Sydney Holliday, ‘23, is graduating as a theatre and media and communication double major. She has been a part of many theatrical productions and endeavors and is the current student station manager for WMUH, Muhlenberg’s radio station. She is also a member of Damsels In Excess (DIE), the non-cisgender male improv and sketch comedy group.
Holliday recently participated in her first theatre departmental production as a member of the chorus in the staged reading of “(&Medea)”.
“It was my only departmental show experience [and] I always knew that I’d be able to get a whole lot out of working with a professor outside of a class so I’m glad I got that opportunity, especially going through the whole process of a staged reading and working directly with the playwright, being able to give her feedback right then and there and seeing it kind of show up in the script. Jess [the playwright] was so wonderful and open and receptive to what we thought would be best for the play and some of our stuff ended up popping up in the script that we performed. It was a really quick process too, it was only two weeks before our first performance, and it just taught me a lot about how quickly a show can come together, what that process was like, and many other things.”
Holliday combined her passion for acting and audio production with her Cumulative Undergraduate Experience (CUE) project in a reading of the iconic radio play War of the Worlds. She directed, produced, edited and acted in it.
“That process taught me a lot about what I’m able to do on my own. With self-producing and everything, which ends up being a whole lot of what you do as an artist after your time in college, I think being able to have that in the safe environment that is Muhlenberg was really helpful in helping me feel ready to go after college.”
Holliday went on to explain that she was lucky to find a consistent creative outlet from the moment she arrived at Muhlenberg.
“DIE was the first thing I joined that made me feel at home and was just something that kept me going when we were online and in the pandemic. The things I’ve learned with improv and sketch comedy just helped me in so many other parts of what I do here at Muhlenberg… Being able to write some kind of story has been very helpful in both the things I’m studying. It’s just a really good group of people, it’s one of the things I’m just excited to go to every week, and I think we’ve put on some pretty funny stuff.”
However, Holliday’s college experience was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and her education and artistry were forced online. Despite that, COVID played a role in Holliday’s knowing what she wants to do after college.
“As an artist, especially as an actor, it’s all about human interaction and feeding off of your scene partner and an audience. It’s so hard to do through a computer screen and I think I realized it pretty quickly, and everyone else realized it pretty quickly so we made do with what we had. This is the first semester I’m in an acting class on campus, otherwise, I got a lot of my acting education when I was abroad, whether that was in New York or Italy. During the pandemic, I also took on a couple of jobs that weren’t acting-related… Through these paths of ‘maybe I’ll try this and maybe I’ll try that,’ I always found myself seeing an actor do their thing and being like, ‘well, I want to be up there with them.’”
“I think being able to have that in the safe environment that is Muhlenberg was really helpful in helping me feel ready to go after college.”-Sydney Holliday ’23
After graduation, Holliday hopes to begin her acting career. Through Muhlenberg’s senior showcase, she is hoping to get an agent in New York and plans to apply for some acting apprenticeships. She expresses her thanks to all the professors, students and family members who’ve gotten her to where she is. She’s looking forward to her last few months on campus.
“I’m having this vibe with senior year where it’s like this is the time to make everything happen, so I’m trying to make as much of it happen as I can while also being in the moment. There’s been a lot of moments where I’m sitting there and I think, ‘God, I’m really happy to be here.’”