|Alumna Stephanie Fieger (above) shines on stage in New York University’s October 2004 production of Landscape of the Body.
Stephanie Fieger ’02 was among 18 people chosen from 1,000 applicants who auditioned for a three-year master’s in acting program at New York University, where she is now in her second year. It was the extensive acting experience, one-on-one coaching by professors, and broad exposure to acting at Messiah that prepared her for the audition and for graduate school itself, she says.
Messiah’s campuswide commitment to test theory with practice underscores the comprehensive education Fieger received as a theatre major. “Every semester our students are required to take their classroom learning into the rehearsal hall or scene shop,” explains Valerie Rae Smith, chair of the Department of Theatre
. For example, in regular master classes, renowned visiting artists teach and mentor students. This fall, theatre students researched, wrote, and performed a healthcare documentary at the Whitaker Center
in downtown Harrisburg, followed by a forum discussion with patients, legislators, and health-care professionals (see pages 20–21).
Smith adds that the depth of Messiah’s theatre training leads graduates to careers in acting, directing, and technical production, while the breadth of its liberal arts education launches theatre students’ careers in marketing, publishing, and arts administration.
The program also prepares graduates spiritually. Through performances, in classrooms, and among friends, “Messiah laid a great foundation for my faith,” says Fieger. Today her Christian faith “opens a lot of doors” and, at times, closes doors; but “you can embrace and live your faith no matter what,” she says.