After graduating from BU in 2009, Evan Sanderson went on to visit the world as a successful playwright. Now he is back in Boston, his true home, playing regularly in Shear Madness. He took the time to share some of his favorite memories, greatest successes and newest project.
When did you attend the Accademia and what did you study?
I was at the Accademia in 2009 during the winter and into the spring, and I studied theater.
What University were you coming from?
I came from Boston University.
What was your favorite thing about the program?
My favorite thing about the program was the intimate community that formed amongst all the students. BU is a close knit group, but at ADA I honestly and truly felt like I found an artistic family. It was something I’d always looked for, and I found it there in a really powerful way.
Can you share a favorite memory or story from your time in Italy outside the classroom?
I remember hiking in the Casentino Valley, and it was kinda rainy and muddy, but fun, and we hiked up this massive hill. We were all starving by the end of it, and our guide led us to this little farm house tucked into the hill, where a family he knew had set up this huge banquet of wine, cheese, and food all made at their farm. It was so warm and comfortable and friendly, I’ll never forget it. We wandered back through the valley half drunk and happy as could be.
Do you have any “must sees” while in Arezzo?
I think the biggest must see in Arezzo for me was just wandering the back roads near the campus – I would take runs in the afternoons and on the weekends, and I’ll never forget seeing the sunset over the town. Thinking about it now, I can’t believe I actually got to do that (=
What have you been up to since the Accademia?
After ADA, I had another year at BU, then graduated and stayed in Boston to work. I was hired as a playwright by the university, and I worked as an actor at the same time throughout the city. My play Fallujah ended up, through the ACTF festival, being performed at the Kennedy Center in 2011, and I won the David Mark Cohen, the Quest for Peace, and the National Student Playwriting Award. I was in NYC producing another play I wrote for a bit, and then in London doing Fallujah for a while, but my base has always been Boston. I love it here.
What are your latest projects?
I’m currently working as an actor at Shear Madness in Boston – I mention this because it’s this very long running show that is largely based on scenarios and improv. My commedia skills have served me hugely doing this show, because you’re really jumping into the performances quickly and need to understand timing and physical comedy. I had about 4 rehearsals before my first show, and it felt more like doing commedia work than anything else.
How has the Accademia helped shape who you are as an artist/creator?
I think the biggest lesson the Accademia taught me was two fold: 1) that there is a great network of artists in the world all wanting to find companionship and collaborators, and just knowing that was extraordinarily heartening. You’re not alone, no matter where you are! and 2) I learned how to learn laterally – that is, to pick up skills and ideas and inspiration from my peers, not just my mentors.
In your opinion who is a good candidate to get a lot out of the program?
I think a good candidate for the program is someone who is flexible, compassionate, and generous, and also someone who really likes pizza because you’re gonna be eating a lot of it.
Learn more about the ADA Alumni Association or contact ADAAA Founding President Dory Sibley at firstname.lastname@example.org.