|Hometown: Waterbury, Connecticut
MajorS: Communication and Theatre Arts – Performance
MINor: Creative Writing
WCSU DegreeS: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Communication
Activities: Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival ambassador and participant, the character Minnie in the WCSU production of “Parade,” the character The Narrator in the WCSU production of “A Christmas Carol: A Radio Show,” the character Inez in the WCSU production of “Our Lady of 121st Street,” the characters Francine and Lena in the WCSU production of “Clybourne Park.” An actor and director in the 10-minute One Act Plays (2015-17). Participated in the Western Improv Group first semester of freshman year. Studied abroad in London, England, in 2015. Currently juggling four jobs: an on-campus job at the Office of Intercultural Student Affairs, a freelance camera operator for Media Services, on weekends or days not in class works somewhere in Connecticut or New York as a cater waiter and a serving job in Waterbury.
INTERNSHIPS: International Festival of Arts and Ideas as the Artist Services Coordinator Intern (2014). It was an internship I felt utilized both of my majors as I was working behind the scenes with the festival, but I was also able to ask the actors who came to perform at the Yale Rep and other New Haven Theatres questions about their process.
Honors and Awards: Dean’s List every year with the exception of one, 3.7 GPA, Visual and Performing Arts Center Best Actress Award (2017), received a Theatre Scholarship in 2016, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival awarded “Parade” Best Ensemble in 2016, nominated for the Irene Ryan Award for her performances in “A Christmas Carol: Radio Show,” “Our Lady of 121s Street” and “Clybourne Park.”
Sydney Varick started her collegiate experience at the University of New Haven for her freshman year and the first semester of her sophomore year. She studied abroad in London, England, the next semester and then transferred to WestConn. “I decided to come to WestConn because I knew I would be able to continue to pursue my double major,” she says. “This was something that was very important to me. I believe the pursuit of a double major should be supported in more universities. WestConn provided me with that and the advisement to be able to complete it within a reasonable amount of time. I also transferred here because of the accreditation of the Theatre Arts Department. It truly is an incredible program with the most supportive staff. Getting my theatre education at the Visual and Performing Arts Center has been a cherished one.”
Varick says she knew she wanted to pursue theatre when she entered college. “I never had the opportunity or means to join in extracurricular theatre activities growing up or when I entered high school, so I saw college as the perfect way to finally immerse myself in something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” she explains. “I also knew I wanted a major that could provide me with a lot of options upon graduating, so I decided to double-major in Communication as well. I love both of my majors for the different worlds of opportunity they’ve provided me and will continue to provide me with after graduation.”
At WestConn, Varick says she’s had mentors throughout her experience. “The first one who comes to mind is Sal Trapani. In spring 2017, I was cast in his show, “Our Lady of 121st Street,” but I also had him as a professor for Devised Theatre. As a professor and a director, Sal provides every student a safe place with the opportunity to express themselves and make mistakes. Whether we realize it at the time or later on, we learn from those mistakes, grow from them, and understand each other and the world around us a little more. Another mentor I have is Assistant Dean of Students Daryle Dennis. I work for him at the Office of Intercultural Student Affairs, but I have found that he is another staff member who goes beyond expectations. His door is open to any student for advice on the future, help for clubs and organizations, providing students with information that will help them achieve their goals, or just being a helpful counselor to talk to. I will miss working at the Office of Intercultural Student Affairs.”
Asked what she will remember most about her WestConn experience, Varick says, “My most memorable experience is the process and performances of ‘Clybourne Park.’ Sal was the director again, so I knew I was in safe hands with a show that has very heavy content centered on race and how our society deals with it. We knew it would spark a lot of conversations for the audience, but it also sparked conversations within the cast. Our discussions helped us understand the topic and each other a little more. Also, since it was such a small cast, it became a very intimate process for the actors and I made some incredible friendships out of it. I’ll never forget the very last day of the show when one of the actors took his comedic part to a new level in the second act and made all of us break character. I wish that performance had gotten recorded!”
After graduation, Varick says she’ll once again be working for the International Festival of Arts and Ideas — beginning in June as a full-time employee. “I plan on using some aspect of my Communication major to work a steady job while I also audition,” she says. “I believe the path ahead of me has many opportunities for various occupations and I look forward to balancing and figuring out which ones will stick and work for me.”
Her advice to new students entering WCSU is: “Make networking a priority! There are professors and students from various backgrounds and every single one of them has something new to teach you. You’ll be surprised what doors will open for you when you expand your perspective through connecting with other people. You may gain insight into job opportunities, clubs and organizations, and expertise on subjects of your interests or learn about interests never brought to your attention.”