Southeast graduate will head to Juilliard

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

When Emily Wilson received a phone call from the Juilliard School in May, she knew she had done something right. She just wasn't sure what it was.

But the voice on the other end of the phone was telling her she'd been chosen for a professional internship at the internationally known performing arts school.

"It was a long shot," Wilson said of her application to the program. "I didn't think I had a chance in the world, but I thought I'd give it a try."

Now the December graduate of Southeast Missouri State University's theater program is getting prepared to make the trip to Juilliard on Sept. 5, when she'll start her internship in stage management. She was one of six people selected for the internship in stage management.

While at Juilliard, Wilson will work behind the scenes on stage productions including dance, theater and opera. She calls the experience a career-boosting opportunity like no other.

Having the Juilliard name on her resume will help, Wilson said, but getting to network with people in the industry at what may be the world's most famous performing arts school will be even more important.

"In this business, it really is about who you know," Wilson said.

Juilliard was founded in 1905 as an institution to rival Europe's elite music academies. Over the years the New York City school added dance and drama to its curriculum and became a household name among performing arts academies in the process.

Dr. Kenn Stilson, chairman of Southeast's Department of Theatre and Dance, said no Southeast theater student had ever been awarded an internship to Juilliard before Wilson.

In his opinion, the honor couldn't have gone to a more deserving candidate.

"She's very much of an intellectual artist," said Stilson. "She's got the artist's sensitivity, but she has a really good feel for all aspects of theater. That's what we look for in somebody who's going to eventually evolve as a director, and stage manager is a good starting point."

Wilson worked as a stage manager on several Southeast theater productions and appeared on stage as an actress and dancer.

Stilson said the internship is almost as prestigious for Southeast as it is for Wilson.

"You judge your department on the success of your alumni," Stilson said.

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