Alumni and Careers

a headshot of Brenna Nicely

Brenna Nicely

Class of: 2010

Location: Boston, MA

Major(s): English, German

Brenna Nicely is the Education and Community Programs Manager at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts as well as a stage director, dramaturg, translator, and playwright based in Greater Boston. Recent dramaturgy credits include multiple productions at the American Repertory Theater, plus projects with the Moscow Art Theatre, Boston Experimental Theatre, Fort Point Theater Channel, and Goethe-Institut Boston.

How has studying Theater and Dance impacted your perspective (personally, professionally, or other)?

I believe that studying theater (and other art forms) has made me more confident in myself and my work; specific and responsive to details; and more in touch with myself, the world, and those around me. I’ve seen my peers and students on similar journeys. While I have been lucky to build a professional career in theater, I think the more lasting impact in studying the arts is carrying this type of learning, empathy, and creativity into every part of our lives.

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your time at Bowdoin?

I have many fond memories of Bowdoin, but some of the highlights include Suzan Lori-Parks’ guest lecture, sharing a meal with Edward Albee, and knitting a scarf onstage while wearing a corset during a production of Measure for Measure.

Do you have any advice for current students at Bowdoin?

Remember that you are building your personal and professional support networks right now. There are a wealth of resources in front of you that are not always easy to see at first. Take advantage of the opportunities Bowdoin provides for you, support your peers, and thank people often.

Anna Morton

Anna Morton

Class of: 2015

Location: Princeton, NJ

Major(s): English

Minor(s): Theater

"In studying Theater at Bowdoin, I was able to explore multiple disciplines within the theater from acting to directing to devising, and was given the opportunity to try new things in a safe and supportive environment. I learned where my interests and strengths lie, which in turn allowed me to narrow my focus as I determined how to translate my love of theater into a career."

What is your occupation? What is your current job (roles and responsibilities)?

I am a dramaturg, and am currently the Literary Manager at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ. In both of these roles, I work primarily with scripts and playwrights. At McCarter, I manage the database of project submissions that come through the theater, I read scripts and do coverage in the surrounding areas, I serve as the dramaturg on our mainstage productions and new plays in development, and I administer the theater’s commission process. I am also a member of the Artistic Staff, so I participate in season planning and other strategic programming conversations with Emily Mann (McCarter’s Artistic Director and Resident Playwright), and the rest of the Artistic Staff.

How has your Bowdoin education and experience help you and inform the work that you do?

At Bowdoin, I honed my writing, research, and critical thinking abilities; I learned how to collaborate with others, how to manage my time effectively, how to multitask, and how to face complex challenges head on—these are all skills that I use every day in my job at McCarter.

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your time at Bowdoin?

In my last two years at Bowdoin, I worked closely with my advisor, Professor Kitch, on two Shakespeare research projects that defined much of my studies in the English Department. My major culminated in an Independent Study on the representations of power and kingship in Shakespeare’s Richard II and Marlowe’s Edward II that I completed in the final semester of my senior year. It was through my work with Professor Kitch over the course of my four years at Bowdoin, and my studies of Shakespeare with him specifically, that I discovered my love for examining theatrical texts through a literary and analytical lens. Professor Kitch always encouraged me to apply what I had learned in my Theater studies to my work in the English Department, and it was in combining these two areas of inquiry that I discovered my passion for dramaturgy.

Rakiya Dancing

Rakiya Orange

Class of: 2011

Major(s): Anthropology

Dancer, choreographer. After studying dance at Bowdoin, Ms. Orange went on to earn her masters degree in Dance at Hollis University. Upon graduation from Bowdoin, she was awarded Award for Excellence in Dance Performance.

Willi Yusah Headshot

Willi Yusah

Class of: 2008

Location: New York City

Major(s): Performance Arts

"Theater strengthened my capacity to empathize, collaborate, innovate, and critically think. It made me more aware of my body, my emotions, and my connections to others. Simply put, theater made me a better person to myself and to the world."

What is your occupation? What is your current job (roles and responsibilities)?

I am a drama teacher in a K-12 public school. I teach a “Literacy & Theater” course, and I run the after-school performing arts program (which includes a main stage play, tech crew, improv troupe, a cappella ensemble, andfilm club).

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your time at Bowdoin?

Davis’ comedy class. Any modern dance (technique & repertoire) with Gwen or Paul. Judy’s stage design course. Rehearsals! Work-study with Michael, Deb, and Julie. Educational Theater with Libby. Producing with Joan. Noma! “L’Impresario,” an independent study with Anton Handel (Class of ‘07). Suziki/Viewpoints with the SITI Company. Winter holiday parties. Department Passover seders. Production post-mortems. Tech weekends and production weeks!

Between my theater courses and my work-study, I remember my Theater & Dance days to be the most empowering, challenging, stimulating, fulfilling, and loving times of my college experience.

Do you have any advice for current students at Bowdoin?

  • Take ALL the courses.
  • Work backstage and take a stab on-stage.
  • Dance!
  • Be kind and respectful.
  • Learn from the entire faculty and staff.
  • Be responsible (to your castmates, your collaborators, your mentors, your co-workers, the production, the craft…).
  • Don’t be a diva; work hard and stay humble.

Jillian Grunnah

Jillian Grunnah

Class of: 2006

Location: Boston, MA

Major(s): Art History

Minor(s): Dance

"My Bowdoin education fostered a desire to work in a creative field and to inspire a love of movement in young people. My professors taught me to think beyond the steps and helped me to find joy and meaning in the creative process. The many collaborative projects that I tackled at Bowdoin taught me how to work as team player. Now all I do is collaborate, create, and teach others how to make something out of nothing."

What is your occupation? What is your current job (roles and responsibilities)?

Director of Dance and Middle School Drama Teacher at the Noble and Greenough School.

I teach modern, jazz, and choreography classes to middle and high school students. I produce the annual Fall Dance Concert and choreograph the winter musical. In the spring season, I teach students how to teach dance by working with elementary aged kids at local schools.

Has studying Theater and Dance impacted your perspective (personally, professionally, or other)? If so, how?

I am still dancing with professional peers in the Boston dance scene. I don’t think that I’ll ever stop dancing, even if that means just taking class and not performing. I very much value keeping my physical body and mind connected. I certainly feel more open minded about the world after studying in this field, and I also feel so grateful to know how the soul benefits from the power of movement. Studying dance and trying to be successful in a field that is always in a fight for existence has made me resourceful and has forced me to think outside of the box in all aspects of my life.

Dance Scene

Tyler Micoleau

Class of: 1991

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Major(s): Performance Arts

An award-winning lighting designer for theatre, opera, dance, multimedia installation, puppetry and unique live performance events.