Providence is perhaps one of the most creative centers in New England. The city deserves its title of “The Creative Capital” Rich in artistic expression and performing spectacle, the several colleges of Rhode Island are geared for the performing arts, and one field the state stands out in is theater. Providence College, the University of Rhode Island and Brown all have had significant success in their theater programs, but no area college can quite match the Rhode Island College theater program in success after graduating.
Whether on the local, regional, or national level, graduates from the RIC theater graduates have no problem finding jobs in the real world. Theater program from Rhode Island College have gone on to be award-winning actors on the big screen, silver screen and the Broadway stage.
Viola Davis, who gradated from RIC in 1988, has forged a career from her education that has gone on to dazzle countless audiences. In 2001, Davis won a Tony Award for her role in “King Hedley II,” and was nominated in 1997 for her role in “Seven Guitars.” Davis also starred alongside with Meryl Streep in “Doubt,” and has most recently starred in the film “The Help.”
While Viola Davis may be the most famous actress to come out of RIC, she is not the only graduate to find success in the theater field. Jennifer Mudge graduated from RIC in 1995, and has starred along Al Pacino in the 2010 film “You Don’t Know Jack.” Mudge now stars alongside Kelsey Grammer in the HBO Drama “BOSS.”
Other names on the massive list of star RIC Graduates include Michael Roderick, Broadway producer and artistic director of Small Pond Entertainment, Lenny Schwartz, a nationally renowned screenwriter with productions in California and New York, and Laura Brigham, who is the casting director of Festival 56 in Illinois.
“The RIC theatre program was very helpful in the real world…I wouldn’t be doing what I am today without having graduated from it,” said Schwartz.
“RIC really taught me to stand on my own two feet, and to trust myself. They have all the elements you need in a theatre career right there, but you have to be responsible for seeking those elements,” said Brigham. “Too many programs these days hand you everything on a platter. RIC makes you work for what you want, which is what a theatrical career in the performing arts requires.”
“The environment there was competitive but without malice. Students work together as a team which is what theatre is all about,” Brigham added.
For years, Providence has been one of the creative epicenters of New England, which can be seen in the ‘Creative Capital’s’ theater atmosphere. Many colleges in the area boast a wonderful theater program, but none have been quite as successful as the Rhode Island College program.
Whether it’s on the national level or the local, the RIC theatre program’s unique style of preparing its students has shown in the success of those who leave the program.