Brenna Bowyer, from Christiansburg, Va., graduated from Emory & Henry in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre. Bowyer now works as the Group Sales Manager at Barter Theatre in Abingdon - the nation’s longest running professional theatre. Bowyer credits the Connected Liberal Arts education at Emory & Henry and the opportunity to network with industry professionals as beneficial to helping her succeed in her career.
“In the Theatre Department, we were given ample opportunities to veer outside of our specific concentration and explore the many different areas of what it takes to produce a play - not just performing, directing, or designing, but also the business of theatre itself, which is the area I ended up taking an interest in,” says Bowyer.
Bowyer appreciated the close partnership between Emory & Henry and Barter Theatre. In addition to taking classes with the experienced Emory & Henry faculty, students are also able to learn directly from working professionals through masterclasses, workshops, and even full semester long classes. Bowyer describes these experiences as invaluable because it allowed students to develop professional relationships.
“Dr. Kelly Bremner served as my advisor, and she encouraged me to take The Business of Theatre, which I was initially very intimidated to sign up for, but is by far the class that best prepared me for my job at Barter Theatre,” says Bowyer. “Dr. Bremner has a real knack at recognizing a student’s potential, and is fantastic at pushing them to succeed, even when they don’t believe in themselves quite yet.”
The Business of Theatre course was taught by Richard Rose, former Producing Artistic Director at Barter Theatre.
“This class specifically prepared me for my current role, because I was able to learn directly from and be mentored by someone who has a lifetime’s worth of knowledge and experience about the business,” says Bowyer. “Who better to ask questions about how to run a theatre than someone who actually ran a theatre for over 25 years? The real life information that I was able to learn from this class was absolutely invaluable, and just not something I could have gotten from a textbook.”
For future theatre students, Bowyer encourages them to take one class that scares them a semester because they may just open themselves up to opportunities that lead to their future careers.
In the Theatre Department, we were given ample opportunities to veer outside of our specific concentration and explore the many different areas of what it takes to produce a play - not just performing, directing, or designing, but also the business of theatre itself, which is the area I ended up taking an interest in.