Theater student accepted into prestigious UK program

by Zana Pommier

While many of us struggle to define our own identities, one student at MSUM juggles several characters to define her own. Following her dreams to the United Kingdom, Kate Aarness, known for her roles in many shows at MSUM from “CARRIE: The Musical” to ‘Hello, Dolly!,” has been accepted into the British American Drama Academy in London for fall 2015.    

The conservatory focuses on classical British theater, inviting applicants from around the world to study with professionals. The British American Drama Academy has been staffed by well-known actors and directors, including Sir Ben Kingsley, Alan Rickman and Kevin Spacey. Since its establishment in 1984, the program has trained 5,000 theater students, including Orlando Bloom and Emma Stone.

“It has been a dream of mine to study theater in London, and this program offers just that,” Aarness said.

Aarness was interested in the program since last fall, and flew to Chicago over spring break to audition for the program’s dean. The audition included performing a modern monologue, a classic Shakespearean piece and a song.

She credits her acceptance and success to her passion and high motivation.

“I think a lot of my success has to do with me being a hard worker and having the drive to succeed,” Aarness said. “I’m a good student, I have a strong acting résumé, and I have solid training and talent.”

The program begins with eight weeks of scene study, followed by five weeks rehearsing classical British and European works that leads to a production in a professional theater. In addition, students are required to learn by watching experts.

“We are required to see a show once a week during the program, so I’ll be exposed to an incredible amount of theater while I’m there,” Aarness said.

While many people say they discovered their passions early in life, Aarness is no exception.

“I like to joke that I’ve been doing theater since I was in utero because my mother was directing a show while she was pregnant with me, but I performed for the first time when I was three,” Aarness said. “I attribute most of my involvement to my mother encouraging me to explore it.”

Despite her exciting upcoming semester abroad, she believes her time at MSUM has been a huge stepping stone for her career.

“I have absolutely grown as an actress while at MSUM, I’ve worked hard in my acting classes and have received amazing guidance and insight from my instructors,” Aarness said. “I feel ready for this next challenge because of what I’ve learned here in the Theater Arts Program.”

After completing her degree at MSUM, Aarness hopes to pursue theater professionally in Minneapolis. In the meantime, she plans to enjoy her semester in London and keep her options open.

“All I can say with certainty is that I will learn about myself and my craft, and that it will probably change my life,” she said.

Students can see Aarness and others perform in The [SCREAM], a tragic play adapted from Euripides’ “The Bacchae” this week. 

Students interested in Study Abroad opportunities can email or stop by Bridges 249 for more information.

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