Kate Arecchi Directing change
Actors change costumes, change roles, change sets, but Kate Arecchi helps students change their lives. With enthusiasm described by a colleague as "extraordinarily positive," JMU's coordinator of musical theatre prepares students for the challenging world of professional theater. "I try to encourage students to be open to and pursue change in themselves, to be willing to risk and try new things in order to grow. Performing artists have to put themselves out there daily, face rejection, and wake up the next day and do it all over again. It is essential to have a strong sense of self." Kate got hers early tagging along with her mother, a singer and musical director. Kate, first on stage at age 4, became a "triple threat" (singer, dancer, actor) and performed widely. Eventually she earned her M.F.A. in directing from Penn State. After spending two years running a high-school theater program, she discovered she loved teaching. "JMU seems to foster a sense of 'anything is possible,'" she says. "Students who change the most are those who jump in and take advantage of opportunities, who seek feedback from professors and walk through doors opened for them." JMU lets students change themselves, she says. Kate is looking forward to another change. "Musical theater is collaborative. Right now musical theater students spend their day running around campus — dance in Godwin, music in the music building and theater classes in Duke and Theatre II." The Forbes Center will allow students to focus and collaborate more with peers and faculty. Change, as Kate's students learn, is a very positive thing.
"At JMU we expect students to not only develop a high level of proficiency in the skills necessary for careers in musical theatre, but to develop as thinking, feeling theatre artists and citizens."