School of Drama Blog

Shaudi Vahdat (BA '12)

Before graduating with her BA from the School of Drama back in 2012, Shaudi took full advantage of her time at UW. Along with acting in several UTS production, Shaudi was the creator of Feast Your Ears, a curated night of musical performances that benefited Northwest Harvest, and directed Working, The Musical in her senior year. Since graduating she has performed with companies like Washington Ensemble Theatre and Book-It Repertory Theatre among others, and is also a founding member of The Horse in Motion. Through her projects with The Horse in Motion, she has learned the delicate balance between being an actor and a producer at the same time. 

How did you get involved with The Horse in Motion? 

SV: About a year or so after I graduated from UW, one of my former classmates, Mary Hubert, got in touch saying there was a cool script that a...

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2016-2017 UTS Executive Board

Calling all UTS Alumni!

I am so proud to announce that this season is the Undergraduate Theater Society’s 20th Anniversary, and in honor of this momentous year, we will be throwing an Alumni Fundraiser Gala on Saturday May 6th. This evening is to honor the important contributions all of our members, past and present, have made to UTS, dance and revel in the nostalgia of our memories, and announce our 2017-2018 season. We invite all alumni to come celebrate 20 incredible years of UTS history with us!

For me, this night is extremely exciting because our current students, including myself, will get a chance to meet our alumni, the drama geeks who walked the halls before us. UTS is an ever-changing entity comprised of students who did one show or workshop, to those who spent more time in the Cabaret Theater than they did in their college dorm room. Whether you are part of the former or the latter (or somewhere in between) we would love for you to...

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Jessica Martin (BA '08)

In spring of 2008, Jessica Martin was getting ready to graduate with her Bachelor’s Degree from the School of Drama. But before she left the halls of Hutchinson, she wanted to try her hand at one more thing: producing. She spent her last couple of months in undergrad organizing, rehearsing, and performing a one-woman show in collaboration with peers and faculty at the School of Drama. Now, almost ten years later, Jessica is in the processes of writing, directing, producing, and acting in her first feature film. We asked Jessica a couple of questions about her upcoming project, Abby and Tabby: Alone in the Desert, and her journey as an artist and entrepreneur. 

BR: Can you tell us a little bit about the story of Abby and Tabby: Alone in the Desert

JM: At its heart, it is a story about the power of female friendship. It's also a weird little comedy. The film starts with Abby on the road escaping her abusive...

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Monica Cortes Viharo, Ph.D. Student at the School of Drama

Ph.D. student Monica Cortes Viharo was recently awarded a $8,500 Mellon scholarship from the Simpson Center to do a resarch porject that engages the public in the sphere of storytelling and performance. Over the next year she will be collaborating with Sara Freeman, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at University of Puget Sound (UPS) in Tacoma, on a Performance Walk  project. This event will have a self-guided tour that takes participants around Tacoma as they learn more about the Civil Rights Movement in the Pacific Northwest. They will also be presenting their resaerch at the Race and Pedgogy conference at UPS in Fall of 2018. We sat down with Monica to learn a little bit more about the origins of this project. 

BR: Can you tell me a little bit about this project? Where did your inspiration come from?

MCV: The inspiration came from three places,...

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Tim Bond

We are so excited to welcome back Tim Bond who received his MFA in Directing from the School of Drama in 1983. He has now returned to be on the UW School of Drama faculty as a professor of Acting and Directing. We sat down with Tim to learn a little bit about what he has been doing in the meantime, and what's he has observed in his time back here. 

BR: How was your first quarter? How are you settling back into Seattle and back into the School of Drama? 

TB: I love being back in Seattle, but it’s a very different city from when I was here. Both in terms of how the city feels, how people travel through it, and what it looks like. Many of my favorite landmarks are gone. I’ve been back and forth for the last twenty years, and in that time, Seattle has gone through a major shift. The theatre ecology is entirely changed. So I am still getting to know it, and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of getting to know what Seattle theatre...

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Richard Nguyen Sloniker in The Trojan Women

Faculty member L. Zane Jones' local theatre company, CIVIC REP, is currently running a production of The Trojan Women, by Caroline Bird. This radical retelling of Euripides' Greek classic is bursting with UW talent, including direction by Leah Adcock-Starr, performances by L. Zane Jones, Anna LaMadrid, Ray Tagavilla, and Richard Nguyen Sloniker, and design by Julia Welch. We sat down and chatted about the project with PATP '09 alumnus, Richard Nguyen Sloniker.

BR: Can you tell us a little bit about this play? 

RNS: Trojan Women is a contemporary re-telling of the Euripides epic by the talented Caroline Bird. What I really enjoy about Ms. Bird's text is her use of language. It's not overly poetic but it does have a lyrical quality that makes her words easy to speak, the text rolls out of your mouth like a beautiful song, even though what the characters are saying is quite, quite grim. The language she's...

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Bridget Connors Headshot

We are so excited to be welcoming Bridget Connors into our School of Drama community. Read the interview below to learn more about Professor Connors and her unique take on the education of voice and dialects! 

BR: Hi Bridget! Can you tell me a little bit about how you came to the UW? 

BC: Before coming to the University of Washington I was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I taught at Point Park University for ten years.  As Head of the Voice and Movement Program I taught voice, speech, dialects, language and acting.  I have always admired the program here at the University of Washington and it’s outstanding reputation. When I became aware that my friend Judy Shahn was going to retire, leaving an opening  at the UW School of Drama,  I believed the position as voice teacher would be a good match for my personal and professional life and my teaching career. I was ready for a new chapter in my life, helping me to grow both as a teacher and as an actor. I was...

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Julia Sears

When the world is too much I turn to art. The only thing that has made sense to me of late has been to use my art form to process, explore, and probe relevant social issues that impact myself and my community. The theatre I make shows an audience a real life situation expressed in a metaphorical or fantastical way. By interrogating difficult issues in captivating heightened moments of performance I invite audiences into a conversation that otherwise may be too fraught to tackle. I hope these conversations spark the difficult questions that allow us to productively reflect on our endlessly fascinating, endlessly flawed world.

I have the unique privilege of being a director, which means I often get to choose what kind of theatre I make. I am currently in development for a project called We Cry Havoc a devised physical theatre piece created by a group of civilian and veteran artists. The play...

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Isabel Martin in Scotland

by Isabel Martin

Almost one year ago now, I asked Professor Andrew Tsao when applications for the School of Drama’s summer study abroad expedition would be posted. As a freshman, I’d heard rumors about a magical trip undertaken by UW drama students to Edinburgh, Scotland, where the international festivals took place. There  these students  gorged themselves on theatre for a month, and I was determined to experience this first hand. Unfortunately, Professor Tsao  replied, the program wouldn’t be going ahead this year as he wasn’t available to lead it due to other commitments and student interest had slackened in recent years. Probably somewhat belligerently, I asked what could be done to make the program happen and he doubtfully suggested I find out if there were any other interested students. 

As it turned out, there were. A whiteboard full of signatures, a petition to the Dean, a small mountain of...

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From Judy Shahn:

I have crossed the threshold. I am now officially retired from the School of Drama after 26 years. Actually, “retired” isn’t really accurate. As some wise friends coined it, I am “L.A.” (Leaving Academia).

If you know the School of Drama, you know Sue Bruns. Sue is the Graduate Programs Advisor and lucky for us, she can advise on many other things we need on a daily basis. Evidently, she added up that I have taught 251 actors during my time in the PATP (Professional Actor Training Program)! Here are some of the things I look back on:

  • Over the years, besides teaching the graduate actors, I had the pleasure of occasionally teaching undergrad classes in Voice, Shakespeare, and Dialects.
  • I was a guest lecturer for Drama 101. Since I don’t lecture, I remember getting the room of 250 students to do text from Greek plays in a chorus!
  • I directed six productions: a Noel Coward, two contemporary...
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