Dawn Schmid '15
Senior musical theatre major from Columbia, Ill.
- Alpha Psi Omega honorary theatre fraternity
- Dean’s List
- Chamber Choir and Concert Choir
- Dance Ensemble
- Marching Bearcat Band color guard
- Avidity Winter Guard
- Color guard coach at Collinsville (Ill.) High School
Musical theatre major Dawn Schmid’s latest role is an offstage one. She is helping
to collect and transcribe the stories of students, faculty, staff and alumni for the
“McKendree: Share Your Story Project.” The Theatre Department is turning them into an original production that will be
performed at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts from March 26 to 29.
Dawn and other students are gathering material from several sources - email, written submissions, audio and video interviews, social media posts and a web page. “We are collecting as many as possible. We would love to have so many stories that the show is different every night. That is the goal - that we have too much to work with,” said Dawn, who is co-writing the script.
“We’re adapting other people’s words and acting out what they wrote. The coolest thing throughout is, everyone is finally realizing their stories are important. Once they start telling their story, they realize it is a bigger part of the ‘McKendree experience’ than they thought. We are all McKendree; that’s what we want to focus on. We all create this atmosphere.”
Dawn is the play’s assistant director. “This is actually my first time getting behind the scenes and directing something,” she said. “I’m excited to have that distance from the project and to get to direct.”
She hopes the result will be both entertaining and thought provoking. “As my professor likes to say, ‘Theatre should poke you.’”
Storytelling is at the heart of musical theatre, her individually designed major. A performance-oriented study that integrates music, drama, dance and technical production, it showcases Dawn’s versatile talent. “That’s one reason I wanted to do musical theatre. It’s the best combination of singing and acting. My voice teacher has been great with giving me the literature to sing and act at the same time so I can work not only on my singing but also on how to tell a story.”
Internationally renowned opera soprano Christine Brewer offered similar feedback in a recent master class. Receiving one-on-one vocal instruction from the McKendree alumna was “fantastic, it was wonderful,” said Dawn. “She said, ‘You just have to tell a story.’”