Class of 2018

Photo of Connor Courtney

Connor Courtney

Stationed in Virginia Beach and is training to be a Cryptologic Warfare Officer for the United States military.

“I was the stage manager for a musical called Hair and it was really my first time stage managing. It was getting thrown into the pan. It was a huge show with a huge cast and had huge light and sound requirements. For a new stage manager, this is a very big point of stress. It’s a lot of getting thrown into that situation of not knowing. Kind of figuring it out as I went along. I remember the night we finally finished tech and we were going through the light cues for the first time altogether. I remember the opening lights coming up and there’s this one special light cue where there’s a bottle hanging from the ceiling with lights up slowly as an actor is raised and touching that light. I remember sitting in the booth and having this moment where the perception of “where I had come to where I was now.” We had just finished tech, this beautiful moment is happening onstage and I had come to where I was without knowing anything. Getting thrown into this situation and becoming apart of something that was beautiful and meaningful. It was a really beautiful and small moment.”

“Coming in as a junior officer, you’re not expected to be an expert on what you do. In fact, you probably never will be. But, you’re expected to come in with confidence, come in willing to learn and grow, and then eventually, you get to have those moments again where you’re just working on something and then you realize that you came a long way. And now you’re a part of something meaningful.”

Photo of Elizabeth Budinoff

Elizabeth Budinoff

Currently auditioning for shows and networking in New York City.

“I had a different experience than most theatre majors. I joined the program as a junior after spending my fall semester abroad with the department. Deciding to jump into the major late in the game was nerve racking. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be welcomed but also was calmed knowing all of those I had become close friends with in the British Isles would be there. That first day back on campus I remember sitting in stagecraft and the whole class sang “Happy Declaration Day” to me. It made the transition easier knowing they wanted to celebrate my being there. The next three semesters were jam packed with every required class for the major and I wouldn’t change that for the world. The all nighters in the annex and late nights in the costume shop will forever be my fondest college memories. these people aren’t just classmates - they are friends and confidants you keep close to your heart.”

Photo of Courtney Dorn

Courtney Dorn

Synchronicity Theatre’s Administrative Intern. She is also auditioning around Atlanta.

“I studied varying aspects of theatre and my limits were pushed, I’m a more confident theatre artist. I can paint a set, sew up a tear in a costume, recite a monologue, direct a scene, design a set, tell you all about Greek theatre, and more. Because of these lessons, I can make theatre happen if it isn’t happening for me—I can create things on my own. I further gained a deeper appreciation for my colleagues and I understand the utmost importance of collaboration in this field.”

“It’s cruel to pick a favorite memory from my time as a Theatre Arts Major in The Playhouse! Some of my favorite nights as a freshman and sophomore were when we went out to Waffle House or Cookout after a late-night study session. Although, my favorite memories all seem to include dancing backstage: before the second act of Hair with my tribe, with the actors dressed as clowns before Kappa Kappa Scream, and acting/dancing to Clare Ruble and Sam Nelson’s ‘What Keeps A Man Alive’ during The Threepenny Opera. Those in The Playhouse always found a way to celebrate each other and the work we were doing despite stress, projects, and sleep deprivation.”

Photo of Drake W. Shadwell

Drake W. Shadwell

Disney Cast Member

“Furman surrounded me with artists and mentors that were passionate about the work they do and caring of the students they taught. Both peers and professors alike were committed to giving more than what was expected if it meant reaching for excellence. They taught me the power of collaboration, the respect for hard work and the meaning of a found family. Theatre became more than a career or a calling, it showed me my ikigai, my purpose for life. I had my role within the department and I found that I was valued in that role and it pushed me to improve so that I could benefit the larger whole. I trust the teachers to continue treating every student as a new member of a grand family and give those people that same sense of belonging that I felt.”

“My junior year was marked by incredibly long hours and intense self doubt. I felt lost and unsure of my ability to connect emotionally with anyone or anything. I’d lost faith in my ability and theatre’s ability to touch people. It was on a night that I was drained to my core and fighting to keep myself going, that I swiped through the side door of The Playhouse and worked my way through the backstage area. Before I got to my work station in the back, I heard voices coming from the main stage. I ducked behind the proscenium wall to watch. A senior was practicing his monologues for Senior Synthesis and I was mesmerized. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t look away. He came to the end, I barely kept silent as I became overwhelmed with emotion. “How much time do I have? How much time do I have left?” I could see him beseech an audience that wasn’t there and his whole body and his whole voice was full with the emotional connection that comes from understanding someone else’s words so personally that they feel like your own. I found that I understood them too, as clearly as if I’d written them for him to speak back to me just in this moment. I’ll never forget telling him how honored I was to have gotten to work with him or the way we laughed at the fact that we were both crying as we hugged each other in the middle of that abandoned theatre. That stage allowed him to reach out and touch my heart exactly when I needed it and show me why it is worth every long night in that small building at the edge of campus. It really is worth every midnight hour spent, to feel just a brief moment of pure gold.”

Photo of Clark Spillane

Clark Spillane

Graduated with Theatre Arts & Politics and International Affairs degrees; currently a Financial Analyst for Mediterranean Shipping Company

“The Theatre Arts Department shaped my life by allowing me to attend Furman University. By offering me a scholarship, I was able to afford to attend the best Liberal Arts college in the great state of South Carolina. In addition to allowing me to attend Furman, the Theatre Arts Department was a home away from home for many students, including myself. It is a place where artists can be free to create new ways of expressing themselves and their ideas. Without the Theatre Arts Department, I would not be the man I am today.”

“I have many fond memories as a Theatre Arts student. Most of them were during the various Theatre Arts classes offered inside The Playhouse. Furman is known for its small class size, so I was able to have close relationships with my Theatre Arts teachers. One of my fondest memories was in class with professor Jay Oney, where he would frequently crack gut-busting Theatre jokes.”

Photo of Elli Caterisano

Elli Caterisano

Graduated with Theatre Arts & Music degrees; currently an MFA Acting candidate at University of Montana

“The theatre program at Furman University is severely underrated. The faculty and staff care about the students and work with them on what I believe to be a graduate level in an undergraduate setting. I came into graduate school more than prepared and confident in my abilities as an actor. They provided me the set of knowledge and skills I needed to produce superior work in my current location.”

“Getting to have lunch with my mom every day, Theatre History class, Stagecraft (believe it or not), and working on HAIR. Hard to choose one memory. I essentially lived in the playhouse during my time at Furman.”