Unity and Diversity: Gustavus Alumni Collaborate in the Art of TheaterGustavus Adolphus College has a variety of opportunities and networks for students and alumni, with two alumni sharing their experience and advice.
Posted on March 1st, 2024 by

Photo credit: Alex Clark and Andre Shoals

Gustavus Adolphus College has a variety of opportunities and networks for students and alumni. Whether you are in psychology, sports management, or studio art, there is something for you to take away from the school and a community here waiting for you.

Two theater alumni Constance Brevell ‘14 and Brandon Raghu ‘19, are putting on a show together called “Toil and Trouble,” with Brevell stage managing and Raghu directing. This play will be held at Yellow Tree Theatre (SPT-6, Small Professional Theatre tier 6) in Osseo, Minnesota, with performances on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m. The two shared their experiences during their time here and reflected on what made the school so special.

“I think we speak much of the same language and bring similar perspectives and theatrical psychology to the process, so that has been very fun and fulfilling,” said Raghu ‘19 when asked about how it feels to work with a Gustavus alum.

“It has been really great to work with Gusties. I have worked with Gusties in the past and when you meet someone who has gone to Gustavus you instantly have this connection. So I think Brandon and I both brought such positive energy, so it was really fun to have someone who matches your energy while keeping it professional” echoed Brevell.

Brevell then went on to speak of her time in the Theater Department, saying “I think during my time at Gustavus I did theater with some pretty dope people who still do theater, and I think it is all about who you were around that makes the experience. It is about who you went to school with and how that translates into the professional world.”

Not only are there benefits to be gained from your fellow classmates, but also from the professors here at Gustavus Adolphus College. Raghu elaborating on this, said “I took a fair share of my directorial skills from Henry McCarthy, who was fundamental in my education on not only technique and theory but also in relationships and people. We share the same passion for the craft, and Henry showed me how to take the job seriously while not taking myself too seriously. My experience at Gustavus with my professors and fellow students were all instrumental in how I foster relationships and how I emphasize a joyful environment.”

It is important to note that the impacts of the community that you foster here will prove useful in the professional world.

As Brevell  said, “the theater community here is very big but very small. Everyone knows everyone that knows everyone, and it is not necessarily about who you know but about who knows you. You have to be in rooms. Making connections is very important and it is important to be strong in your craft and be strong in what you want to do.”

The two alumni then launched into how they have reached points in their respective careers and offered up advice to current students based on their own experiences.

“If you are passionate about it, then do it” said Brevell. “It is everyone’s own journey, and I know that I personally worked really hard to do this. It is a craft and it is fun and I think it is important to not be so hard on yourself when things go wrong because it is not linear. It is okay to put yourself out there. If you want it you have to be hungry for it and do not be afraid to ask for what you want. A closed mouth does not get you that.”

“There is a resiliency that you need to have to succeed, and I think that especially for BIPOC artists. You have to be ready to find your avenue and find your people and team and stick with them” elaborated Raghu. “Gustavus has a liberal arts education and is very unique in that situation, as it allows students to learn multiple skills and have distinguishable disciplines, which I think, in the economical shift in thee theater and art landscape,it is so important to become comfortable in self-production and learning how to work in a gig life. Getting a degree in theater but also spending some time in economics and marketing and learning different avenues and strengths may prove useful in the future of the industry.”

“I echo Brandon when he talks about BIPOC as it is harder for us to get out there, and once you make a connection, stick with it and grow off of that” added Brevell.

Brevell and Raghu ended this by reflecting upon their pasts at Gustavus Adolphus College.

“Gustavus was literally the best four years of my life,” said Brevell. “I always brag about Gustavus, I loved my time there, I love the theater department. Gustavus is truly a special place, and I think Brandon and I are good examples of what that college has molded.”

“For current students and theater majors, the world is smaller than you think and the professors in the theater department are truly the best of the best in their fields. The professors and where their specialties are in their different departments are very highly distinguished and highly credible which you may  not run into often in the professional world” said Raghu. “Being able to make a strong connection with your professors and keep them after you graduate is something that can be very beneficial. Henry McCarthy, for example, and people who are as passionate to educate as any professors at Gustavus are, offer great relationships that you will want after these four years are up.”

There is something truly special offered up at Gustavus Adolphus College in the sense of community that can be found here. It is one that sticks with you long after you graduate and one that will help you through every twist and turn of life.


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