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Thespian for Life – Devin Braaten

For those of you who don’t know me, hi, my name is Devin Braaten. I grew up in small town Haines, Alaska and I’m majoring in both Theatre and Communication. Last year, I wrote an article for Emerald Gyurizca’s Redefining Beauty blog and never expected to have such a great response and support system. When I was asked to write a Sir Jimmie Blog, I had no idea how to effectively incorporate my message about being a Jimmie, when really the answer was staring me in the face. My life here in the theatre.

I came to the University of Jamestown (Jamestown College at the time) under the impression that I would graduate with a Nursing Degree. I thought that was what I really wanted to do with my life. After a year in the Nursing program, I came to realize that Nursing was not meant for me. Communications and theatre are really what I want to do and who I am.

My freshman year I tried out for my very first play. I had never tried out for a play before and had never been in any sort of theatrical performance. I fell in love. Being on stage gave me confidence in who I am as a person and allowed me to form into who I really was. The first time on stage was a wonderful feeling! Keeping character, the adrenaline of potentially forgetting a line, and the fun of giving the audience a story, a story that could give a meaning to life or a clearer picture of the human condition. My passion took flight. I auditioned for as many plays as I could (The Pretty Trap, Carousel, The Cover of Life, and An Absolute Turkey being some of many).

If you know me personally, you would know that I am a very feminine guy. Ever since childhood I have been made fun of for my feminine traits. Growing up in a world where men “must be masculine” was difficult for me as a kid and into my high school years. Many times I was called a “girl” for how I acted or how I dressed. It wasn’t until I was in college, and specifically theatre, when I was able to embrace who I am and found friends who loved me for me. I would elaborate further, but I want to talk about the theatre program and its amenities.

Michael McIntyre is an amazing professor and an equally empowering director and man. His leadership style while directing plays encourages the actors to bring out their best, while allowing the actor to find the character themselves, without much help from him. At least until we are two weeks out from a show. Being directed by Mike has really allowed me to explore who I am and become more comfortable and confident in myself. I would truly recommend to everyone that they audition for at least one show.

To connect theatre to my personal message; you can be whoever you want to be. We are told this by our parents, by our friends, and by our teachers. Sometimes we never take to heart what they mean, “Be whoever you want to be.” What do they mean? What I think they mean is this; your body is the vessel for your soul. The character you want to play is entirely up to you, by how you act in this great stage called life.

My journey to success here at the University of Jamestown started when I first walked into theatre auditions. The university gave me purpose through the message that I could give, through the stories I told. I am proud to be a Jimmie and I never regret coming to Jamestown, ND from small town Alaska. My journey has only just begun.

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Posted:April 22, 2016

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