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Student Blog: Inside UC San Diego's Theatre Program

Diving into what life is like as a theatre student at UC San Diego. From classes to performances, there are a lot of opportunities for undergraduate students!

Student Blog: Inside UC San Diego's Theatre Program Hi! I'm Mia Van Deloo and I'm a B.A. Theatre major at UC San Diego. I'm here to give you the inside look at the program here! The University of California school system is known for its strong academics, in addition to having many resources for artmakers. Instead of concentrating on one area of theatre, our general theatre degree not only prompts us to take academic classes outside of our major but allows us to learn about many aspects of theatre. I currently have a concentration in playwriting and dramaturgy, but I've taken classes in acting, dancemaking, design, theatre history, and stage management! By having that strong foundation, I'm able to take various skills and apply them cross-discipline to enhance my understanding and to make me a more well-rounded student.

Located in the heart of La Jolla, CA, UC San Diego is just a few feet away from the Tony-award-winning regional theatre: the La Jolla Playhouse. The current artistic director is Christopher Ashley who directed the musical Come From Away which won eight Tony Awards in 2017. Come From Away, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, and Jersey Boys are just some of the incredible musicals that got their start at the La Jolla Playhouse and went on to become Broadway hits. UC San Diego shares theatre space with the La Jolla Playhouse and many students are able to get discounted tickets, apply for internships, and work with a lot of the faculty there. While I haven't seen anything at the playhouse yet, I know that when shows return, I'll be sitting in the front row.

Student Blog: Inside UC San Diego's Theatre Program

There are always performance opportunities both solely for undergraduate students and some that are combined with the M.F.A. theatre students. This past quarter, I was a dramaturg for a show in the Wagner New Play Festival. The Wagner New Play Festival is an annual event where each M.F.A. playwright at UC San Diego writes a new work that is produced alongside M.F.A. directors, actors, and designers. Undergraduates are also able to participate in this process as I did.

Due to COVID-19, however, the department decided to do its first-ever audio play series where I worked on a show called Backwaters. It's about a young, naive couple, Hailey and Kate who decide to go to Kerala, India for their honeymoon. When they get there, however, deeply rooted conflict starts to arise and the two women realize that they may not know each other as well as they think they do. Culture, sexuality, and race all play a part in the evolution of their relationship, but will they be able to reconcile before it's too late and the mosquitoes eat them alive?

In rehearsals, we would often have our cameras off to capture what the audience would be experiencing. It felt very much like a podcast and this informed my work as a dramaturg. Because this was a new play that was still being workshopped, the other dramaturg and I decided that it would be better to create a glossary rather than a traditional dramaturg's packet. This glossary included cultural terms related to Hinduism, Kerala, and Rakshasas, but also included more conventional words such as motherhood, thunder, blood, and heat. Our glossary prompted conversation during tablework and also helped the actors gain a better understanding of their characters.

Next fall, we are anticipating a return to in-person classes and rehearsals. Hopefully, we are able to be in a theatre again soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this look inside UC San Diego's theatre program! Be sure to check out their website for information on how to stream the 2021 Wagner New Play Festival streaming next week (June 7-11)!


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From This Author Student Blogger: Mia Van Deloo