School of Drama Blog

Allyson Lee Brown in Fefu and Her Friends

Today kicks off our annual "Meet a ____" blog series. From now until the end of the school year, we will be introducing and celebrating our graduating students, looking back on the work they've done during their time here, and sharing their reflections and wisdom as they head off into the professional world. Later this month, we will start introducing you to some of our graduating BAs, designers, directors, and PhDs, but today, we're kicking off the series with graduating PATP actor Allyson Lee Brown.

Allyson Lee Brown / Photo by Danielle BarnumWhat do you know now that you didn’t know when you started this program? I know that I’m fully capable as an artist, and that everything that I need to succeed was already in me. But, you know, it’s a journey. You have to...

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2007 Production of West Side Story at the 5th Avenue Theatre / Photo by Chris Bennion

We are thrilled to share that David Armstrong, who recently stepped down as Executive Producer and Artistic Director of The 5th Avenue Theatre after 18 years in that position, will join our faculty this spring, teaching a brand new course: The Broadway Musical. The course is an historical and cultural study of the Broadway musical, examining how this uniquely American artform was predominantly created by outcasts from mainstream society. It surveys the evolution of Broadway musicals, including the mid-20th Century “Golden Age” and their current, 21st Century resurgence, and explores how musicals have both reflected and shaped American culture -- especially in regard to issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, social justice, and equality.


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Malika Oyetimein, Cassius Clay

Many members of the UW Drama family have been nominated for Gypsy Rose Lee Awards from Seattle Theater they all are!

  • PDTP alum Malika Oyetimein, Excellence in Direction of a Play for And in This Corner: Cassius Clay at SCT
  • Guest faculty Kelly Kitchens, Excellence in Direction of a Play for Hand to God at SPT
  • MFA Design alum Jennifer Zeyl, Excellence in Direction of a Play for Hir at ArtsWest
  • Faculty member Valerie Curtis-Newton, Excellence in Direction of a Musical for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill at ArtsWest
  • BA alum Brandon Ivie, Excellence in Direction of a Musical for The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes at Village Theatre
  • PATP alum André G. Brown, Excellence in Performance in a Play as a Lead Actor for And in This Corner: Cassius Clay at SCT...
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Romeo and Jules

This Spring, the School of Drama will present an original, gender-expansive* adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet called Romeo and Jules. We are excited to invite all members of the campus community to participate in this production, regardless of their level of experience with theatre. 

Auditions for will be held January 28th & 29th from 4 – 8 PM, and Wednesday January 30 from 10 – 11 AM, in Hutchinson Hall on the UW-Seattle campus. All UW students are invited to audition, regardless of acting experience or gender identity.

To learn more about this project and find out ways to be involved, visit our All About Romeo and Jules webpage. 

*WHAT DOES "GENDER EXPANSIVE" MEAN? One of the goals of this production is to, in the words of adapter/director Geoff Korf, "crack open the 'binary-assumed'...

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Yesenia Iglesias in A Christmas Carol

Yesenia Iglesias (PATP '14) has been working regularly in the Washington D.C. theatre scene since she graduated from the UW School of Drama. For the last two years she has appeared in Ford's Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol playing various roles in the ensemble. This year, Yesenia has been cast as Mrs. Cratchit, and is now the first woman of color to be playing this seminal character in Ford's Theatre's fifty year history. We talked with Yesenia about her experiences in the show, what playing Mrs. Cratchit means to her, and the importance of representation onstage. 

What has your experience working with Ford's Theatre on A Christmas Carol for the last two years been like?

YI: A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre was literally my first audition and the first gig I booked in D.C., so it holds a special place in my heart in regards to professional experiences. In the Beggar Woman/Mrs....

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Anaïs Gralpois is a senior Drama major here at UW Drama. 

I knew after attending the British American Drama Academy (BADA), I’d want to spread the word.

When I started applying to colleges, I knew I wanted to study abroad and I wanted to go to London. London is the epicenter of theatre. After Berlin, their government gives the most money to theatres. I chose to go to the University of Washington even though, unfortunately, it didn’t offer the program I wanted: a fall semester or quarter in London studying drama performance. So, I searched the internet for programs and came up with Sarah Lawrence’s British American Drama Academy program. It was exactly what I wanted, and I ended up taking a quarter off from UW to do the program. (I’m currently working with Eloise Boyle, our undergraduate advisor in the School of Drama, to get this program affiliated with our school so that it’s easier to go and come back without hassle. I received 22.5 credits for my semester...

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Aurora Valentinetti

University of Washington School of Drama faculty member emeritus Aurora Valentinetti is the 2018 recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Legacy Award, which recognizes UW teachers who inspired and influenced their students both in and out of the classroom. Professor Valentinetti, also known as "The Puppet Lady," taught puppetry at UW from 1942 until 1992. In addition to being on faculty, Professor Valentinetti is also an alumna of the School of Drama, earning her BA in 1943 and her MA in 1949. With the University of Washington Puppeteers, Valentinetti served as designer, production manager and performer from 1943 until 1948.  Each year this troupe presented a marionette show at the campus Showboat Theatre including such classics as “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” and “Rumplestiltskin.” Professor Valentinetti was born in West Seattle and has been a Seattilite all her life. 

Read about her enormous influence on generations of students in this article in ...

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Abby and Tabby Alone in the Desert Title Art

Last year we posted an interview with Jessica Martin, a 2008 BA alum, who at the time was writing, directing, producing, and acting in her first feature film, Abby and Tabby Alone in the Desert. Since then, the film has reached completion and can be streamed on Seed & Spark. Recently we talked with the Costume Designer for Abby and Tabby, Markie Hu, who is also an alumna of the UW School of Drama! 

BR: Hi Markie! Congrats on the release of Abby and Tabby Alone in the Desert. We are very excited for you and Jessica. Now, what was your path towards becoming a costume designer?

MH: Acting in my high school theater, I was always excited to find my characters through their costumes. When...

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Summer at UW

It's official! School is out for summer! But the students, faculty and staff are staying very busy during the next three months. Read on to learn more about what our School of Drama community will be doing this summer - and be sure to check out some of the productions featuring UW talent! 

Alyssa Franks (PATP Student) - Alyssa will be exploring the San Juan Islands this summer as she performs in Shakespeare's The Tempsest with Island Stage Left, along with fellow PATP student Xavier Bleuel. You can catch the show between July 11th and August 12th on Orcas, Shaw, Lopez, and San Juan. More information at Additionally, Alyssa will be participating in faculty member Cathy Madden's Alexander workshop in Friday Harbor! 

Holly Arsenault (BA Alum, Staff) - In addition to her position as Director of Engagement, Holly is an award-...

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Anything Goes / Lighting Design by Matt Webb / Photo by Alan Alabastro

From now until the end of the school year, we will be introducing and celebrating our graduating students, looking back on the work they've done during their time here, and sharing their reflections and wisdom as they head off into the professional world. Today, in our final installment of this series, we meet graduating MFA lighting designer Matt Webb! You can see some of Matt's work from his time here at UW in the slideshow above.

Matt Webb / Photo by Kyler MartinWhat do you know now that you didn’t know when you started this program?
Well, I know a heck of a lot more about Seattle’s theatre scene, and the way that a city can be integrated with a university theatre department. I really didn’t know anything at all about Seattle or...

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