Today we feature Maria Dixon, a sophomore Theatre major with a concentration in acting from Wylie, Texas. Maria is also the Senator for Rowan’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, the theatre honors society, an Admissions Ambassador, and a Theatre department student advisory board member. She discusses her major and goes into detail about her experience at Rowan.
Why did you choose Rowan to study Theatre?
It was really important for me to go to a college near Philadelphia and New York, given my interests in theatre, and because those two cities are the main hubs of stage theatre.
Rowan’s Theatre and Dance program is well known in the community, and the program is great at marketing and recruiting. I also learned very quickly that Rowan valued movement in theatre and acting and did not just value script and straight play-acting. The program emphasizes using your body as an instrument when you perform, and I really appreciated that. I truly appreciate how Rowan valued certain aspects of theatre.
Why did you choose to study Theatre?
I come from a very musical background and was involved in different theatrical and musical arts growing up. In high school I did a bunch of different activities and extracurriculars like band and color guard and track.
Initially, theatre was just for fun. I started theatre two years after playing music and I had awful stage fright. For plays and productions I was always in the ensemble. Senior year came around and it was common from where I live Texas to audition for a bunch of different opportunities and schools and just see what scholarships are accessible to you. In this process, I went to a mass audition, and Rowan was one of the first schools to call me back and offer me a scholarship. I quickly decided I liked to do theatre and wanted to explore it more throughout my collegiate journey.
What are your future plans and what is your dream profession for working as a Theatre major?
I am used to being behind the scenes within theatre rather than the star actor or performer. However, in the fall play this year, I was the star and throughout this experience I realized that I love working behind the scenes and would prefer stage management. I am looking to pursue an M.A. in arts administration here, and my dream job could involve managing a venue to schedule tours and events.
What professor has stood out to you in preparing you for your future?
I took Professor Ross Beschlur’s Intro to Acting class last spring over Zoom. His class focused a lot on breathwork, and it was the first class that educated me on using my body and movement as an instrument in theatre. This class set the foundation for me in my theatre studies.
What class at Rowan have you found most challenging, interesting, difficult?
One of the more challenging classes that I have taken has been my Script Analysis class. This class challenges me to look at script in new ways. Our professor teaches us different terminologies to use when analyzing script.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am a pretty avid longboarder. I skate to class around campus, and I am always trying to improve my skating skills. I will say that gravity is not my friend … and I do fall occasionally; however, I do love longboarding. I have recently started enjoying paint-by-numbers.
What is your favorite part about your major?
My major is very fun. It is challenging in completely different ways that other majors are challenging. I think my major and the courses I need to take are all interesting to learn about. I also appreciate I think it is so cool that there is a mental side of acting … It sometimes feels like I have a psychology minor.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
I have most of my classes on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. Therefore, on Monday and Wednesday, I usually have some free time to meet my work and hour requirements for my Admissions Ambassador job. In the rest of my time I either usually have rehearsal for theatre or I am participating in events for Alpha Psi Omega.
See our video with Maria here.
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