Hannah and Taylor: West’s Own Stars

Staff Writer Jimmy Kralj

They have graced the stage in the West auditorium many of times. They’ve been a Godmother, Cinderella, Shylock, Portia, as well as a variety of other roles but now they hope to expand their repertoire as they take their talents to the college stage. Hannah Barbeau and Taylor Peterson-Burke will both be continuing their acting careers in college. Hannah will be attending Northern Illinois University in Rockford, Illinois and Taylor will be attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Hannah, just one of 15 students to be accepted into the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program where she will closely work with the students studying different acting techniques. In her junior year of the program she will be traveling to Moscow, Russia where they will be study acting at the Moscow Art Theatre. Then in her senior year, Hannah will have a senior showcase in Chicago where she could potentially get an agent or a job with a theatre company. At Ball State University Taylor will audition to get accepted into the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program in November where she too will do intense work in the field of acting. Taylor said the reason she chose Ball State University was because it just felt right. “The students and staff all have a similar passion, and the BFA program is just like a big family”.

Applying to get into these schools was no easy task. Both Hannah and Taylor had to apply to many schools because of the intense competition amongst applicants. Next they both had to apply for general admission to the school, and after that came auditions. Auditions depend on the school, some take place on campus but many take place at the unified auditions in Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles. Hannah and Taylor both went to unified auditions in Chicago where the atmosphere was intense. According to Taylor, “The entire Hilton Hotel was filled with theatre hopefuls and the energy was all around”. Students are placed directly with their competition head to head, face to face. At these auditions students prepare a number of monologues, compile a resume, and hand all of that to the school’s delegates along with a headshot. Some auditions require vocal performance as well as some dancing. Then after all of this, students wait to hear from their schools.

Both Hannah and Taylor would not be at the point they are today if it were not for their involvement in high school theatre. “Acting in high school shaped me as a person and has taught me that theatre has the power to change lives” says Hannah. Taylor’s involvement in theatre at West has taught her that things are not always perfect “and that you have to work hard”. Both students just want to do what they love; act. According to Taylor, this path in life is not something you want, rather something you need. “You have to be able to strip yourself down to complete truth, if you can’t then your not meant for this”. For these two Tosa West graduates, acting is not just a hobby but a life style. Hannah says that “an artist’s job is a hard one, but is of the utmost importance for our society”. Both hope to get acting jobs, do what they love, and change people for the better. Perhaps Taylor put it best, “Its more important to create the art rather than the celebrity”.