UW-Madison Undergraduate student and Department of Theatre and Drama major, Jimmy Dewhurst, was recently named one of just three International Ambassadors at this year’s upcoming USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) convention.
We took a moment to ask Jimmy about this experience.
YOU WERE SELECTED AS ONE OF THREE STUDENT AMBASSADORS FOR THE GLOBAL AWARENESS SESSION AT THIS YEAR’S USITT. HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT IT?
Honestly it is still washing over me how amazing an opportunity this is. As you said, I will be one of three students working as a student ambassador, and the idea of me being one of only three is mind blowing. Since hearing that I had been given this honor, the outpour of congratulations that have come not just from back home, but also from people here at Wisconsin especially within the theater department has made this whole experience all the more better.
ONE OF THE KEY FACTORS IN YOUR SELECTION WAS YOUR EXPERTISE IN THE CHINESE LANGUAGE. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN STUDYING CHINESE? WHY DID YOU WANT TO STUDY THAT PARTICULAR LANGUAGE?
I’m currently in my 8th year of studying the language. My reasoning for studying the language though stretches much farther back. Coming from New York I had access to authentic and delicious chinese food whenever I would go to Chinatown. My family actually has an inside joke that is based off my love for Chinese food and the language: They jokingly tell me that my first words were 小笼包 (the chinese word for soup dumpling). My fascination in the culture grew in 6th grade when I went to China and fell in love with the rich culture and history. To top it all off my mom majored in Chinese in college.
YOU WILL BE MEETING WITH YOUR MENTOR WHILE AT THE USITT CONVENTION LATER THIS MONTH. CAN YOU GIVE US SOME INSIGHT ON WHAT KINDS OF QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT ASK HER?
-Is there a specific part of the technical aspects of theater production in your country in which there is an emphasis? For example, when I was traveling as a student in China I took a mask-making class and attended a production of the Beijing Opera, it was apparent to me that there was a great deal of emphasis on costume and it’s meaning.
-In the US there are many different forms of theater groups, ranging from student run theater to small company-run theaters to major Broadway productions. The space, the technical equipment, the relationship the cast and crew have with each other are dependent on the nature of constraints and freedom the production team has. Is there the same variety available in your country?
-What inspired you to become a professional in the theater world and how did you gain the experience?
WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA YET ON WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO AFTER YOU GRADUATE?
Hopefully up. With any luck I will continue to receive amazing opportunities similar to this one. I applied for an externship at ETC NY for this summer, which would be a HUGE honor considering that one of my focuses here at Wisconsin is lighting. After graduation I have a couple of ideas such as join an organization called Broadway Across Asia. Another idea I had was to try and be hired at one of the major operas in New York. I wouldn’t want a huge role on the show like lead stage manager, just something that would get my name into he program because my grandparents are big fans of the opera and I think that it would mean a lot to them to see me working on one. The ultimate goal however is to work on Broadway.
Jimmy is currently enrolled in the Theatre & Drama’s David Furumoto’s History of Chinese and Japanese Theater class and will be working as an Assistant Stage Manager in our upcoming production of MAGIC TIME by James Sherman.