Kacie Hall (BFA - Dramatic Arts '23) found her passion for the stage while at ULethbridge. From being the first student to direct a Mainstage production, to building skills as an intimacy director, Kacie is preparing herself to become her own producer through experiential learning and a can-do attitude.
I've been incredibly fortunate to have made meaningful connections with so many of my professors. It's clear that so many of the professors in the drama department have a genuine desire to see their students succeed, and find opportunities to support them in doing so.
Meet Kacie | Artist. Busy. Excitable.
Program: Bachelor of Fine Arts - Dramatic Arts | Major: Performance
Why did you choose to pursue fine arts at the University of Lethbridge?
I started at the University with an intention to pursue English Education, with a minor in Drama and French. After taking some studio classes, that shifted to Drama Education. After taking even more studio classes, that shifted to Drama (Performance) with a focus in Directing and Acting. I've also taken some extra courses in Devised Theatre, just for the fun of learning.
I'm from Yellowknife, NWT, so community is incredibly important to me, and I felt that ULethbridge had a strong sense of community in comparison to other universities I was accepted to.
What inspires your artistic practice?
I think that my artistic practice most reflects the fact that I just think people are so interesting. I'm incredibly people and connection oriented in my art. My primary focus is looking at how people are impacted by their experiences, and allow that to inform my approach to storytelling & collaboration.
What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience so far?
I'm incredibly grateful for all of the Mainstage productions I've been apart of. I recently worked as a director on TomorrowLove, which is my seventh Mainstage in an artistic position. I've been fortunate enough to act, devise, assistant direct and direct for my various shows, and each is memorable and exciting in its own right. I've also been incredibly lucky that the genres of my different productions have all varied so much.
I've worked with classical text (Doctor Faustus, directed by Justin Blum), absurdist comedy (A Dinner Party, directed by Kelly Reay), movement oriented (4.48 Psychosis, directed by Mia van Leeuwen & Jay Whitehead), devised (IDENTUALITY, facilitated by Jay Whitehead), comedy of manners (Design for Living, directed by Jay Whitehead), drama (In Tongues, directed by Ron Chambers) and now a collection of short plays that explore technology's impact on relationships (TomorrowLove).
How have your professors or instructors impacted your education?
I've been incredibly fortunate to have made meaningful connections with so many of my professors. It's clear that so many of the professors in the drama department have a genuine desire to see their students succeed, and find opportunities to support them in doing so. I'm incredibly grateful for the professors I've had, and all they have taught me, as well as their compassion for their students.
Some standout professors for me have been Mia van Leeuwen, Douglas MacArthur, Jay Whitehead, Dave Smith, Gail Hanrahan and Ron Chambers. All these professors have demonstrated a clear passion for helping their students grow, and show real empathy towards how difficult University can be.
Is there anyone else who has had an important influence on your ULethbridge experience?
The staff are truly the heroes of the Drama Department. They are so kind and care so deeply about seeing students succeed. Even though we don't take formal classes with them, they are all so ready to teach students as much as they possibly can.
Some standout staff members for me are Lynn Hopkins, Mike Takats, Kelly Roberts, DA Smurlick, Arlene Curran and Peach Jonzon. All these people go out of their way to provide students with learning opportunities, and are genuinely excited to see us succeed.
I've also been so grateful to have had such a strong support system throughout University in my best friend, Mackenzie Wood. She has truly been what I'm most grateful to have gained out of my time at ULethbridge. We were roommates in University Hall in our first year, and have been inseparable since. She is my family, my rock and my favourite person.
Have you received any scholarships or awards? How have they impacted your education?
I received the Abbondànza undergraduate award last year, which was so humbling. It's an award that's nominated by faculty, so receiving it was so validating as a student and an artist.
Tell us about your experiential or work-integrated learning opportunities at ULethbridge and how these have enhanced your education?
Apart from my Mainstage productions, I've also been on the TheatreXtra team for two years, which is our student run theatre company on campus. I held the General Manager position last year, and this year am our Artistic Producer. These positions have given me a lot of insight into how I can produce my own work post-graduation, as well as given me the tools to be able to apply for similar positions in existing companies.
The biggest takeaway has been the practical experience of working on theatre productions. I'd also say I've learned a lot about how important it is to be kind and compassionate in the workplace. I really believe that a lot of the opportunities I've gotten at the University have been because I prioritize a positive attitude. Finally, I've realized the value of diversity in experience. I've been so grateful to have explored so many genres in my time at the University, and that's allowed me to discover how I can use my skills in a large variety of ways.
What are your hopes/plans for the future?
I'm planning on moving back up north to Yellowknife for a few years, then pursuing an MFA in Drama Directing.
What piece of advice would you give to future students?
Just put your name out there. It's what every single person says to do in the arts, but it's said for a reason. I have been so fortunate to have gotten to do so many projects during my time at the University, and most come from just putting myself out there.
I also think it's so important to remember that your energy and attitude in a space is just as important, if not more important, than your technical abilities in your area. People take notice of those who are kind and fun to work with and will prioritize that.
What are three awesome things about yourself?
- I'm training to become an intimacy director and have done intimacy direction on two Mainstage productions at the University.
- I own three different clown noses.
- I'm the first student to direct a Drama Mainstage at the University.
Favourite place on campus: W420 has a special place in my heart.
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