The University of Waterloo is known as one of the top universities in Canada, especially for Math and Engineering. But few people realize that UWaterloo has a Department of Drama and Speech and Communication that also has a great reputation.
In high school, I knew I wanted to pursue theatre, and UWaterloo’s program appealed to me instantly because it offered a well-rounded approach that allowed students to explore all facets of the field, exposing students to many areas of theatre where they could build a career. Without knowing exactly in what direction of theatre I wanted to go, I took classes across the entire department including technical production, performance, theatre management, theatre history, and theatre criticism. Outside of coursework, I tried everything: I acted in shows, was a Stage Manager, a Line Producer, and I even traveled to Germany with one show on an exchange program!
While studying at UWaterloo, I became predominantly involved in original productions that were collaborative works, where a group of people created a piece of theatre as opposed to a single playwright composing a piece. The more I collaborated creatively with other classmates, the more I took on management roles such as stage managing and line producing. While learning a lot and still having a great time, I was developing valuable experiences in creative producing.
In 2006 I graduated with honors from UWaterloo with a BA in Arts as a Drama Major and Sociology Minor. At graduation, I received an award for Outstanding Commitment to Theatre Production. Knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in theatre, my time at UWaterloo helped me identify that my passion was in both the creation and management of theatre.
With graduation approaching, I sought out MBA programs that specialized in the Performing Arts. A professor connected me with a UWaterloo Alum who was in New York City studying Stage Management at Columbia University. Like UWaterloo, Columbia University has a well-known reputation: Columbia’s alumni includes 3 US Presidents, 43 Nobel Peace Prize winners, and 123 Pulitzer Prize winners. And much to the surprise of most people, Columbia University also has a theatre program! Columbia’s School of the Arts offers an MFA program in Theatre Management and Producing. The program offered courses in theatre Advertising, Budgeting, Producing, Law, and Marketing. However, the main differentiator between Columbia and other programs was that it was a theatre program at its core. It would allow me to take classes with directors and actors, ensuring that I stay involved on a creative level. Feeling confident with my course and hands-on experience from UWaterloo, I applied, and was accepted into the program along with eight other students. In August of 2006, I moved to New York City.
Fast forward to today where I work at one of Broadway’s top advertising agencies, Serino Coyne. I oversee the online media buying for some of my favorite Broadway shows including The Book of Mormon, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Jersey Boys, and many others.
The University of Waterloo truly shaped the path to where I am today. I apply lessons I learned at UWaterloo every day as I interact with the offices of New York’s largest and most successful Broadway shows. I also later discovered that I owed UWaterloo a large debt of gratitude. While I was at Columbia, I was told that I was selected for their graduate program because of my interest and experience in creative producing. I never would have been able to develop these skills without UWaterloo’s course offerings and well-balanced program. I am thankful for my experience at UWaterloo and I always jump at the opportunity to say that I am a UWaterloo graduate, and confidently add that I am a UWaterloo graduate - in Drama.