Don’t Call Me an Actress, Call Me an Actr-ivist

Acting. It’s the big stage, bright lights, big city right? It’s the hope to make it into a major motion picture or on Broadway and get a star on the walk of fame. Acting, as a career, is for those who dedicate years to studying it or those born with unmatched talent. For the rest, acting is an outlet, an arts-based hobby. Right?

These were my early, simple thoughts about acting, but it’s true. When I started college, I gave up all my wonderful ‘extracurriculars’ – band, choir, theater – all because I didn’t think there was enough time for the arts in my life. More importantly, I felt like I had to prioritize what I was studying, and I couldn’t seem to figure out how to unite international development and theater. Until Rehearsing Change…

My Rehearsing Change study abroad renewed my belief in the power of the arts to create real, meaningful social change. All of my classes – especially my Theater for Social Change and Storytelling classes – pushed me to be creative and approach old problems with innovative solutions. In the creative processes, I found the linkages I had been searching for when I was a freshman in college.

In Quito, I designed and acted in a small play about gender violence while simultaneously developing a project to help eliminate machismo society in the city. In the Kichwa community Tzawata, myself and the other international students presented a play which explored both indigenous discrimination in Ecuador and our own personal identity struggles from our lives in the United States. Between two fields, development and theater. Between two worlds, Ecuador and the United States. These were just some of the many bridges I built thanks to Rehearsing Change.

Those bridges are now my inspiration and motivation to redefine the arts and its relationship to other fields. Acting, singing, dancing, painting…They can be incorporated into any traditional, “academic” field with just a little bit of creativity. And vice versa. Geometry, physics, anatomy…They can find a place within the arts as well. Rehearsing Change helped me discover this two way street, and now I’m fighting to de-compartmentalize the educational sector. I want to inspire others to be creative like Daniel Bryan and my counterparts inspired me.

At the end of the day, everything is acting. From the way you talk to your boss to the way you dress. So I would consider myself an actress. But there’s a greater power to theater, and all sorts of arts, to influence life. A power to create social changes greater than ourselves. I want to be part of the new interdisciplinary movements to make this beautiful world that we live in a better place. For that, you can call me an actr-ivist.

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