These Drama Students Trained for Years. Then Theater Vanished.



Linnea Scott, who majored in theater at an arts magnet high school in Denver, found herself living in what had been her little sister’s bedroom — her sister had taken hers. She wrote, did yoga and hung out (outdoors) with high school friends. “I remember having this intense feeling,” she said. “Did the last four years even happen?”

The scramble for some kind of work, some kind of income, was full-on. Abigail Holland, an aspiring director, took a job at an animal hospital. Patrick Monaghan, while making comedy sketches to post online, is doing construction. Chase Dillon, always a bit of an entrepreneur, trades cryptocurrency.

“I’ve been doing accounting work,” said Emma Davis, back home in Boca Raton, Fla., “which is hilarious, since I have a B.F.A. in acting.”

Nannying, more in demand during a pandemic when many schools went virtual, became a popular pursuit. Scott had a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old under her care in Denver, while Kate Pittard looked after six kids in Brooklyn. “I’ve been sculpting with clay, painting, dancing — things I thought I was quite terrible at,” she said.

Health risks and shifting local protocols led some graduates to cycle through jobs. Trey Fitts, who as a senior had starred as Melchior in “Spring Awakening,” worked at Target, but quit after his stepfather got Covid, and started driving for Grubhub; Johnson switched to Grubhub after working in landscaping and driving trucks.

“Nothing is going on in the industry,” said Jon Demegillo, who is teaching Shakespeare at a summer camp. “What am I going to do with this degree?”

By early last summer, five members of the class of 2020 were holed up together in Arkansas, where Gabriela Slape’s family had a lake house.


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