Student Spotlight: Kara Dobias C’21

Kara Dobias  C’21                                    

What attracted you to Drew?

The Theatre program!

Why did you choose Theatre Arts as a major and Dance as a minor?

I chose to study theatre arts because it was the subject that made me the happiest. I had always been performing, whether in school or just around my house as a kid, so it was ultimately the best fit. I also discovered that I could still honor my interest in politics through an artistic lens. Through my education in the theatre department I’ve learned how much the arts reflect our world and the responsibility that comes with that. I’m very passionate about being a responsible theatre maker and challenging the structures of theatre that have been harmful (such as barriers to accessibility).

Have you done any internships?

The summer going into my Junior year I was an assistant stage manager at the Imperial Loft Theater in New York City. It was a great experience to explore an area of theatre that I hadn’t before. During the run of the show I helped to set up/break down the rehearsal space, checked in with the actors to make sure they were set with their props/costumes before the start of every show, and went through the tasks on our pre/post show checklist to make sure everything ran smoothly.

Do you have any mentors at Drew?

Two professors who have really supported me have been Chair and Professor of Theatre Dr. Lisa Brenner and Dance Professor Kimani Fowlin. Dr. Brenner is my academic advisor and served as my honors thesis advisor this year. I also worked closely with her in the creation of the NY Theatre Semester’s devised show, Monstress. Since my Sophomore year I have worked with Professor Fowlin on dance show as both a dancer and choreographer. She was also one of my thesis committee members. I have loved working with both of them and am very grateful for the ways in which they pushed me to always explore my own academic and creative limits. I am a better student and artist because of it! Chair and Professor of Music Dr. Trevor Weston was also one of my thesis committee members, offering a wealth of knowledge and support in that process. I feel very lucky to have worked with all three professors!

Have you studied abroad? Done any short, long, or nycTRECs?

During the Fall 2019 Semester I had the opportunity to study abroad the London Semester. It was one of the highlights of my time at Drew and was an overall amazing experience! Through the courses that I took in Art/Architecture, Theatre, and Literature, I had the opportunity to visit museums such as Tate Britain, attend performances at The Globe and do walking tours around areas of London which corresponded to books we read in class. We also had the opportunity to do our own travelling and plenty of time to explore London on our own.

Also, during Fall 2020-Spring 2021 I participated in the Semester on NY Theatre. It was both one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I had at Drew. As an ensemble we spent the first semester completely remote, spread out not just around the country, but also internationally as we developed the structure/content of our show. Though not in person we were still able to work with two members of the Tectonic Theater Project who taught us the process of Moment Work, a way of creating an original piece that explores the elements of the stage (such as sound, costumes, lights, etc.) to tell the story instead of relying just on the text of the script alone. I had the opportunity to hold a variety of roles in the production including working as a co-writer for our original script, and acting/singing in the show. Being that we had to word with specific COVID guidelines, none of us actually acted together in person. The whole show was recorded through Zoom which challenged us all to think creatively. Now reflecting on the experience, it really taught me what I’m capable of as an artist and the power of collaboration.

What issue in the world means the most to you?

An issue that I’m really passionate about is equity in the arts. For my honors thesis I researched how the economic and racial politics of American opera have informed its institutional model and the affect that that has had on the careers of artists past and present (particularly BIPOC artists). In my own career I want to be a voice which challenges those institutional models and the barriers they have created.

What are a few of your favorite memories of Drew? 

Definitely participating in the London Semester and NYC Theatre Trec. I made some of my closest friends through both programs!

What advice would you give students who are just starting out that you wish you had when you started?

Give yourself the time and space to explore your interests. Really ask yourself what topics make you passionate and see where that leads you. You don’t have to have everything figured out, but it’s helpful to have a direction that you’re moving in. Trust the process and yourself! You’re the one who ultimately knows what’s best for you.

What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

My ultimate goal is to become a professional opera singer, but I am also interested in looking into a career in arts administration. In 5 years I hope to have completed a master’s degree in vocal performance and either auditioning for opera companies or participating in competitions. Studying as a theatre arts major has given me a breadth of experiences, so I hope that no matter what I’m doing I can use the skills that I have learned across the multiple areas of theatre I have been exposed to.

Do you have any fun facts you would like to share?

Before coming to Drew I was an interior design student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

I’m learning Italian!

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