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To Our Graduating Seniors,

Congratulations!  You did it!

We know this semester has been a bit different than your previous ones.  You have all adapted brilliantly to our current new normal but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.  One of the best tools in a theatre person’s arsenal is the ability to adapt on the fly.  After all, our work is live and anything can happen.

We want you to know that we are so very proud of every one of you and all the hard work you have put in over the past few years.  The Department will certainly be different without you here, but it’s time for you to take that great leap and show us how high you can soar!

Remember that while you go out to start your own individual careers, you will always have support from the Department.  We are always here and happy to help guide you in your endeavors even after you leave campus.  It has been an honor and a joy to get to work with and get to know each of you.

And while the theaters may be dark now, they won’t be forever.  We can’t wait to hear about all your accomplishments!

Break a leg!

UTA Department of Theatre Arts and Dance Faculty and Staff

Notice a typo or correction that needs to be made?  Please email kaitlyn.walker@uta.edu.

2020 May Graduates

BFA Performance

Dwayne Bruce
Darcy Doyle
Francisco Grifaldo-Cairasco
Cody Jackson
Ricky Jurado
Jordan La Grenade
Stephen Wykle
Karla Zamora

BFA Musical Theatre

Tristan Arnold
Samantha Barron
Brian Hughes
Bradley Kelm
Monica Lockwood
Jenna Redmond
Cole Shuffield

BFA Design & Technology

Emily Blackmon
Cameron Collis
Emily Jolly

Dance Minor

Sydney Michener

BA Theatre Arts

Alejandra Bucio
Casey Covington
Daniel Dunn
Monica Flatley
Hannah Hackley
Natalie Reyes
Lucy Tran
Rachel Walters

Each year we honor our graduating seniors at our Fall Banquet and Spring Gala.  Traditionally, the seniors have the option of giving a speech and/or a senior will if they would like.  Since we can’t all be together in person, a few of our seniors took the opportunity to express their final words at UTA via video and letters!  See below!

Tristan Arnold

BFA Musical Theatre

Monica Flatley

BA Theatre Arts

Hello, my name is Monica Flatley.  Although my time with UTA Theatre has been brief, I honestly felt like I was home. I transferred from UNT my junior year,  and when I did, I honestly didn’t know that I’d be cultivating some great relationships with an incredibly diverse and wonderful group of people. And, despite the fact that most of our classes occur at ungodly hours of the morning, I found myself more excited to go to class than I ever had been – even if I complained with my friends and classmates about the homework and the earliness. I’m so sad that the class of 2020’s semester was cut short, because I was so excited to become even more of a part of this program. But I am so thankful for the time that I did have here, and I will look back on it fondly.

Francisco Grifaldo-Cairasco

BFA Performance

Ricky Jurado

BFA Performance

Dear UTA,

It’s finally here, the day where we all have to say goodbye. Goodbye to our first steps walking into our first class, goodbye to the teachers who have inspired and pushed us to go beyond our limits. Goodbye to our friends that we made while laughing together and making beautiful memories together. Even though this is hard, and it’s a bit scary to finally leave, there’s something about UTA that makes us ready to leave, makes us ready to take on the world, to show everyone where we came from and what we had to do, to be where we are for  today, tomorrow, and the future. To my friends and teachers, I want to take this time to thank you for everything. I will never let go of everything I have learned and the memories I have made with everyone here. I will be waiting for the day we can all come back together again. I love everyone here, and you all will forever be in my heart.

Thank you UTA

Thank you Theatre Department

Thank you Dance Department

Thank you Everyone ❤️

Sincerely,
Ricky Jurado

p.s. GO MAVS

Cole Shuffield

BFA Musical Theatre

My time here are UTA has been the most wonderful four years of my life. From living in dorms to staying up late with my friends putting our feet in the fountains, UTA has made a huge impact on my life. I never dreamed I would have met such wonderful people. From life long friends to mentors that have impacted my learning and career path. I want to thank the faculty and staff in the Theatre Department. My mentor Dr. Healy for always pushing me to be the best I can and believe in my work. Dr. K who’s advice and support I will always remember and cherish. She has helped me find my voice and guided me along my path. I wouldn’t have been able to sing without Tiffany Tsay who played all my songs and works so hard to help everyone. I could never forget the Dance faculty Amanda, Meredith, and Whitney for opening my eyes to the world of dance and pushing me to strive for the Dance Minor. I could never repay you three enough for the heart and soul you put into your teaching and the support and love you give to your students. You have taught me to speak through movement and share my art through dance. There are so many faculty and staff I thank for their support and hard work they have put in to my education. Along the way I’ve made life long friends and I couldn’t have made it this far without them. To Jenna Redmond, Brad Kelm, and Scarlett Barron. I cannot begin to fathom what college would have been like without you three. You three are my rocks and I have loved every minute we got at UTA together. From laughter to tears we have accomplished our goals and stayed true to one another throughout this time. Our friendship doesn’t stop here and I know it will last for a lifetime. There are dozens of others that have impacted my life and I thank you all for being friends in my life. UTA has a dear place in my heart. I will always look back and smile at the time I got with you all! Always remember to put your heart into everything you do.

Love, Cole. 

Photo: Cole Sheffield (L), Bradley Kelm (R), The Music Man

Natalie Reyes

BA Theatre Arts

At the beginning of the semester we were asked to pick a quote from a theatre director as our first assignment in Directing class. I chose this quote by Anne Bogart; “You cannot create results. You can only create conditions in which something might happen.” I like this quote as it gets closer to graduation because it is relevant to my own personal journey, but I think it is something we can all relate to in some way. I have spent the past five years learning how to give myself a chance to do something more than I expect from myself. I am most definitely a reserved person, so when I decided theatre was what I wanted to do, you can imagine how I felt when I realized how much I had to put myself forward. As I look back to my freshman year and how things have changed since then, I realize I am really the same person, but with more knowledge and confidence in myself, living in the world around me and the theatre arts. Coming to UTA has been a big reason for that. It was not just about going to the next school and finishing a degree for me, it was a challenge to learn how to function in a new environment and with new people. It was because of this I realized I couldn’t just be comfortable with where I was and shouldn’t limit my possibilities because of an idea of how things should be or how I wanted them to be. I am so thankful to the kind of professors I have had and to fellow classmates who have inspired me just by seeing them perform and accomplish things themselves. I am grateful for the opportunities and chances I took, and I admit, there is still even more I could have done, but knowing that only means I can do more in the future that is to come. What I hope for those graduating with me and those still inching towards their degree is to keep creating conditions for something to happen in your life. Don’t let fear, perfectionism, other people’s words, this weird time we are living in, or anything else hold you back from doing the best that you can do. The learning doesn’t cease here, but we have the tools and knowledge that will help us along the way. Break a leg and stay healthy!

Karla Zamora

BFA Performance

I know many of you have heard many speeches start off with “UTA wasn’t my first choice…”

Well I am here to say that UTA was proudly my first choice.

Here’s a fun fact, this lovely school of ours is the alma mater of both my mother and my older sister. Why would I want to go any other school that wasn’t so close to home and who’s campus I had been on many times and already knew backwards and forwards.

It also brings a lot of warmth to my heart that the earliest memory I have, is seeing my mother graduate and walk across the stage at Texas Hall when I was only 4 years old. I knew that UTA was the school for me.

I would like to say that we have the best department at this school. I don’t know of any other department that genuinely cares for its students, and have given the guidance, compassion, and overall care for our wellbeing that all faculty and staff have shown us.

Natalie: Your love for theatre history and Tennessee are unmatched, your enthusiasm is contagious (is it okay to use that word right now?!) and you are the sweetest soul I have ever encountered.

Andrew: Thanking for making me feel as if I could run my own my theatre if wanted. Who knows maybe one day there might be a “Casa De Arte” Theatre. Also thank you for instilling in me that stage managers are pretty much super humans and we would the backbone of a show if they didn’t exist.  You are so formal and professional, and remind me of Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, and sprinkle some Gene Kelley in there. Both you and Natalie should take over the TCM channel.

Detra: You are the ultimate definition of tough love. That’s about as much as I can say that sums up all of these semesters with you.

I wouldn’t have wanted to learn from you in any other way. All you ever want for you student is to dig as deep as we can, even if you have to pull it out of us. It all out of wanting to see those lightbulbs go off and give a genuine product. Thank you for casting me in Ladies in Waiting, which gave me one of one greatest gifts of friendships I’ve ever had, and I pray that they last a lifetime.

Felicia: You cast me in my first show. I will always hold Midsummer close and being in an Oberon fairy closer. Thank you for having me dive deeper that into Shakespeare that I ever have before, and for that I have a newfound love and finally know why people love his works so much. You have given me confidence that I have potential to be Lady M, even though she dies, she’s a dream of role. Lastly, Red nose Clown was one the most eye-opening and vulnerable experiences I have ever had. I learned more of who I am, and I loved every minute of it.

Julienne: One of the most memorable things I have retained is one day in class you said, “We are artist, and everyone else are civilians”. That has really stuck with me, and like something else you have said (many times actually) “That is so freaking cool”. Also, kefir really does the body some good.

Chapa: You’re hilarious, and I appreciate your sense of humor. You’re the best improv (which I’m terrible at still) and stage combat professor out there. But most of all, thank you so much for walking me across campus when I was falling apart and couldn’t keep myself together anymore. You made sure I got to an urgent counseling session, and that I was going to be taken care. For that, I can never thank you enough.

Anne: First of all, I would like to thank you for allowing me the chance to redeem myself in directing. I still leaned things even the second time around! I learned directing take A LOT of patience, trial and error, but the process has incredible payoff.

Mr. Wilkerson: You worked with me, guided me, and a full-on choir director during a concert when I performed my songs so I knew when to speed up and elongate my sound. You helped bring out the confidence I only had in private that I could really sing. You created a safe and secure place for me to sing.

I simply cannot thank any of y’all enough for teaching me all that you collectively have. All of you deserve endless praise. Thank UTA Department of Theatre Arts for giving me some of the best; memories, leaning experiences, life lessons, and friendships I’ve had thus far in my life. Lord knows I wouldn’t have been able to survive this journey without them.

Go Mavs!

Photo: Karla Zamora (L), Jordan La Grenade (R), Ladies in Waiting