Senior Spotlight: Jayden Luikens

Posted on May 1st, 2020 by

The “Senior Spotlight” series honors graduating fine arts majors for their contributions to the Gustavus community.

Jayden Luikens is a theatre honors major from Savage, Minn. Jayden graduated after fall semester and is currently working to expand his business creating handcrafted props while working as a manager at The Men’s Warehouse. Continuing Assistant Professor in Theatre and Dance Larissa McConnell says she looks forward to seeing what his future holds. “Jayden is multi-faceted, extraordinarily creative, gifted, kind-hearted, and hard working. His range of skills is extensive, as is his passion for excellence,” she says.

We asked Jayden to give us a little insight into his time at Gustavus and how he’s continuing to pursue theatre while living off-campus.

What do you miss most about theatre at Gustavus?
JL: I think I miss the community the most. The feeling that at any point friendship and camaraderie was, at most, a ten-minute walk away. In these trying times, I’m just glad we’re all managing to band together and keep in touch through our technology and our art.

Can you tell us about a favorite memory you have from theatre at Gustavus?
JL: My very first semester with Gustavus T/D, I had the distinct pleasure of rappelling from the orchestra pit above the audience stage left. It was an absolute delight working with my castmates as well as the climbing professionals. Even so, I don’t think I could ever forget the one and only time I very nearly fell freely, narrowly catching myself on a ledge.

How are you continuing your theatre education in your new surroundings?
JL: I’ve always been of the mind that the best way to learn the craft is by watching others perform. To that end, I’ve been extremely grateful to expand my horizons with newer shows being released on multiple streaming platforms during this time of quarantine. What’s more, I’ve been investing more in my craft pursuits, taking the dive into clay sculpture as well as resin casting/silicone molding.

Can you tell us a story about what it’s been like to act at home?
JL: Acting at home is certainly a challenge. I continue to keep up on material and my vocal exercises, but more than that, the quarantine has given me the opportunity to pursue other creative avenues like playwriting. Taking the time to find the silver lining keeps the creativity flowing and my sanity firmly in play.

What professor has made the biggest impact on you and why?
JL: Without a doubt, Larissa McConnell has been an unparalleled influence on me. Her straightforward and supportive approach to learning has given me the tools not only to continue learning, but to support others in the prop and costume community.


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