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Imagine spending hours of your day preparing for and performing in a show in front of a 2,000-seat theater each day. For Sight & Sound Theatres actress Jennifer Wolcott (‘08), this is the reality of her everyday experience and a lifelong dream come true.
Currently playing the role of Atossa, mother of King Xerxes, in the production of “Queen Esther,” Wolcott works day-in and day-out on perfecting her role. She is also the company’s dance captain. Her skill and professionalism have developed over the years, and she credits her foundation in acting to Taylor’s Theatre & Dance program.
“My current job is truly what I've dreamt and prayed about since I was about 8 years old, so to say I enjoy it is an understatement,” Wolcott said. “It’s been interesting to watch my passions grow and develop and change as the Lord has guided me from place to place and job to job. Taylor taught me how to build relationships, professional and personal, and that has truly been invaluable.”
Wolcott worked hard to pursue a career many wish to obtain after performing at Taylor. Tracy Manning, Professor of Theatre Arts, said Wolcott was an eager and committed performer while studying at Taylor.
“She saw every performance opportunity as a space to practice what she was learning in the classroom,” Manning said. “She took seriously the commitment that making truly beautiful things takes. She was an encourager to classmates and colleagues, collaborated well and was a joy to work with.”
When Wolcott attended Taylor, there wasn't a Bachelor of Fine Arts program yet, so she had to find ways to apply her passions in performing to her schooling. Because of the limitations, she learned how to look for opportunities beyond what was within her immediate community.
“I found my voice at Taylor, as well as learned how to create a character,” she said. “Most importantly I was able to ground and grow my worldview as a Christian in the arts.”
Over the past few years, Taylor’s program has progressed in both its class offerings and student experience opportunities. Majoring in Theatre Arts develops students’ skills in acting, stagecraft, management, and play direction. They also have opportunities to consider the biblical foundations of theatre arts, face difficult questions in pursuit of truth, and integrate their faith into a theatrical art form.
For Wolcott, the integration of faith and vocation has paved the way for her current job with Sight & Sound Theatres.
With headquarters in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Sight & Sound Theatres is an entertainment company that produces Bible stories live on stage. Their purpose, according to their website, is to deliver the gospel message to their customers and fellow workers by visualizing the scriptures.
“I am incredibly blessed in the fact that I work for a theatre whose main goal is ministry,” Wolcott said. “While they are a business, ministry both within the company as well as to our guests is a top priority daily. I have had the benefit of growing my leadership skills in this company which encourages servant-leadership.”
However, Wolcott did not grow up wanting to do Christian theatre because she had never seen it done well. Her experience at Taylor (with professors like Tracy Manning and Dr. Patricia Robertson) taught her that excellence is what the Lord calls us to in all that we do. In both the secular and Christian shows she has done, Wolcott remembers that call to excellence.
“My life verse has been Luke 17:10,” she said. “‘In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’ This verse speaks to me not of recognition through performance, but of submission to the Lord in all we do so that He can get the glory from our service.”
With in-class learning about stage diction, set design, play directing and dramaturgy, the Theatre Arts major and minor can help you understand every aspect of the career. When you major in Theatre Arts, you’ll explore theatre’s history and development as well as a variety of different techniques.
As for tangible experience, every Theatre Arts student will participate in at least two productions each year, with seniors directing their own productions in Taylor Theatre’s One Act Festival.
What sets Taylor’s program apart is the opportunity to wrestle through questions of faith and truth, explore the biblical foundations of the theatre arts and integrate your faith into theatrical art form.
To learn more about Taylor’s Theatre Arts major/minor, click here.