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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

URI ALUMNI IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Meet Kira Hawkridge

URI Theatre I by Gail Henriques


URI Alumni Kira Hawkridge
I had the pleasure of interviewing URI Theatre alum, Kira Hawkridge, a 2012 graduate with a BFA in Acting and Directing. Kira’s education in Theatre helped her pursue her passion and take the skill sets she learned in undergraduate school and put them to the test in numerous positions outside of an educational setting. 

She was lucky enough to train and work as a Teaching Artist and to work and learn as the Founding Artistic Director of OUT LOUD Theatre. Kira is part of a traveling troupe of Theatre Artists – mostly consisting of URI Theatre students and Grads – who explore immersive storytelling through visceral movement oriented work. She and her group are heading into their Third Season in January of 2015 – and have an exciting year ahead of them.

URI prepared Kira for the “outside world” through the scope of the training and experiences, providing a unique mode of education in which one is encouraged to create a well-rounded understanding of all aspects of the Theatre Arts. These experiences included box office, to run crew, to the costume shop, to acting, directing, designing, and managing. Kira said, “You are able to experience and build skills in all areas, as it creates a vocabulary and a familiarity with all areas of the Theatre, even if they are not your main focus.” URI Theatre helped her to sculpt a fantastic basis for various skill sets in which she was able to explore and build upon since graduating in 2012.

One of Kira’s favorite memories of the Theatre Department was assistant directing for ‘Singing in the Rain’ with Paula McGlasson. She said, “Working with Paula was always a blast – and I have learned so much about how to create a fun and productive working environment in the rehearsal room from watching her direct.” Kira added, “It was also a rare opportunity that as seniors, every member of my class was present and collaborating on our last show at URI in some capacity.” Kira found that to be wonderful, to be able to share the experience and celebrate with all her classmates, and to close out their last year on such a positive note.

A defining moment in Kira’s life was working on her first directing project, which was part of the Theatre 322 Directing class during her junior year. She directed “Her Heart” from the play “Almost, Maine”. It was the first time she experienced working as a director in an in-depth capacity, and the first time she had the opportunity to collaborate and work alongside other young directors working on diverse projects all under the same roof. Kira found it to be an eye- opening process, and a truly freeing experience. She was able to explore the rehearsal process with two of her peers, and really began to find her aesthetic as an artist.

Ms. Hawkridge believes that the best advice she can give to Theatre students is to always be willing to listen and learn and embrace every opportunity and experience possible; to build up your toolbox from all of the resources and collaborators in your corner.

Kira recommends that Theatre students take full advantage of David Howard’s Introduction to Design class. She said, “It was a fantastic class that really pushed me to question and to explore the immense possibilities that artistry has to offer.” She went on to say, “It was one of the first times I felt that type of collaborative energy in a classroom setting and it pushed me to begin to push past the boundaries of traditional form in my own thinking and approach. I think this class is a key course in discovering your own voice and beginning the process of thinking outside the box.”

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