Major: Acting (B.F.A.)
Enter Mani Yangilmau. Whispered aside: “There is a misperception that theatre is easy. Theatre is work – it’s as professional and valid as other more typical careers. It’s a combination of research, hard work, collaboration and intelligence.”
Now a senior in the Department of Theatre Arts, when Yangilmau auditioned for the program, she was immediately smitten with Towson University. “I was impressed with how professional the audition process was. They really emphasized personal ideas about theatre, not just acting. Towson seemed to be exactly the right place to foster her two greatest passions: social activism and theatre.
Ultimately those two passions led her to write her own play, Vajungle, which explores the complexities of being a sexual assault survivor. Yangilmau earned more than applause for her art. She heard emotional testimonies from audience members; some students were inspired to discuss their personal journeys with counselors. Powerful theatre leading to direct social outcomes . . . that’s Yangilmau’s goal.
Yangilmau credits her mentors with helping her explore her talents as an actor and playwright. Professors Steve Satta, David White and Robyn Quick set high standards, provide encouragement and are compassionate listeners, especially when Yangilmau is compelled to, as she says, “nerd about theatre.”
A Pacific Islander herself, Yangilmau is considering a graduate program in playwriting at the University of Hawaii. Eventually, she’d like to direct a theatre troupe that focuses on diversity and social change or bring a theatre arts program to her motherland, the island of Palau.
Regardless of her role, it is likely her voice will ring out – clear and distinctive – and reach an eager and appreciative audience.