Newman University Theatre Department sees first graduate

On May 16, Newman University awarded degrees to more than 400 candidates for bachelors, associates and masters degrees – including its first four-year bachelor of arts in theatre graduate, Rusty Carbaugh.

“I am extremely proud to be the first theatre major and that is a thing I think I’ll probably tell people for the rest of my life,” Carbaugh said. “I’m the first pure-blood theatre major that we’ve ever had and it’s a really old university, so it means a lot to me to be able to say I’m the first.”

Carbaugh said she isn’t sure in which direction she is planning to take her career. She is currently performing in various shows around Wichita. She recently performed as a chorus member and a secretary in “Urinetown” at the Scottish Rite Signature Theatre.

Carbaugh performs as Ophelia in Newman University’s production of “Hamlet” this year.

“I think it’s okay to figure it out later and have some adventures first, and that’s what I plan on doing,” she said.

Carbaugh said she hopes she made an impact on the Theatre Department and can help the department grow in the years to come.

“I hope that in some way, I can help push the Theatre Department to become bigger and better,” she said. “Now it’s my responsibility because I was their first major.”

Director of Theatre Mark Mannette said Carbaugh has been a key element to the department’s growth since the beginning of the major.

“Rusty started attending Newman before I came and already knew she wanted to major in it, so she was really helping me be a pioneer by being in place when I got here,” he said. “She’s a hard worker, she likes to excel academically and I’m really proud of her accomplishments.”

Newman University instated the theatre major in fall 2013 – before that, it was a minor.

“[The Theatre Department] is just like a linear graph,” Carbaugh said.”It keeps shooting up – from ‘Lend Me A Tenor,’ the very first play that Mark Mannette directed my freshman year where I was Maggie, all the way up to my last play where I was Ophelia in ‘Hamlet.’ It’s just incredible the differences between the two, but also the similarities, like the heart and soul of what we do, and how that manages to continue and only expand into something better.”

Interested in Newman University Theatre? Click here to learn more about the major.



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