Shining Student Em Carlson has set themselves up for success, already landing a job for when they finish their studies. Starting as a music student, but rediscovering a love for theatre, Em is making the most of their education through internships, scholarships and independent studies.

The University of Lethbridge allows you so many opportunities to get involved, take them all and you'll find your passion, your people and build a well rounded set of skills on the way.

Meet Em. Diligent. Creative. Eager.
Program: Bachelor of Fine Arts - Dramatic Arts | Major: Technical/Design

Why did you choose to pursue fine arts at ULethbridge?

I chose ULethbridge because of the hands-on instruction, in a department of this size I have been afforded opportunities to work on shows in every semester of study.

This way, the initial layer of in-class instruction is expanded on with practical application, and plenty of it! I really value that, it helps the material stick so much more effectively, and you run into situations that may not have otherwise been covered in a solely textbook based education.

What inspires your artistic/musical practice?

The power of stories to educate, build community and foster understanding of oneself. Seeing stories come to life in front of you makes the messaging so much more real, and experiencing them live in the room with others creates an environment of mutual growth and enjoyment. There is so much power in seeing an audience laugh, cry and breathe as one.

Did you know what you wanted to study before you came to ULethbridge? Has your academic plan changed since you began your studies?

In the beginning, I was an opera performance student, but being reintroduced to my love of technical theatre, and seeing how involved students could be in the process of show creation inspired me to switch my major.

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience?

My first Twoonie Theatre. Twoonie is an event hosted by the Theatre Arts Society at the end of every year, and it's a chance for all of the students in the department to come together, share their talents, laugh and reminisce on the year we've had. Seeing how connected we all were to one another, and the care we all had for the work was deeply moving. Twoonie has become an event I look forward to every year.

How have your professors or instructors impacted your education?

To list all of the ways I have been impacted by the top notch instructors, staff and professors at ULethbridge would take me decades. Betty Hushlak, the stage management instructor has always made the education of students, and the successful production of shows a top priority. She has helped me get jobs in my field, and been a constant pillar of support and knowledge as I've grown.

Julia Wasilewski allowed me to take an independent study with her, and because of that I'm able to expand my learning in niche areas of technical theatre and design that I otherwise would not be able to study in such depth.

All of the staff in the drama department are incredibly knowledgeable and absolutely indispensable to all of the work done on shows.

Have you received any scholarships and awards?

I recently received the Leo and Phyllis Singer award in Costuming, it covered half of my tuition cost in the Fall 2023 semester, and because of it I was able to use the extra money to cover the cost of textbooks, school supplies and other essentials that would have otherwise been less accessible.

Tell us about your experiential or work-integrated learning opportunities at ULethbridge and how these have enhanced your education?

I was fortunate enough to receive the Vertigo Theatre internship in the summer of 2022. I was living in Calgary and able to learn from a professional theatre company, and their staff and artists who were all operating on the cutting edge of their field.

This opportunity allowed me to build connections in the professional world while still being in university, and those connections have already borne fruit and led to a job with the same theatre company, offered to me post-graduation.

What are your hopes/plans for the future?

I hope to work in technical theatre for the rest of my life, in any and every capacity but especially stage management and costuming. I hope to continue to build off of the foundation laid by my time at ULethbridge.

What advice would you like to give those about to begin their journey at ULethbridge?

Make connections with those around you, and never be afraid to try. Get involved with TheatreXtra, as well as Mainstage productions, respond to calls for volunteers, get to know the shop staff they have so much knowledge they will share with you.

The University of Lethbridge allows you so many opportunities to get involved, take them all and you'll find your passion, your people and build a well rounded set of skills on the way.

Experience more with the Faculty of Fine Arts:
• Awards, scholarships & student supports
• Productions, exhibitions, concerts & more
• Applied studies, internships & a range of work experience
• Enhanced education opportunities locally, nationally and abroad
Get involved!