wonder and never did anything to suppress that in me. ”

Charles Lister, Class of 1990
Production Department, Kentucky Educational Television


“EKU is all about opportunities. With focused professors, small class sizes and productions that cater to all types of actors, I found myself constantly learning and growing as both a performer and a person. I learned so much during my time in school. Without EKU, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Peyton Conley, Class of 2009
MFA Acting student, University of Alabama


“When I got to Eastern, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in theatre, but was unsure about which specific area. The greatest gift from my education was the exposure to every aspect of our art. The first-rate faculty taught me acting, directing, stagecraft, makeup, voice, and dance. During my senior year, I discovered the path of stage management and have been fortunate to work professionally in the theatre for 20 years. I can't imagine a better place to have started lifelong learning that at EKU.”

Kimberly J. First, Class of 1990
Equity Stage Manager, Actors Theatre of Louisville


“The small class sizes enabled me to get the personalized training needed to excel in acting. I was pushed to challenge my problem areas while putting the finishing touches on my strengths. There was no hierarchy in place stopping me from auditioning for, and landing parts in, shows as early as my freshman year at EKU. That immediate, hands-on experience was very helpful. Theatre training is all about what you, the actor, are willing to put into it. If your talent is matched by a drive to be successful, then you need to check out this program.”

Josh Woodie, Class of 2008
Actor/Singer/Dancer, NYC

“I was a Clothing Construction and Design major, and worked in the costume shop from my sophomore year on. I just cannot say enough about everyone involved with the EKU Theatre program. I was offered wonderful design opportunities, which proved invaluable once I had graduated and entered into the work force. I've worked as a designer for the majority of my adult life, and I owe it all to the outstanding guidance I received at EKU! Thank you!!!”

Tonya Hively Sisson, Class of 1987
Designer, Cincinnati

“I owe a lot of my career to the training I received as a student in the EKU Theatre Degree program. As a working theatre professional – performer, writer, teacher, director, and producer, my skills were honed under the guidance of the EKU theater faculty, and although I was already working professionally before coming into the program, the additional skills I learned took my career to a whole new level! The great thing about EKU is that it is a mid-size school. In many larger programs lead roles are reserved for grad students. This is not the case at EKU. An undergraduate can come into the program and actually be cast in productions, but still have enough competition to stay razor sharp. Class work, practicum and studio training are great, but nothing beats real world stage-time and that is something you will get at EKU.”

John B. Pyka, Class of 1994
John Pyka Productions

“While Eastern's theatre department isn't huge, it still has a lot to offer its students. Many schools with larger departments require students to wait before performing in or working backstage on shows. At Eastern I had the opportunity to work on every show performed during my college career. I directed two short plays, stage managed, assistant stage managed, worked tech, acted, and learned more about theatre and about myself in the four years I was at Eastern than I imagined. I also made a lot of very close friends in the department that I will never forget!”

Brenda Waybrant, Class of 2008
Currently relocating to NYC

“I am who I want to be. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, a volunteer, and yes, an entertainer. All of my college courses provided a foundation of all I do in my world. I can sew curtains for my house, clothes for dogs and dolls, bed skirts, props or costumes for community theatre. I can build platforms, flats, fix dog houses and handle power drills to put hurricane plywood on my home. I’ve been paid to teach make-up courses to children and adults, and have won several Halloween costume awards. I can sing, act and even dance my way into paid performance events and shows! I am comfortable and confident in a class room, in a board room, and in planning and leading a convention. I love theatre, want to write plays, want to inspire, and want to direct and to perform. I sincerely appreciate my teachers, my friends, and my college. Any student that calls the Campus Beautiful their home for four (or sometimes five years) is lucky. There are many theatres on campus and many opportunities to create and lead. I encourage any high school student to visit EKU. Attend Foster Music Camp, sit in on some courses, walk the campus, view the art, check out the dorms, and see a play. Go back stage and see the smiles on the faces of the student cast, crew and musicians. Watch their parent’s eyes light up when they congratulate their kid on a knock-out performance! EKU is full of sweet memories that I share and use each day of my adult life. I hope my children have similar wonderful learning experiences in their college lives.”

Jennifer Starr Tennant, Class of 1990

“As a non-theater major, I was openly welcomed into the experience of studying the acting craft through both classes and stage productions. That immersion included such a thoughtful exploration into the words used by some of the world's most influential playwrights that it continues to inform my work as a newspaper arts and entertainment writer 17 years after my last turn on the Gifford Theatre stage.”

Jeremy D. Bonfiglio, Class of 1992

“I auditioned for my first musical production Sweet Charity in 1994. I was given a chorus role and I was thrilled. I just wanted to be a part of this wonderful department. It was a unbelievable experience. I went on to take many theatre and dance classes through my college years; I worked with amazing directors that spent time speaking to me about my future career in this field which was a keystone to my success over the years. The EKU Theatre Department led me to auditions and roles elsewhere. I went on to perform for Opryland Productions in Colorado, Tennessee and South Carolina, The country group Alabama, and I traveled the world, visiting all seven continents on Holland America Line as a lead performer in their productions. EKU Theater Department helped shape my career as an entertainer and I have had many years of success because of it.”

Stephanie Miller Claydon, Class of 1996
Entertainer, Las Vegas

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