Currently studying towards MFA in Theatre: Contemporary Performance at Naropa University in Colorado.
Pine Manor College, Double Major in English and Theatre
Classical High School, Providence, RI
Life After Graduation:
At Naropa, Kate is part of a cohort of eight students in one of the top programs in the country. Kate’s future career aspirations are to “make theatre and to write as a literary and dramatic critic.”
How PMC Helped Me
Kate attended Pine Manor because it “was a small women’s college, which was the community I sought. I fell in love with the faculty, and the campus immediately. Meeting Dean Chester, and getting a hand written acceptance letter, showed me that the college deeply cared about me on an intimate personal level.”
Pine Manor’s Liberal Arts focus “was imperative and life changing. I never got the privilege to learn about so many important women in science, literature and everything else. It was through discovering women in literature with Professor Ponder, and then seeing how applicable it was to my other courses and my critical thinking; I’m unsure as to what I would do without it. As an actor, having a breadth of knowledge, visual art, dance, science, movement, art history, all shaped my performance, and myself. Theatre is inherently about making connections, and thus, I was able to see so much more in my own world. Because of the diversity of my program, I got to go to one of the top graduate schools in my field. My internship connected me with an adjunct faculty member at my current university, as well as a whole new way of making theatre. I’m so thankful to have that opportunity.”
“Melinda Ponder is my heroine. Carole Rabe is the voice in my head when I paint. Sharon Montella’s spirit is with me in every dance class I am in. Emma Dassori’s patience and diligence shaped me as a director and an actor. Emma’s approach to theatre is actually what has helped prepare me for graduate school. She teaches working with an ensemble like no one else, and her passion and space for self-exploration has shaped the way I work and make art with others. Sharon’s dance classes have taught me professionalism, and what it means to be a real working dancer, my form, stage presence and training improves so much. Professor Ponder, gave me the power my words had, and taught me to shape it. She also selects such important literature that being able to discuss these books and think critically has expounded my world view as well as my theatre making.”
Emma Dassori, Assistant Professor of Drama, remembers Kate’s hard work and motivation, “I worked with Kate in several capacities: as her director, professor, and academic advisor for her major in Theatre. I witnessed the determination and drive with which Kate embraced her journey at the College, pushing herself to grow and deepening her experience,and the great success she accordingly enjoyed.”
“For her senior thesis, Kate performed the role of Bottom in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Kate was dedicated in her approach to the process, researching the role, performing in-depth analysis, seeking to understand and interpret the character for herself. The result was a highly intricate, personal, and thoroughly enjoyable portrayal; it was a great achievement for her and was met with highest accolades from the Pine Manor community,” recalls Professor Dassori.
As a double major, Kate completed two senior internships. One internship was helping to direct our on campus Theater performance, while the other was working with “the Actor’s Shakespeare Project on a production of “The Cherry Orchard.” First of all, I got to work with Marya Lowry, who is a Roy Hart Voice Teacher, which is now what I want to devote my life to, I also got a taste of what my graduate program would be like. I was able to stage manage, and learn a job I was good at that I hadn’t tried before…I got to explore the relationship of how someone could be both an academic and an artist which is what I want to do.”
Kate found her experience at PMC both rewarding and challenging, and credits the dedicated and talented faculty with helping her achieve her goals, “All of these people challenged me not only academically, but PERSONALLY. They made me want to do more. When they set a bar, I wanted to raise it.”
Melinda Ponder, Professor of English and Kate’s advisor recalls Kate as, “a student ready to take full advantage of every minute of college. Intelligent, passionate about learning and discussing ideas, intellectually curious and able to engage others with her love of literature, she was an original thinker and problem solver, interested in applying theory to analyzing literature and bringing it to life for others. She enthralled my classes in her oral reports and comments with her enthusiasm, knowledge, and humor. She was an ideal student because she was so open to learning all she could about writers. She wrote her English Assessment paper (the capstone project for English majors) in my course, Women and Detective Fiction, an interdisciplinary course organized around theories of psychology. Challenging traditional ideas about male detectives, she showed how two women writers have opened up the traditional genre of detective fiction to create a new genre that deals with social and cultural issues, especially women’s issues. In this paper, Kate successfully created an original piece of scholarship based on her own persuasive theories and examples.”
Kate would also recommend PMC to others because “It’s a small environment that’s need based. Honestly, coming out into the world after attending Pine Manor is a cruel shock, because I was so spoiled by how much people actually cared about me. I would say this is a place where it’s what you make it. There is an invitation to shine, and your light becomes contagious in a wonderful small community. It’s diverse, challenging, and sometimes can feel isolating, but it will also be the most powerful experience that you will ever have in your life. Even in graduate school, where I see the same eight people every day, we don’t have the same bond or sense of kinship that you will here. You can get the attention and customization that you want depending on your program, which I think is a huge advantage.”