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Immersed in Theatre

08/17/2011

He came to MCLA with aspirations of becoming a high school English teacher. But, since arriving on campus, Tyler Prendergast '13 of Saugus, Mass., discovered his passion - the theatre.

"Theatre is really the thing that drives me forward," Prendergast said. "There's a reason I spend so much of my time here in rehearsal when I could be out doing any number of other things. I'm not sure if I'll be able to make a career out of acting, but I would absolutely love to, and I know that I will be involved in theatre in some capacity for the rest of my life."

He belongs to MCLA's musical theatre club, Harlequin, and Yorick, which produces Shakespeare's plays. This fall, he will direct "A Midsummer Night's Dream," along with another student.   

Prendergast (on the right in the photo above), says he's "100 percent committed" to guiding the cast through the process toward a show they can all be proud of.

"I think it will definitely be a great learning experience, as collaboration is a difficult thing but also incredibly important, especially in theatre," he explained. "It's also a pretty big responsibility, as the two of us are essentially responsible for not only a large portion of our club's budget, but also for the time and effort of 20 or so actors over the next few months."  

His involvement with Yorick is a highlight of Prendergast's MCLA experience. 

"It has meant the world to me and changed me as a person more than I ever thought it could," he explained. For example, the organization had an "overwhelmingly positive response" to "The Taming of the Shrew." "So many of us in Yorick put so much time and effort into that show, and we went through so many trials and tribulations, that to see it finally go up and to see people really love it was an amazing thing for me." 

Last spring, he had his first experience of seeing a Broadway show, thanks to Harlequin, when the club sponsored a trip to New York City - for only $12 per person! "It was a fantastic experience," Prendergast said. 

This spring, he hopes to travel with Dr. Rosanne Denhard's travel course to Great Britain. Students will explore medieval and Renaissance British literature - including Shakespeare - as well as history and culture.

While he loves the theatre, Prendergast may seek a career in the graphic arts. An outstanding poster designer, he's created numerous posters, including those for the Fine and Performing Arts Department, Yorick and Harlequin.  

"What I'm most proud of as far as posters are concerned, however, is my campaign for Harlequin's production of "RENT," which went up this past March," he explained. "I designed nine posters, one for each of the eight leads, incorporating one of each character's lines into the design, and one final poster which pulled together the eight other designs to make one logo for the show."  

(The RENT campaign can be viewed online at http://www.behance.net/gallery/Rent-Poster-Campaign/1766450.)

"I would love to continue working in graphic design, either in or out of theatre," Prendergast said. "I'd love to work as the graphic designer for a theatre company, or do freelance work for local businesses, or anything of that sort."

In just a few weeks, his latest work will be seen on the backs of hundreds of freshmen, as Prendergast created the logo and T-shirt designs for this year's First Days program.