Thespians and other professionals alike will be flocking to Binghamton University this weekend, as the theatre department hosts its 2016 Theatre Alumni Conference. From Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, the department will host a series of workshops and panels geared toward students associated with the department.
According to the theatre department’s website, the idea for the conference was the brainchild of alumnus Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Santiago-Hudson, who graduated from BU with a bachelor’s in theatre in 1987, is an award-winning actor and director. He has appeared in the TV show “Castle” as well as the film “Selma.”
Santiago-Hudson will be joined by several other alumni of the department, who have gone on to have careers in a diverse set of fields.
In the education sector, Mary Corsaro, who taught in the theatre department from 1977-1981 and now teaches at Ithaca College, will be joined by Bonnie Culver, who earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from BU in 1985 and 1990, respectively.
Culver, who studied English with a focus on fiction and playwriting, shared in an email that studying theatre and English gave her the skills to be employable and “at home” in a variety of fields.
“My undergrad and grad theater experience gave me the oral skills, confidence, and practical abilities to see my plays, screenplays and fiction in [the] immediate, structural ways studying just theory lacks,” Culver wrote.
The goal of the conference is to, “share each alumni’s unique journey as he/she offers insights, useful career lessons and stories about how Binghamton helped shape his/her success,” according to the department’s website.
With panel titles including “Unexpected places theater training can lead” and “Triple Threat x Two: Why musical theater is a great foundation for so much more,” an additional focus of the conference seems to be showing students that a degree in theatre can be worthwhile without actually leading to a career in the field.
Alum Dr. Andy Wollowitz, ’80, medical director of the department of emergency medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, and Jesse Rabinowitz, ’79, clinical psychologist at the Tucker Psychiatric Clinic in Virginia, prove this to be the case. Both Wollowitz and Rabinowitz majored in theatre during their undergraduate years at BU, and use that training to work in medicine.
Other guests include actors Jeremy Davidson ‘94 and Victor Williams, ‘92.
The conference begins Friday evening at 5 p.m., and is free for students, who must RSVP to attend the sessions on the theatre department website.