Graduates reminisce on their time at the Phoenix

Taylor Williams

“So, what are your plans after you graduate?”

For many senior students in the Department of Theatre, this question has been on a seemingly endless loop for the last several weeks. Whether it’s enrolling in a master’s program, starting a new career, or embarking on a trip around the world, post-graduation life looks different for everyone. So as the countdown to graduation comes to a close, we decided to check in with a few graduating students to see what they’ll remember most from their time at the Phoenix.

“The camaraderie and the collaboration are what I will remember most,” decided fourth-year student Hannah Abbey. “And the fact that we got to use our creativity to its full extent.” 

Abbey’s classmate, Brock Keeler, agreed, adding, “All of the people – and all of the many, many, many hours that I have spent inside this building.” 

It’s not uncommon for students to spend late nights holed up in the design room, rehearsal rooms, or the production office, working tirelessly on everything from directing scenes to set models in 1/4 inch scale. Looking back on their years of hard work and late nights, we asked graduates what advice they would have given themselves back in first year.

“Three things,” began fourth-year student Alison Roberts. “You have nothing to prove to anyone. Your best is good enough. Grades do not define you.” 

Fellow fourth-year student Branden Sugden offered this advice to his past self: “Make your own education, make your own opportunities. You truly get out of [your degree] what you put in.”

Devon Vecchio echoed this statement, adding, “Get involved! Everything got so much better once I got the opportunity to be a dresser for Comedy of Errors.”

“You’ll figure it out eventually,” chimed Parker Feenstra. “You don’t have to figure it all out right now.” 

Kye McInnis expressed a similar sentiment, saying, “The Phoenix is a really good place to come and figure out what you want to do with yourself.”

When we asked our graduates a final question – what one word they would use to describe their time at the Phoenix – their answers ranged from heartfelt to playful to reminiscent. 

“Family” was the word that stood out to Abbey, while Feenstra chose “inspiring,” and Keeler decided on “community.” 

Sydney Hunt chose the word “yes,” elaborating, “I said yes to every single opportunity I could and I think I’m all the better for it!” 

Certainly, the Phoenix means something slightly different to each graduate. Over the last several years, it has become a place of companionship, compassion, and at times, chaos. Regardless of what the future holds, we hope graduating students will look back on their time here and know that they will always have a home at the Phoenix.

Graduating students Olivia Reid-Friesen and Brock Keeler. 

New Theatre grad Rose Cory talks about her time at the Phoenix

Graduating students Parker Feenstra and Devon Vecchio.