Essay about Theatre
In September 2019, I was on a Greyhound bus from DC heading to New York City for the first time. I remembered the butterflies feeling of excitement in my stomach when I spotted the Big Apple getting closer and bigger with every passing second. “Ding” – an email pops up on my phone notifying me that I have just won a lottery ticket for Tootsie, my very first Broadway musical. My eyes were tearing up because there are no words in the English dictionary that can describe exactly the feeling I had when having one of my dreams come true. My love for theatre, especially musical theatre, is not just a passion but it is every fiber in my body that desires to create something so magical that captures the audiences’ hearts and makes them think and feel. It has been a long journey from trying to please my parents by pursuing a degree in Banking to realizing I am meant for something much more creative through an English degree. Making theatre allows me to challenge myself every day by taking initiative and stepping into the leadership role in different aspects including directing, producing, and making props. Theatre is where my heart belongs and I am certain that I had found my purpose in life.
Through my English degree, I learned valuable skills that would help me later as a theatremaker. In my class, I was voted to be the Youth Union leader by getting involved and working hard in encouraging my classmates to participate in the youth activities in school varying from talent shows to sports competitions. Under my leadership, our class got awarded a certificate for our contribution to the University Youth Union. Besides, I joined The Sun English Club where I horn my skills in working as a team to organize different types of events. Our mission is to help other students in school improve their English skills so they can be ready for the job market after graduating. One of my proudest achievements was founding our annual English Singing Competition called “Raise Your Voice” – a playground for English learners who love to perform. From the contest, we discovered talented voices who went on to compete in national music competitions such as Vietnam Idol and The Voice Vietnam. They are now using their voices and talents to contribute to the performing art scenes in Vietnam.
Most importantly, I had my first exposure to the theatre when I volunteered to put on two musicals for the foreign language faculty’s drama week. I took initiative in all the roles from directing and producing to choreographing and acting in the shows. Witnessing these productions come to life, I had never felt so passionate about anything else ever before and I knew that this is meant for me. Fortunately, I was selected to participate in a program organized by the U.S. consulate called Broadway in Vietnam which helped reaffirm my passion for theatre, especially musicals. I got the chance to learn and collaborate with Michael Parks Masterson, a real Broadway star, among other performers to perform different numbers from various musicals to a full house of audiences that is televised by the City TV station.
With such a particular set of skills, I landed a job as a performing art and drama assistant at Saigon South International School. I was able to use my expertise to navigate my work in assisting with drama classes and producing school productions while continuing to sharpen my skills under the guidance of my supervisor. As my passion for theatre grows, I reached out to Dragonfly Theatre Vietnam after seeing their brilliant production of Love Song to volunteer. To my surprise, they invited me for an interview for the producer role in their upcoming production called Lend Me A Tenor and I got the job on the spot because they have never seen such passion in someone who wants to produce theatre productions. I found my new home at Dragonfly Theatre where I work cohesively with other members of a team with a mission to bring high-quality English theatre to Vietnam. After taking a gap year to fulfill my dream of experiencing professional theatre productions on Broadway, I continued my work with Dragonfly Theatre Vietnam steering our productions through a difficult year of the pandemic to keep theatre alive while making sure everyone is safe by strictly following the guideline from the government. Recognizing my potential, Dragonfly theatre Vietnam invited me to become a board member of the company.
Besides, I joined the sister company Dragonfly Theatre Education as an assistant to provide high-quality theatre training in hope that it will fuel the love for theatre to the next generation. Also, we launched Dragonfly Youth Theatre in September with me as a producer to create an environment for young people to perform professionally on stage in a production at a real theatre. For me, the more theatre there is the better and what is even better is to do what you love while giving back to the community at the same time. So I volunteered to help Saigon Players, a community theatre group that has been putting on shows as a way to raise money for charity. They had been idled since the end of 2018 so when I got back to Vietnam, I volunteered to direct a musical called Walking on Sunshine that attracted thirteen talented artists from different backgrounds working together to put on a fun-loving show to gather support for The Little Rose Shelter, an NGO that assists young underprivileged girls who are at high risk of sexual abuse or trafficking. From this experience, I am hoping to create a new non-profit community theatre group called The Stage Door soon where I can express my artistry through my love of musical theatre while working with other brilliant like-minded individuals to make theatre more popular in Vietnam as well as helping the community.
I have a dream that someday the theatre scene in Vietnam would be as developed as other countries around the world. While the experiences I have gained thus far are valuable, I am well aware that a formal education in theatre would advance me further toward my chosen career as a theatremaker. Therefore, I strongly believe that an opportunity to study for a master’s degree in Theatre would provide me with the knowledge I need to turn my potential into a valuable asset to contribute to the future of the performing arts scene in my community.
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