Theatrical design graduate student William Anderson was drawn to UT because he says the department values and supports non-traditional theatre.
“Here they look at theatre as an expression of art to a means. It’s about the narrative,” he said. “They focus on telling stories and not focusing on stories that are not relevant to this time.”
William says that nearly his entire class worked professionally before returning to school.
“All of us wanted to be able to push things in an environment with little risk,” he said. “You can do things here without being worried you won’t be able to eat. I hope I can push boundaries and find new ways to tell narratives and do this art form.”
This year, William and his classmates have pushed the boundaries over and over again, including the production of The Cataract in October.
“We ended up with a psychological environment. It became more of a sculpture that makes you feel more than anything. It’s very dreamlike,” he said. “The audience isn’t necessarily in a world. It’s more of a feeling. It’s not going to be quite real.”
In the spring, William is working on two pieces for the Cohen New Works Festival: for one piece, he and two other graduate students will be guiding 17 undergraduates in creating their own work, and the second piece, based around football, was workshopped at the Kennedy Center.
After spending the last five years in Chicago working in professional theatre, William understands the importance of arts patrons.
“It is because of people who donate to the arts that theatre exists,” he said. “Coming from places like Chicago where there are 200 plus theater companies, they don’t pay their bottom line with ticket sales. It’s donors who make it possible. Without donors, theatre will still happen, but it won’t reach as many people as it could and should.”