Life after Dawson’s Professional Theatre Program: Blue Stockings Review
By Chelsea Moore
The Professional Theatre Program at Dawson is a rigorous three year program that trains students in conservatory style, improvision, voice, movement and stage combat. The department helps prepare graduates for the world of professional acting by helping them develop a diverse set of skills.
“It’s intense, you can sometimes have thirteen hour days,” says Christohper De Varennes, a recent graduate from the program.“You are in class all day and then rehearsing for your performances afterwards,” he continues, explaining that the program is physically and emotionally demanding but ultimately “worth it”.
“Because you’re always with the same people and working so closely with them, you build a strong community,” Christopher points out while reflecting on his time at Dawson. “The first three years after you graduate are the hardest,” says Christopher, “you don’t have the same close community, you have to find your own auditions after being used to always having a role in the school plays.” The lack of work can be frustrating for graduates.
While recognizing the difficulty that students face post-graduation, Dawson created a course titled, “Managing Your Career”. This teaches students to properly market themselves, and understand their roles as actors in an increasingly professional setting. This is something Chloé Bilodeau, a classmate of Christopher, is very passionate about.
“It’s important as a young actor to know your rights,” she says, “you have to know how to protect yourself.”
Chloé also puts an emphasis on “making connections while you’re still in school, because it all comes down to who you know.”
While invested in other projects, Christopher and Chloé had the opportunity of working together, playing prominent roles in Blue Stockings; a play directed by Gabrielle Soskin and written by Olivier Award-winning playwright Jessica Swale. It addresses the expectations and liberation of women within the scholarly world. With its rich script and philosophical undertones being passionately delivered, the audience could not help but be immersed in the action of the play. The interactions between the characters were undeniably genuine, and thanks to their time at Dawson, the chemistry between Chloé and Christopher was evident.
The play illustrates the ongoing generational struggle between liberation, modernity and tradition that is threaded throughout feminist movements. To be a part of this dynamic and engaging play, would be an incredible opportunity for any Dawson Theatre graduate.
The world of professional acting can be difficult, but Dawson’s theatre program surrounds students with experienced professors and courses that help them prepare for it, leading to roles in plays like Blue Stockings.