“The power of art can break the shackles that bind and divide human beings.”
With all of the pride in the world and care in our hearts, we are proud to announce and congratulate the spring 2022 graduates from the Department of Theatre and Dance! We have ten seniors who have dedicated their education to studying the performance arts and creating stage magic in an effort to positively change the world of theatre. They have persevered through these uncertain, changing times and have come out stronger and more prepared than before. We can strongly say without a doubt that each graduate has made such an incredible impact in the Department of Theatre and Dance and at Missouri State University.
With that, we could not be more overjoyed to congratulate the following seniors: Adam DeBacker, Emily Harper, Cassidy Hayden, Abigail Jensen, Chloe Jewell, Julia Makarsky, Matthew Raymer, Sabrina Sander, Matt Walter, and Isabelle Zurcher!
Adam DeBacker (he/him) is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre and an individualized minor in Contemporary Trends in Music and Media. His credits here include Set Crew for CATS, Properties Assistant for SubUrbia, and Lighting Assistant for Much Ado About Nothing– all with T&D Mainstages. Additional credits include Paint Crew for Elephant Man and Set Crew for Fun Home with Springfield Contemporary Theatre; Light Board Operator for All Shook Up and Run Crew for Kinky Boots and The Full Monty with Springfield Little Theatre; and Follow Spot for Pagliacci with Ozarks Lyric Opera.
Following graduation, Adam plans to continue taking classes to further his education and finish his Recording Arts Certificate. He will continue working stage crew contracts with various local theatres and hopes to receive an internship somewhere.
Emily Harper is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre.
Cassidy Hayden is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre and minors in Dance and Accounting.
Abigail Jensen is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. Her credits here include Artistic Director of Laboratory Theatre Company for their 2021-2022 season; Playwright/Mia of Mostly Chaste and Dramaturg for Exit the King with LTC; Assistant Director for Much Ado About Nothing and Girl/Time for Everybody with T&D Mainstages, Playwright/Director of My Sunshine and Ensemble in Miss Julie with Tabula Rasa; Co-Dramaturg/Lucretia Borgia in Because I Am Your Queen with the BA/BS Programs; Phaniscus in Mostellaria with T&D Studio Series, Iris in Still Life With Iris with UCYA; and Founder of The Dorm Room Collective. She is also a University Ambassador at Missouri State and an Assistant Poetry Editor for Moon City Review (2020 – 2022).
Abigail shared that her favorite memories include directing her first original play with Tabula Rasa and the incredible audience that attended- “So many of my friends and loved ones attended the show, and I was overcome with feelings of love and support!” She would like to give a shout-out to “all my professors for sticking with me while I sorted myself out during these four years :).” After graduation, she will be starting her master’s degree in Playwriting & Dramaturgy at the University of Glasgow next fall.
Chloe Jewell is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre and a minor in Literature. Her theatrical credits here include Co-President and Social Media Manager of Tabula Rasa Production Company 2021-2022; Co-Chair of The Social Affairs Committee for the BA/BS Program; Social Media Manager for the BA/BS Theatre Program; Director of Something Like Penguins and She in Enigma with Directing II One-Acts; Director of Cozy By the Fire and Miss Julie and Tara in And Then Some with Tabula Rasa; Dramaturg for These Shining Lives and Dramaturg for Comedy of Errors with T&D Mainstages; Performer in Julia Makarsky’s senior project The 36 Questions; and Medea in Because I Am Your Queen with the BA/BS Programs.
Her film credits include Director/Writer/Producer and Theo for THE Department; Ava in Zeta Theta Alpha Nu by Scout Mayberry and Molly Beshore; Unit Production Manager/Social Media Manager for The Pledge by Julia Makarsky, Abigail Jensen, and Marti Harmele; and Nerd Girl in The Journey by Lauren Fahrner.
When asked about her favorite memories, Chloe shared that, “It’s honestly too hard to pick one, so I’m going to call it a ‘collective’ memory, but probably all the movie/game nights that my friends and I have had this year. I really value the friendships that I’ve built here, and it’s nice knowing that when I’ve had a hard week I can almost always reset and fall back on Wednesday night games or Sunday movie night.” After graduation, she plans to stay in Springfield through the end of the year working to save money and continue personal projects. She will be moving to Los Angeles in January to pursue acting and writing for television/film.
Julia Makarsky is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, minor in Screenwriting, and Undergraduate Certificate in Writing for Television and Film. Her credits here include Co-President of Tabula Rasa Production Company; President of MSU Women in Film; Carole Luftig in The Clinic with Tabula Rasa; Woman 2 in The Women of Lockerbie with Laboratory Theatre Company; Assistant Stage Manager for Everybody with T&D Mainstages; Creator/Director of 36 Questions: An Interactive Experience; and Co-Director/Writer/Producer of The Pledge with MSU Women in Film.
Julia shared that her favorite experience has been “all of my work with Tabula Rasa. Between acting in The Clinic and producing shows, such as our one act festival and song cabaret, it has been a great experience learning about the production side of theatre and creating exciting and unique opportunities for students.” She would also like to give a special shout-out to Kathleen Haines “for everything she gives to the students of the Theatre and Dance department. She is an absolute queen!” After graduation, she plans to apply to graduate programs for a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing.
Matthew Raymer is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre.
Sabrina Sander is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Theatre Education.
Matt Walter is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre and minor in Dance. His credits here include Company Manager for Laboratory Theatre Company’s 2021-2022 season; Co-Scenic Designer for Mostly Chaste with LTC; Producer/Host for his senior project PRIDE; Choreographer and Dancer in the fall dance concert Benevolence; Tony in My Sunshine and Ensemble in Miss Julie with Tabula Rasa x UCYA, Tony/Elmer in Still Life With Iris with UCYA; and Assistant Director for A Chorus Line, Hugh Otecake in Much Ado About Nothing, Choreographer and Dancer for Dancing the Next Dimension, and King Pelias/Apsyrtos in Argonautika– all with T&D Mainstages. His outside credits include Head Usher, House Manager, Assistant Company Manager, Company Manager, and Operations Manager for Tent Theatre’s upcoming and previous three seasons.
Matt shared that some of his favorite memories include his time on the Missouri State Improv team, “being a part of so many amazing opportunities,” and watching his friends and peers succeed and grow through their college careers with him. He would like to give shout-outs to all of his professors for helping him grow, but more specifically “Mark Templeton for his time in the marketing office, Kathleen Haines for being amazing with all his rehearsal reservation needs, Kyle A. Thomas for giving him the opportunity to create theatre with LTC, and Sarah Wilcoxon for teaching him so much about dance and making him fall in love with it.” After graduation, Matt will be working with Tent Theatre through the end of September until he leaves to work with the Disney College Program in Orlando.
Isabelle Zurcher is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Theatre Education.
Together, Adam, Emily, Cassidy, Abigail, Chloe, Julia, Matthew, Sabrina, Matt, and Isabelle are the future of their fields in the performing arts industry. They are leaving the Department of Theatre and Dance with their heads held high, a mountain of support behind them, and the knowledge of what it means to be a Bear. We wish you the best of luck out there, graduates. Wherever life takes you, remember all those you have impacted and that you have made an incredible Missouri State-ment.
The Department of Theatre and Dance will not be the same without you.