Sarah Tam spent much of her time at Butler “cocooned in the theatre world,” and when she wasn’t there, she was working on her minor in English writing. The results, she said, prepared her well for what she would like to eventually do—work in publishing as an Editor during the day and pursue acting on the side.
Tam’s work in Butler Theatre productions included a part in the world premiere of The Water Carriers, a play about a group of refugees attempting to flee Africa in a shipping container; the title role in Karlsson on the Roof, in which she learned to fly; and several roles in Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information.
She also had a part in a friend’s theatrical adaptation of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which gave the participants—all of them Butler students—a chance to have an ensemble experience where they did everything.
“It feels to me what Butler Theatre encourages—theatre artists who can do lots of things well and can create their own work because they have something they want to do,” she said. “It was really cool to be a part of that.”
Since graduating, Tam has been working as an actor/interpreter in the Indiana Historical Society’s living-history exhibits, which re-create a piece of history. The actors research and train to become characters, then play the parts by interacting with the historical society’s guests. Her next role is in an 1863 Gettysburg exhibit, where she will be dressed in full costume, including corset and petticoats.
“That’s been really cool because it’s a day job, but it’s acting,” she said. “So I get to do theater as my primary job right now.”
Tam, who had been looking at colleges in Massachusetts, said she made the right selection when she chose Butler.
“When I think back on what I’ve done here—I directed my own show as part of my thesis; I studied abroad twice—a semester in Dublin and six weeks in Russia during the summer; I took classes in so many different aspects of theatre and other subject areas—I don’t think I could have done that anywhere else,” she said.