Student Pride

Actor finds "Go-Get-It-Atmosphere" at Prestigious Apprenticeship

After graduation, many theatre students struggle to adapt to the hectic work of professional acting. Senior Cristiana Barbatelli of Mequon, Wis., is determined not to be one of them.

She’s kept an ambitious pace on and behind stage on campus and earned a spot last summer at the Tony Award-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival’s coveted summer acting apprenticeship. In Williamstown, Mass., she worked alongside not just other college students, but also with more seasoned actors in their mid-20s who, she said, “had already been in New York City for a few years.”

Barbatelli more than held her own in this company. “Nebraska Wesleyan prepared me for the fast pace of professional theatre,” she said.

Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Joan Korte credited the focus on building experience that prepares theatre alumni for professional success. “We emphasize the laboratory,” Korte said. “That’s where everything from the classroom comes together.”

The apprentices worked eight shows in two months and attended classes on improvisation, dance and fight choreography and pantomiming. Barbatelli also absorbed the small ways experienced actors worked to keep shows fresh.

“I needed to be immersed in the go-get-it atmosphere,” Barbatelli said.

Following her graduation in May, Barbatelli will get after it herself. She plans to move to New York and set a demanding pace of auditions.