Kaitlyn Doolittle – Staff Writer
As most Gusties are aware, our initial plans for the future tend to switch once we arrive at The Hill. Some change throughout their career while others, like Austin Adler ‘23, combine their childhood dreams with their newfound passions to create a bright new duality.
From performing on the stage to working behind the scenes, Adler proves that success in the theater is limitless.
In his home town of Plymouth, Minnesota, Adler quickly found his love for the performing arts. “I have been very interested in theater since [middle school] and knew that it was what I wanted to do with my life since my very first production.”
In his pursuit, Adler turns to his loved ones for encouragement. “My family is one of my biggest supporters and are there for me when I need them. I could not have made it as far as I could have without them,” Adler said.
The determination to be in the spotlight soon took a turn when Adler arrived on campus back in 2019. “I did not expect technical theater to become my main focus as I only ever performed before arriving here,” Adler said. However, Adler was able to balance his newly found passion and long-term dreams of being a performer.
In this time, Adler began to explore the different areas of technical theater like carpentry, scenic design, 3D modeling, video and sound editing, all in addition to CAD (computer-aided design).
Within months of his undergraduate career, Adler had to adapt his art to a virtual platform. “Two of my years were spent with Zoom but because of how active the Theatre Department is, it forced us to get creative with our art,” Adler said.
Once able to return to the theater, Adler was able to pick up where he left off in his early Gustie days; “I spent the vast majority of my time at Gustavus in the theater constantly working on either the scenic elements or my performance abilities,” Adler said.
From working as a supervisor in the Theatre & Dance Scene Shop to involving himself in every Gustavus production, Adler’s adoration for the stage doesn’t stop there. In addition to his other roles, Adler leads as the President of the USITT Chapter (United States Institution for Technical Theatre).
The USITT is an organization dedicated to improving the skills in theater, entertainment, and the performing arts. The organization hosts an annual conference for students and individuals in the field to further develop their abilities and gives an opportunity to network with seasoned professionals.
“I am involved with USITT because the event itself is a phenomenal opportunity for any student or professional who is interested in technical theater in any way, shape or form,” Adler commented.
Adler’s drive within USITT is noticed and appreciated by Professors and peers alike. “Austin’s time at Gustavus has been a non-stop exploration of what he can learn and apply to his next endeavor. His passion for his work has inspired many other students who see him as a mentor and leader in our program,” said Matthew Rightmire, a Professor of Technical Direction.
Away from campus, this past summer Adler had the opportunity to share his talents at one of Missouri’s oldest professional regional theaters. “I worked as the Lead Carpenter for The Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre in Missouri and it was amazing top to bottom. I worked with a close team of four other carpenters and we cranked out five full productions in three months,” Adler said.
Upon reflection, Adler describes his performance evolution throughout The Last Days of Judas Iscariot along with his audio work done on The Murder Mystery Radio Play as some highlights during his time at Gustavus.
Currently Adler is working on his Theatre Honors project. The project contains in-depth creative research that culminates within a student’s experience of the Theatre and Dance program. “The process is providing for some memorable moments,” said Adler.
With graduation around the corner, Adler has bright plans for his future. “[I want to] work at the Guthrie Theatre, go on tour, visit Germany again, meet new people, try new experiences, and see more of the world while I can.”
Based on his experiences, Adler advises students to take the necessary leap towards their dreams, even if it’s a small move in the right direction. “The most important step you can take is always the next one,” Adler advises.