Student Spotlight on actor, singer and designer Jaclyn Pageau '18
Pageau was elected as a Company Representative for "Cabaret" and will also serve as dance captain.
To deem Jaclyn Pageau ’18 an involved Dartmouth artist would be to understate the depth and breadth of her pursuits in theater and music. Pageau is a soprano in the Sing Dynasty a cappella group, a dedicated tour guide for prospective students and works as a head usher at events in the Hopkins Center for the Arts. As a student, she spent an exchange term at the National Theater Institute, worked in the Upper Valley and New York City’s professional theater scenes as part of the theater department’s “experiential term,” and traveled to London as one of 10 students in the theater department’s Foreign Study Program in order to take classes in general and Shakespearean acting techniques at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
This fall, Pageau was elected to serve as a company representative, a newly created leadership position, for this fall’s mainstage production of “Cabaret.” She is also dance captain for that production. Pageau has joined served as sound designer in student productions, and will be stage managing the upcoming winter mainstage production of “1984.” Chances are, if you open a program at a theater production on campus, you will see a Pageau credit in some fashion.
Pageau spent the entirety of her junior year off-campus, immersing herself in the world of professional theater. Her junior fall term was dedicated to the “E-term,” a program conceived out of Dartmouth’s long-standing relationship with Northern Stage, a local theater company in the Upper Valley.
The students were able to experience three distinct elements of professional theatre, Pageau said. The first month was dedicated to arts administration.
“Each of us was working in an office every day with a mentor,” Pageau said. “We all had different mentors, but I specifically was working on the fundraising part of the show.”
Through this experience, Pageau learned about “artist administrators,” who are people that work as administrative staff and as artists in some capacity.
“[I] really enjoyed the administrative side of it all — organizing, picking the shows, putting the seasons together — but I also wanted to perform, so it was amazing to work with people in an office and then perform alongside them later on in ‘A Christmas Carol,’” she said.
The next phase transitioned the group to hands-on work as the show, “Orwell in America,” began its three-week off-Broadway run. The students all took part in day-to-day work like loading the set in, but Pageau specifically was responsible for working with the soundboard, something she said she had “fallen into by accident at Dartmouth.” She shared that the influence of the sound design is something that often goes unnoticed, because it can be a more “subconscious” element in a production.
“Sometimes a sound designer will put in just a drone or a note or the sound of a fluorescent light bulb,” Pageau said. “It’s white noise. But it can completely change the atmosphere of the room. I think now I can recognize it because I’ve done it, but otherwise I think it’s hard to notice it.”
The program rounded out with the students joining the company at Christmastime for a performance of “A Christmas Carol.” Pageau reaffirmed her desire to pursue a career in theater post-graduation after this experience.
Theater professor Jamie Horton expressed his confidence in Pageau’s ability to succeed in the industry, noting Pageau’s professionalism, focus and discipline.
“She’s had a broad range of experience in this department, and in every instance has acquitted herself with the kind of professionalism we expect from our advanced students,” Horton said.
Horton taught Pageau in Theater 65, “New Plays and Development” and Theater 30, “Acting I.”
“[Pageau is] a top student … one of the leaders in our department,” Horton said. “She is self-motivated, self-disciplined ... everything you would want as a teacher.”
Pageau has also acted under Horton’s direction in the Dodd playwriting festival winner “Good, Clean, Wholesome” in 2016. Horton said that her approach to the craft sets her apart as a student.
“[Pageau is] eager for direction ... and to understand more about herself as an actor,” Horton said. “She brings to it so much natural talent … in rehearsal environments, she is meticulous in her preparation and able to incorporate notes from the director.”
Lela Gannon ’18, a fellow theater major who participated in the experiential term, the FSP and is a current Sings member as well, expressed that because Pageau is “so comfortable in herself” she can “do everything whole-heartedly.”
“It’s a really difficult thing to do, especially on stage,” Gannon said.
Gannon added that the ease Pageau brings in her work also affects people working around her.
“[Pageau is] able to make others feel comfortable in themselves as well and just exudes that on stage,” Gannon said. “We’ve been friends since our freshman fall and she inspires me to be that way as well.”
Pageau said that she has matured throughout her theater career at Dartmouth, and that evidences itself in her centered presence.
“I’ve learned to be comfortable with myself,” Pageau said. “At Dartmouth especially, where you can only audition for one show a term, it’s easy to be discouraged. I’ve realized that there are roles that I’m right for and roles that are right for me. I’ve really reached a place where I can take risks and place myself in uncomfortable situations that help me to grow.”
Pageau has a few terms left at Dartmouth, but she hopes to continue to be in programs and playbills after she graduates. Her plan after the spring is to move to New York City and start auditioning for roles.
“We’re just very excited for her — for both her current accomplishments at Dartmouth and her potential for the future,” Horton said.