J. Andrew Speas
Parkland Magnet High School
If you were a transfer student, from where did you transfer?
UNC School of the Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts – Acting / Minor – Musical Theatre
Career Plans & Goals
I plan to move to New York City and make a living doing theatre. Simply put I want to be a Broadway Star.
Triumph Theatre (‘18/‘19), Adynaton Productions (Created by UNCG Students and Alums, Improve (‘18), Workshop Theatre
Why did you choose UNCG and specifically UNCG for the Arts?
I choose UNCG because I had worked with multiple students prior to attending who completely understood and loved the craft of acting the way that I did. The love that they had for their program was palpable and I needed a space that would nourish me the way it had for those students/alum.
Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?
Yes, I knew immediately that the theatre was the place for me and there was no plans of deviation.
My peak experience was playing the Leasing Player in Pippin. I felt like I had finally arrived as a student of “the craft”.
What surprised you?
I was surprised by how much my program functioned like a conservatory style program. I had the impression that I would not be as immersed in my study of acting that I was. I was pleasantly surprised that it is always full investment in the work.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
Each of my acting faculty have been instrumental in my growth in a number of ways and I thank them all for that. Erin Farrell-Speer, came in very early on in my training, I fought for her hiring, and I immediately felt a special connection with her work ethic and strength. There were many moments that she made known how capable I really am of working as an actor and there are not enough words for what that means.
What do you think you will miss the most after you graduate?
I will miss the amount of freedom I had to figure it out. University requires a lot of patience and tenacity, the space that UNCG allowed me to have to have the patience and tenacity I’d not something you can find any and everywhere.
Advice for the incoming class?
Make sure it feels like home, because when you cannot exist in that space of comfort this university and its inhabitants will be your home and your family.
Describe the moment you knew you UNCG was for you (or alternatively the moment you knew you were in the right major):
I’m not sure that I can pinpoint a singular moment that I knew UNCG was for me but I do know that there have been a number of moments that confirmed I made the right choice. Getting into the BFA, producing my first show, creating art with my friends whom I now consider family, and always being to deepen my love of what I love and sharing it with others.
Your favorite place on campus and why?
My favorite place on campus is definitely Sprinkle Theater, that space has been very kind in allowing the space to “figure it out”.
Your favorite professor or class and why?
Advanced Acting for the Camera with Michael Flannery. Never once did he make me believe that I was incapable of doing that type of work, the class itself helped me find strength in a medium that terrified me. Michael was and is so patient and kind and he believes in my work as an actor and a creative.
Anything else you would like to share about your experience at UNCG and in your major that you think prospective students should know about?
UNCG is a special place with genuine people but like anywhere you have to take the time to find your tribe and find what works and what does not for you. I loved this school because I never felt forced to be something I was not. When at times I felt that my program was not upholding their end of their bargain as a place of training I worked with them to make sure that they did. This place gives you the permission to be able to change the fabric of the communities you exist in daily, I suggest you take full advantage of you feel change should be made.
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