At Texas Christian University, you’ll gain the highest quality artistic and academic theatre education with our BFA professional training program in a liberal arts environment. Choose from BFA specializations in acting, musical theatre, all areas of design, technical production and theatre studies. You’ll study theatre in a major metropolitan area that is a vibrant center for the arts. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex boasts outstanding professional theatre companies—many of which offer internships to Theatre TCU students—as well as superior museums and performances in music and dance.
Today, we are talking to four current BFA theatre students to see why they chose TCU, how much they love it, and what they plan to do with their degree in the future.
Tell us about you?
T.K. Gray, BFA Theatre Design (Costume Design): Hi! I’m T.K. Gray. I’m from Madison, Mississippi, and I’m a BFA Theatre Major with a Design Emphasis at TCU. I love theatre, art history, and vintage fashion, so, naturally, my focus is on costume design! I’ve designed two shows so far at TCU, and I work in the costume studio as well!
Ashley Cranefield, BFA Theatre Design: I was born in Saudi Arabia, but was raised in Houston, Texas until the age of fourteen. I then moved to Doha, Qatar where I went to high school. I moved back to Texas to start at TCU!I am a rising junior BFA Theatre Design student. I was involved in the visual arts and theatre all through high school and attended intensive art programs and theatre masterclasses in preparation for college. I am a member of the Alpha Psi Omega, Theatre Fraternity.
Maroline Johnson, BFA Theatre Design: My name is Maroline Johnson, and I’m originally from Houston, TX. This fall, I’ll be a 4th-year student at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. I’m pursuing a BFA degree in Theatre with an emphasis in Design. For the university’s theatre department, I have been able to design and paint the sets for our shows.
Alex Moorer, BFA Theatre Production: My name is Alexis Moorer and I am a Theatre student at TCU with an emphasis in Production. I am from Plano, Texas where I attended Plano Senior High School. Technical Theatre has been a significant part of my life for over six years and I am now pursuing professional stage management.
What first got you interested in the arts?
T.K.: My mom is a painter and arts teacher, so she definitely piqued my interest in the arts and continues to inspire me to be creative! She has always encouraged me to keep pursuing the arts and find my own style within them.
Alex: I’ve been heavily involved in the arts from a young age. My parents were always willing to sign me up for dance classes, music lessons, and community theatre programs while I was growing up. I found my passion for theatre just before I entered high school and started to experiment with lighting design, scenic construction, and later stage management. I knew by my Junior year that I wanted to continue learning about theatre, and work in the industry. It was hard not to be captivated by the world of theatre. Getting to be a part of collaborative team that creates worlds and tells stories is an experience unlike any other.
How have you grown as an artist since enrolling in TCU?
Maroline: TCU has helped me grow as an artist more than I ever anticipated. After my first year, I decided to switch my emphasis from Musical Theatre to Design. This change was very drastic for me because I had been a performer for so long, and I had never been great at drawing. It was a leap of faith, but I’m so glad I took it because now I have all of these artistic skills that I hadn’t learned before. I have a different perspective on the arts and craftsmanship now, and I’ve had more opportunities to work on our shows than I saw coming.
Alex: Since enrolling, I have become exponentially more confident in my skills as an artist. As a stage manager, they have put much faith in me for various projects and never failed to offer guidance and support through all of the challenges I face. They have also provided me with room to grow and an environment to practice those skills by working with the students as colleagues. Every professor in the department has had a positive influence on my education and have helped me develop skills I didn’t even know I had potential for. I feel I have become significantly more well-rounded as a theatre artist.
What inspires you? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Ashley: I am endlessly inspired by the world around me. Whether it be people, nature, the things going on in the world, I believe there are stories to be told everywhere you look. I have always been fascinated by the idea that everyone has a story. Every stranger that you pass on the street has an identity just as complex as your own. It’s so easy to get lost in our own business and what’s happening in our own lives that we forget we are surrounded by people just like us. I think it’s very important to take the time to learn about other people and understand their own unique point of view as much as possible. As a theatre artist, I see theatre as a unique way to share stories that can make an impact on people and help us all learn about the human condition.
Alex: I very much enjoy learning and going to class. I’m so blessed to be able to develop my skills every day and expand my knowledge about the arts and about the world. I look forward to meeting new people and having meaningful interactions. I’m inspired by other students who work hard for what they are passionate about and I enjoy learning from them. College is such a valuable experience and I don’t want to take a single moment for granted.
Give us a glimpse into a day of TCU.
Alex: As I am pursuing a BFA, the majority of the classes I take are theatre classes! We get to spend most of our time learning what we are most passionate about. As a Production student, I spend a fair amount of time working on projects in the design lab. Usually there are other production and design majors working in there, so you always have some company to bounce ideas off of if you need it. Theatre keeps me busy, but I’m always in great company. While in production for a show, I’ll have a meeting once a week during lunch with the designers and director so we can discuss the process and work out any issues. Most days I will work for a few hours in the scenic studio to help build the sets for the shows. After dinner, I’ll head to the theatre to set up for rehearsal. As a stage manager, I have to attend every rehearsal which allows me to see every scene crafted into the magic that happens onstage during performances. I love getting to be so involved in the process and I’m always very proud of the hard work that goes into the final product. After rehearsal, sometimes I go study in the library or at the campus coffee shop with some of my friends.
What do you plan to do either in the arts or with your artistic talents in the future? And how has TCU helped you get there?
T.K.: After graduating TCU I plan to attend graduate school to further my studies in costume design. Then, I hope to have a career as a professional costume designer! Of course, the curriculum at TCU has helped me so much with improving the skills I need to be a professional designer and further my studies in the future, but I think that the teachers have helped me more than anything. They are always so open to give advice, answer questions, and help me find opportunities!
Maroline: In my future, I want to use my design and painting skills to work with theatres and shops around the country for a few years. I would love to design sets, and I definitely want to be a full-time scenic painter. I’ve contemplated starting my own paint business later in life: one where I could paint/restore furniture, create murals for businesses, or decorate walls in people’s homes. TCU has helped me decide what I want in my future by giving me incredible opportunities to design shows and work in the shop on a daily basis. Becoming a scenic painter at TCU changed my life because I fell completely in love with it, and now I’m planning my future around it.
Alex: I plan to work as a professional stage manager and theatre technician after graduation. I also hope I’m able to use my experiences to teach theatre one day. I feel very strongly about arts education and I want the chance to encourage young people and aspiring artists to continue learning, creating, and appreciating artistic experiences. Just by having met people within our department, I have already been introduced to a few job opportunities. It’s nice to have those connections in the DFW area!
What is one piece of advice you’d give aspiring creatives like yourself?
T.K.: Learn as many skills as you can, and get good at them. It might lead you to a new passion, or at the very least it’s something you can put on the special skills section of your resume!
Ashley: If you happen to be like me, and are afraid of failure, please, please, do not let it stop you. Be bold and take risks. Even if you do fail from time to time, the strongest people are often the ones who have failed over and over again.
What is “art" to you?
T.K.: To me, art is anything that helps you to better understand yourself or the human experience.
Ashley: I think the definition of art is a little bit different for everyone. To me, art is anything that speaks to me. Something that engages my senses and that I draw meaning and inspiration from. What I see as art may have zero effect on someone else, but I believe art is meant to be fluid, and open to each person’s own interpretation.
Alex: Art is a window to humanity. We learn so much about history, society, and the human experience through art. It teaches us empathy and self-expression, and evokes powerful thoughts and feelings. Exposure to the arts in school is essential for developing creativity and helping children to learn and get excited about not only education, but life and the beauty the world has to offer. Having an appreciation for art has made the simplest parts of life all the more enjoyable and I hope the art I help create brings joy to others.
My favorite thing about TCU is:
T.K.: My favorite thing about TCU’s design program is how much one-on-one attention you get from all of your professors! The class size makes it so I know all of my professors really well, and I definitely get to learn so much more from them in that setting.
Alex: The people I get to work with every day. TCU Theatre has such a strong support system. Everyone is so kind and supportive of one another. I felt immediately welcomed and knew it was exactly where I belonged. The support you receive from the faculty and your peers is unmatched and it’s such a wonderful environment to grow. We all want each other to succeed and knowing the entire department is in your corner helps you become more confident as an artist.
What would you tell a high school student considering TCU?
T.K.: There are a lot of wonderful programs out there, but TCU has a special place in my heart because of the wonderful community of people that make up the theatre department. Even when my teachers are pushing me to do my best, I feel like I always have someone rooting for me!
Ashley: I would recommend theatre TCU to anyone looking for a community of theatre artists who genuinely love what they do.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
T.K.: I took Latin for 5 years in high school, and all I remember is salve! (hello!) and a few lines of Ovid!
Ashley: I am secretly obsessed with astronomy.
Alex: I play for TCU’s club Ultimate Frisbee team! A few weekends out of every semester, we travel to other cities and states to compete in tournaments. I’ve been playing for two years.
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