b'Raising the curtain on a performance careerKenzie James got a good feel for what her future career could be like asThe opportunity to learn from a big-time actress auditioning for plays, TV shows and movies. She likedpeople currently in the industry what she saw, and she felt the love in return. and network at this stage of my After participating in the University Resident Theatre Associationcareer is absolutely incredible.audition event in Chicago in January, James returned with a toughJames got into acting late in the game. I didnt even pursue theatre choiceand options. So many options. An annual national event thatuntil my second year at Heidelberg, she said. But it came at a time of draws would-be artists from around the world, the URTA matchespersonal struggle. She had lost five people close to her in five months, potential students with Master of Fine Arts programs and focuses onincluding her father and grandfather. Her Berg theatre family got her the discovery and fostering of new talent. through. Theatre kept me grounded and moving forward, she said.I knew I was leaning toward grad schools in California since I want toWith major roles in every single production on the Gundlach Theatre eventually act for films and TV, said James, 18, who is completing herstage over the past three yearsas an actress, choreographer and MBA through the PlusOneAdvantage Tuition-Free MBA Scholarship atdance captainshe hasnt slowed down one bit. By staying on for her Heidelberg. Of the estimated 40 grad schools at the URTA event,MBA, James got a third year of experience on stage, industry skills and Kenzie came home with seven offers from grad schools andtime working with the professional artists Svoboda brings to campus to professional studios. work with students on various phases of theatre productions. She chose the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I workedMost importantly, she got theatre mentoring and life coaching from with Stephen (Svoboda) to perfect my audition package. I had a wholeSvoboda, whos extremely proud of his prodigy. Kenzie always had a portfolio of material, so I was super prepared, said James. The decidingpassion to perform, but she was initially unsure of herself, he said. factors: A three-year scholarship toward her MFA and a senselike thatBut the grit she has showed, along with her artistic knowledge, which she experienced in Heidelbergs theatrethat she could find askill and leadershipIm extremely proud of her.home there.A.G.Summer 2019|17'