For senior theater major Kiersten Zundel, the only career path she could see for herself was one in the arts. She began performing at a young age, with Utah children’s theater company Up With Kids.
“I was taking theater classes throughout middle school and high school,” Zundel said. “I’ve always really loved performing.”
Since that pivotal first performance, she has appeared in roles large and small in shows such as “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, “9 to 5”, “Trojan Women”, “Cabaret” and “Perfect Arrangement”, amounting to over ten years of experience.
When it came time to decide on a college, Zundel had plenty of mentors and friends to turn to, many of whom were attending UVU.
“I knew that they were starting a BFA program, … so I decided it was the place where I needed to be,” said Zundel. “I’m very grateful to have made the decision to attend UVU. I have no idea where my life would be had I not chosen this school and this department.”
Now in her final semester of her Bachelor of Fine Arts program, Zundel credits UVU’s theater program with helping her grow—not only in her skills as an actress but in her life as well.
“I’ve learned more about myself than I ever thought I would during my four years in this department. There’s so much to learn and know and challenge myself in,” said Zundel. “…I’ve learned what it means to be confident in my choices. So many people think theater and the arts, in general, can be overlooked, but they all really reflect humanity. I have learned so much about just being a person through seeing and participating in UVU performances.”
Zundel and the other senior students in her program performed in a special showcase at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles on Feb. 11. New to the theater department this year, the showcase was designed to display the talent of these students to agents, casting directors, and other members of the entertainment industry.
“It [was] a pretty nerve-wracking experience for everyone involved. It’s sort of a culmination of everything we’ve worked at for the past four years,” Zundel said. “It’s the very first year this is happening so we hope to do well and create a precedent that Utah Valley University’s theater department is a force to be reckoned with.”
After graduation, Zundel said that her plans are both “scary and exciting.” She and fellow BFA student McKell Peterson will return to UVU to direct The Rover, a play by Aphra Behn. After that, she plans on moving to New York City with friends and striking out as an actress. Zundel said, “It’s quite scary, but I’m thrilled to go put myself in the center of it all!”
Featured photo by Meghan DeHaas.