Big Apple native studies theatre at Grenfell

(January 21, 1999, Gazette)

By Pamela Gill

Most aspiring actors would probably pick up and move to the Big Apple to study theatre.

Mint Lynch-Macduff, however, has done just the opposite. She left her home in the upper West Side of Manhattan and travelled to Corner Brook to follow her dreams of the stage.

Ms. Lynch-Macduff said she looked for theatre programs in a college guide and found a small section on international colleges. Sir Wilfred Grenfell College's Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, the only ones of their kind within the province, were among those listed.

The college piqued Ms. Lynch-Macduff's interests, so she accessed Grenfell's Web site to find out more information. She also talked to some of the college's professors before making her decision.

Now that she's completed term one, she has no problem pointing to the advantages of attending Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.

"It's small, and you get a lot of personal attention," she said. "And the people here are great; I've met so many great friends."

The Grenfell BFA in theatre combines theatre training with a liberal arts university education. This helps put the role of theatre in a social context, broadening students' understanding and abilities to interpret a play, and gives graduates more options in their future pursuits.

Ms. Lynch-Macduff says the environment surrounding the college has made a major impact on her as well.

"It's so beautiful here," she said. "I've never lived anywhere with mountains."

Having grown up in a setting filled with smog and skyscrapers, Ms. Lynch-Macduff was surprised at the pristine location in which she found herself.

"The first thing I thought was ‘There's so much sky!'" she added.

She considered attending the larger theatre schools in New York, but now knows it would have been too much of a rat race.

"Here, we have time to work and practise," she says. "There are more theatre opportunities, like summer theatre. And there are chances to work with stagecraft too. The schools in New York are so huge; you'd just get lost. It's eat or be eaten there."

She's used to the busy rush of her hometown; she wanted to study in an environment that was different, she said.

At Grenfell, the goal is to develop students who will master the arts and crafts of the theatre while acquiring the most essential of artistic tools - an educated imagination.

Ms. Lynch-Macduff believes she is getting a true "college experience" at Grenfell. She said a beautiful campus encircled with trees is exactly the kind of place she's envisioned herself studying in. The college experience is about more than just books and classes, she said.

"I feel like I'm really learning," she said. "I feel like I'm learning more in my life now than ever before."