Emily White '16 recently won a dramaturgy award for her work on Middletown, an Emerson Stage production, in which she was also an actor. (Photo by Nick Eaton '17)
Theatre Studies student Emily White ’16 has won a major dramaturgy award for her work on the Emerson Stage production Middletown. Emerson Stage is the producing organization of the College’s Performing Arts Department.
White, a Boston native and former actor with Boston Children’s Theatre, received the LMDA/KCACTF Student Dramaturgy Regional Award. She was nominated by faculty member Robert Duffley and associate professor Magda Romanska, who were her dramaturgy advisors.
“Combining her acting training and dramaturgical sensibility, Emily is able to provide a unique perspective on theater performance,” Romanska said. “She is able to draw on her extensive knowledge of theater and performance theory and history, as well as her practical acting experience….It is gratifying to know that the KCACTF jury recognized Emily's work.”
Working as a dramaturg—the person behind the research and development of a production—was not something White had done extensively before receiving her recent award. She credits Duffley and Romanska for helping her gain experience.
The path to winning was not an easy one. In order to be considered, White had to compile records and write two essays detailing all of her work on the show. It took her a month to organize, and her final submission exceeded 80 pages. The endeavor was time consuming, but White’s work paid off, especially in the eyes of her peers.
“People I didn’t know very well would stop to congratulate me. It was really nice,” White said.
White’s extensive work with the show included examining the script; assembling packages with background information on the show for the actors; taking rehearsal notes; assisting in making a promotional newsletter and video; acting in two of the production’s scenes; and, her favorite portion, making an interactive lobby display for the audience.
The display, a board for audience members to post their hometown memories, fit well with the show’s theme.
“The town Middletown is not a real place but rather a state of mind and a collective memory that people have as humans,” White said. “I wanted to make a presentation of the memories our audience members have. It was really cool. People posted a lot of fun responses and I loved reading all of them.”
White enjoyed reflecting on the work she completed, but winning the award for her efforts gave her a boost of confidence.
“I feel kind of validated and think that maybe I can actually do this as a job,” White said with a laugh. “It’s amazing to be recognized for this.”
When White is not in class or working on theater productions, she can be found working as an usher for ArtsEmerson productions or singing with a cappella group Achoired Taste.