Mallory Ward ’16 says one of her best experiences at Earlham was being entrenched in theater, 24 hours straight.
Ward organized the 24-Hour Theater Project her senior year, part of her responsibilities as co-convener The Earlham Theater Company. The project, which was open to anyone, including alumni and community members, brought about a dozen writers together to spend 12 hours writing short, individual sketches.
“Then, for the next 12 hours, the actors, directors and technical side came together to make it happen,” Ward says. “At 10 p.m. on Saturday the sketches were presented. A lot of the sketches were really funny, and we have at least one every year that is a really good, serious sketch. This is an opportunity to let students express themselves. There’s a lot of crazy ideas that are really fun.”
In January of her senior year, Ward received the Dramaturgy Program Note Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Wisconsin. Ward, nine other theater students and three faculty members participated in the festival, which included workshops, competitions and shows.
“It was cool to see what other schools are doing and ways we can improve as a department,” Ward says. “It was good to see how Earlham compares to other schools. For our group being so small, we did really, really well in the competitions.”
The Dramaturgy Program Note Award was based on Ward’s program notes for Earlham’s theater department’s fall presentation of “In the Next Room.”
“Dramaturgy involves historical research, the play’s background, watching the play for continuity and being the director’s eyes and ears,” she says.
During her semester participating in the New York Arts Program, Ward served as a production assistant working with stage management for the off Broadway company The New Group. She also found time to be a part of the Richmond Shakespeare Festival, including serving as an assistant director.
“I like to be creative and acting allows more creativity,” she says. “I am drawn to theater because it is such a collaborative, expressive form of communication. It is more intimate than movies or TV. I have more of an impact on what the audience is seeing. I enjoy responding in the moment.
“What I like about acting is that I am primarily a shy person and an empathetic person. Acting gives me the opportunity to be in someone else’s shoes. It’s exhaustive but very freeing for me because I usually play women who are very vocal and have strong opinions. I get to do something that I don’t normally get to do, and it’s something so unlike myself.”
Ward also is a huge fan of Shakespeare because of the language.
“I have a passion for Shakespeare and adapting Shakespeare in modern contexts,” she says. “I like Shakespeare and how to have modern audiences connect to it.”