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Alumni Spotlight: Seth Kaltwasser

March 2014

Major: Theatre, Class of 2009

Currently: In 2012, I accepted a staff position at St. Croix Festival Theatre, where I currently serve as Arts Education Coordinator and Development Associate. I also get to act and direct for the company; 2014 will be my fifth season performing with Festival.

Post Grad: After graduating, I spent two years living in St. Paul, Minnesota, acquainting myself with the Twin Cities theatre scene. During that time, I toured with CLIMB Theatre, served as a Production Intern for Minneapolis' Jungle Theatre, performed in a few shows for St. Croix Festival Theatre in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, and even had the opportunity to return home to the Quad Cities for productions with The Curtainbox Theatre Company and Circa '21. I have also done a lot of writing since graduating from Ambrose; I've written three stage adaptations of classic children's stories and one original play, all of which have been produced by Festival Theatre over the past two years.

Favorite Memory: Oh, geez. The list could go on for pages and pages. A few obvious highlights: Pippin was magic, truly, from the first rehearsal to the closing performance. Working on Melissa James Gisbon's [sic] in the Studio Theatre with director Sean Tweedale was an adventure of the best kind. It was also a joy to play George Deever in Michael Kennedy's production of All My Sons and Mr. Bardolph in Cory's Lettice and Lovage; as each of those characters gets only about 20 minutes of on-stage time, both roles are classic examples of dynamite "small" roles.

What I miss most about the department: The people. Absolutely, the people. The more time passes, the more I realize that's what I miss the most. For the rest of my life, I think, I'll be looking for opportunities to work on productions with my old friends from Galvin.

What inspires me: The other day I watched a pair of veteran actors perform William Hanley's Whisper Into My Good Ear. The production elements were minimal: one set piece, a few simple props, lights up, lights down, that was all. My fellow audience members and I were on the edges of our seats from beginning to end. In this world of digital media and instant access, the theatre inspires me. How fortunate to be a theatre artist; to live and work in a medium that is all about presence and the present moment.

Biggest post-SAU graduation surprise: I have two. The first surprise was that building a professional life in the theatre world is very hard work, more difficult than I had even expected. The second surprise was that I was ready, and this is thanks to the theatre community at SAU and in the Quad Cities.

Advice: Invest, as deeply as you can, in your time at Ambrose. Work hard and pay attention. It will be worth it.

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