Addie has “done theater” their whole life. Yet when Addie enrolled at NVU, they expected to pursue either an anthropology or wellness and alternative medicine degree program. Then Addie took an acting class during their second semester and loved it: “I felt such a connection.” The following year, Addie switched to the performance, arts, and technology degree program — right before COVID-19 closed campuses throughout the country.
“Theater during COVID became an interpersonal impersonal thing,” Addie said. “It had this restriction that we had to adapt to. I learned so much from doing theater in quarantine that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.”
The theater project that took shape during quarantine in fall 2020 became a national award-winning piece and Addie was part of the team of students who developed it. Called “The Monument,” the piece was selected for presentation at the Region 1 American College Theater Festival and then took home a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Award at the national level.
For Addie, the production “blossomed into this amazing, impactful piece that we were able to share with so many people because it wasn’t in person. And it went a lot farther than anyone imagined.”
The project exemplifies what the PAT students are gaining in this program, Addie said. “We’re not just studying one thing,” Addie said. “We’re doing set design, studying literature — everything that goes into creating plays and movies, every aspect of performance art. We’re learning how to push the envelope, how to create art and theater in new ways, not just in the ways that have been done before. It’s so unique. It’s amazing. I love it.”
Their first full year in the PAT program completed, Addie knows they want to keep doing this work. “I really want to be an actor, and I want to carry the spirit of this program into the industry,” which Addie explains as “a nurturing space to step out of the box.”
Addie describes the PAT program as non-competitive and grounded in the idea that everyone has something to offer. After graduation, Addie plans to help create more spaces that are open and inclusive like this program.
Addie, who grew up in S. Burlington and transferred to NVU from another small college, says, “The environment here is so conducive to success. All of the professors are committed to their students. They are genuinely invested in my success and know me. It’s a real community.”
Northern Vermont University’s original online theater piece, “The Monument,” took home a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Award in the national awards ceremony on Friday, May 22. This marks the second time that this piece, created by students in NVU’s Performance, Arts, and Technology program, has been recognized by the Kennedy Center — first when it was selected for presentation at the Region 1 American College Theater Festival held virtually in late January, and now as an award winner at the national level.