Student Focus: Vivian Cook, Senior in Performing Arts

Name: Vivian M. Cook

Vivian Cook

Major: Performing Arts and French
Hometown: Prescott, Arizona
Planned Graduate Date: Spring 2019

What are you involved with here at ISU and beyond: 

At ISU, I have been in the President's Leadership Class, Cantamus Women's Choir and voice lessons (with the incredible Janet Alcorn), the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, undergraduate research, the French Program, the improv comedy performance troupe, ISU One Day Plays, Focus Grant projects, and, of course, ISU Theatre as an actor, assistant stage manager, house manager, light operator, dramaturg, and assistant director and director. In the community, I have been involved with Climate Change Theatre Action, Focal Theatre Lab, and a variety of theatre actions and volunteer work. I have worked as a scenic painter at Fisher Theatre, a stagehand at the Iowa State Center, an ISU Dining employee, a DIS Team Leader, a student representative, a research intern for History Matters/Back to the Future, a communication consultant at the Writing and Media Center, and an instructor, stage manager, and director at Story Theater Company. 

What pieces are you working on right now?

I am currently the production intern for Karen Zacarías' The Sins of Sor Juanawith Ten Thousand Things in the Twin Cities, and I will be the production assistant for PlaceBase Productions in Granite Falls, MN later this summer. 

What is your favorite thing about your experiences at Iowa State? 

My favorite thing about being a student with ISU Theatre and with the WLC program is the opportunity we have to explore, experiment, ask questions, and pursue independent projects to discover what kind of work we want to do in the future. I studied abroad in Québec last semester for French and in London in my sophomore year for theatre, which were definitely two of the best experiences I've ever had. (I have too many favorite courses to choose one!)

Why did you choose the Department of Music & Theatre at ISU?  

I chose this program after seeing a few performances here and meeting with the faculty. Their commitment to collaboration, experimentation, and challenging students as artists and learners influenced my decision to come to Iowa State. 

What are your interests beyond music and theatre? 

Traveling, food, languages, dancing, hiking, environmental studies, and learning--about everything :). 

What are your plans after graduation? 

I will be entering graduate school at Iowa State in the fall. I will be in the Sustainable Agriculture and Community and Regional Planning double-degree program as I continue to explore the intersection between theatre, community development, and sustainability. 

Any words of wisdom for prospective students: 

There are so many ways to bring theatre and music into your life and to make it your career. Be reasonable with yourself about the reality of the performing arts lifestyle, but also realize that it is not limited to just one kind of lifestyle. Pursue what brings you joy, continually sparks your curiosity, and inspires you to work hard, and allow yourself to discover the possibilities of a career that will come with that. Learn about as much as you can, because theatre is about life and cannot thrive in a vacuum. Learn about people, ideas, and places that are different from what you are surrounded by every day...and study abroad!!!