Meet Kelley Barr ‘21, Theatre Major

Coming to WWU 

I fell in love with the campus and the town and in doing so, found out that William Woods had a very good Theatre program, which I liked because I was looking to go into music and theatre. At the time, I wanted to major in education and the department was nice. It was a lot better than other places I visited. I went to a few other bigger schools and preferred the smaller school.  



As a Theatre Major  

I picked Theater because I loved the ability to self-express and at the same time, find yourself in a character. Even if you think the character is nowhere near anything like you as a person, there is something there that you can find as a connection. If you don’t, it is a way to describe things personality-wise about yourself that you did not know or about the role. If it is something you normally would not get into, it opens up the opportunity for you to learn more and to develop the character. I also have this love for the stage and performing. I fell in love with being able to create something and show someone else that has them smile and enjoy it. Being a part of Theatre made it that much more exponentially possible for me.  


Advantages of Majoring in Theatre 

You get to touch so many aspects of life. You are not dealing with just one culture or one religion or one style. You get to learn what it is like in the business world. You get to learn what it is like being an actor because sometimes you play actors. You get to learn what it is like to be in the medical world or in a completely different century. Drowning Girls is set in the year 1910 in England. It is a completely different culture than what we currently live in. I feel like that is the biggest advantage of the theatre – you get to learn about so many different things. It is not just a brief touch and go because these experiences stay with you and you never know what will spark your interest enough for you to want to research more into a topic. I remember taking a class and learning about an acting style called Kabuki, which is an Asian style of acting that is unique. Learning about it in class got me interested enough to where when I do get a chance I try and dive more into it and research different Kabuki plays. You never know what is going to pop up at you. I never thought that I would have any kind of remorse or sorrow for the women of World War II in Nazi Germany and what they went through until we did the play All Through The Night. I feel we go see plays because it is entertaining, but you also go to learn and think. When we did All Through The Night, I only did technical work and did not do a lot on stage. I really did not have a chance to really dive into any of those characters because it was just not my focus. However, when I got to see the run through with sound and lights, it was breathtaking, horrifying and inspiring within two hours. It proves that there is so much that goes into a show. As an audience member, you get to experience it all at once.    


Creating Everlasting Moments   

I have learned so much from those around me at William Woods, even those who have come in after me, not only in the acting sense but just in general as a people. I have found my patience has grown. I had a lack of listening skills that was pointed out to me that I am forever grateful for because now I do sit and tend to listen more. We have so much fun with each other no matter what we are doing whether it is inside or outside the theatre. We go out to eat together, which is one of our traditions during show week and all hang out. I have never been through funnier times.  



Becoming One of the Stars in Drowning Girls 

 For our most recent play Drowning Girls, I am doing more than I think I have ever done before with a character. I am looking more into the history of not only the character but also how the character interacts with the other two characters in the play. It is based off a true story and I am finding myself going more in-depth than ever before. Every rehearsal I am finding something new that I am asking questions about. Sometimes I will get to a show and ask questions about it or hit a stopping point and it is rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse. Working with my co-stars Olivia and Emma is really unique because we all really delve into our characters and try to refine as many details about these women as we can. I also find that they help a lot to find little things that I didn’t notice, especially when I am speaking. I either go way too fast or overemphasize consonants. And Emma is a blessing when it comes to accents – I can only really do a semi-decent Scottish one but she really knows how to pick out the distinguishing traits. The chemistry between us as characters when on stage is really the most unique part of this show because it helps us tell the story properly. Acting is more than reciting lines, blocking and action. It’s being able to read and play off the other actors, to bring these people and their relationships to life and have them be as real as the person that’s sitting next to you. 


After The Woods 

After graduating here, I will spend a few years working with local companies doing productions either on stage or backstage while I save up some money to eventually open my own theatre company. Ideally, I would love to be somewhere on the East Coast with lots of theatre opportunities.