Acting as a human

Cassandra Cushman

Cassandra Cushman ’08

Actor

Academic focus: theater major, dance minor

Internship: acting apprentice, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

Study abroad: Queen’s University Belfast, through The Institute of Study Abroad at Butler University

Advanced degree: M.F.A. in acting, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

I appreciate that while I was at Mount Holyoke, I was allowed to pursue a wide range of topics while focusing on growing as an actor. I was able to take dance and music classes, learn about theater history and performance studies and participate in productions across the Five Colleges. I learned a lot about myself as a human while studying at Mount Holyoke, which is the foundation for my work as a professional actor.

All of the people I interacted with, the books I read and the classes I took allowed me to expand the idea of who I was and what stories I could tell through my art. I worked on world premiere plays and created my own acting performance project as a senior. I read dozens of plays, learned about the great makers of theater who came before me and practiced my technique through various forms. I connected with colleagues whom I still work with to this day.

For me, being an actor is simply reflecting the human condition. I am glad that I had a liberal arts experience where I was able to engage my mind in such diverse ways, while always returning home to Rooke Theatre.

After college, I chose to pursue an M.F.A. in acting and found that I had such a wide breadth of knowledge in my field from my time at Mount Holyoke. I learned lessons that have carried me to New York City, on to film, to the stages of The Public and Roundabout theaters and beyond.