Nursing a love of theatre

When Arianne Villareal started looking for colleges, she knew it was going to be tricky. She was looking for a school that would allow her to double major in two very different fields: Nursing and Theatre. That path is unusual but not impossible. At least not at UIndy.

“UIndy was one of the few univer-sities that gave me the opportunity to do both fields, since ASN for Nursing and BA for Theatre are both offered here,” Arianne says. “Once accepted, I visited campus and I really loved what I saw. UIndy also offered me the most scholarship/grant money, so overall it was a perfect fit.”

Deciding to double major in such different fields is one thing, but actually doing it, and even being successful at it, is another story.

“Double majoring is extremely challenging because both of my majors require me to give 100 percent of myself to my work,” she says. “Theatre is not only classwork. It’s also many hours of rehearsal time, meetings, and crew work. There are many late nights as a Theatre major. On the other hand, Nursing requires an extreme amount of studying, homework, and practicing of skills. There is a great deal of vital information to be learned, and the School of Nursing has very high standards. There are lots of early mornings as a Nursing major.”

However, for all of the challenges she faces, “There are way more positives,” Arianne says. “The work I do for each major is so different from the other. I have to think in different ways every day as I encounter different people and different situations. I’m very passionate about what I do, and I’m proud of my work.”

On with the show(s)

Her acting credits at UIndy include productions of Arms and the Man (she earned an Irene Ryan award nomination), The Lover, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Good Person of Szechwan, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, Entertaining Mr. Helms, and Into the Woods.

Arianne had the lead role of Hester Prynne in the original production of SHAME, written by two UIndy faculty and based on Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. She earned an Irene Ryan nomination for that, too.

And that’s just her acting credits—she’s been racking up theatre production experience as well.

“Late nights, early mornings, and still having a social life means I have to manage my time very well, which is something I’m still working on. I’ve taken up drinking coffee!”

A senior from Wilder, Kentucky (about 10 minutes from downtown Cincinnati), Arianne is grateful for the opportunities and support UIndy has provided her. Not many schools are capable of making such dreams into reality, she says.

“Since it’s a smaller university, I have the opportunity to be seen by the best professors. This gives me so much more of an opportunity to learn. I also have the opportunity to perform, where at some larger universities I’d be lucky to be in one show a year.

“Plus, I’m given the opportunity to work on all aspects of theatre, making me a more well-rounded artist. I get to have hands-on, real-world experience in both fields, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.”

On top of everything that comes with studying two demanding majors, Arianne is very involved on campus. She’s active in UIndy’s Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus, Alpha Psi Omega, and the National Honorary Theatre Fraternity.

(She also was a volunteer during Super Bowl week in Indianapolis. About 30 UIndy students, alumni, and faculty were picked to serve as talent escorts for the “NFL Honors” show, a primetime special on NBC the night before the game. Each was paired with a visiting celebrity to provide any necessary assistance. Arianne was assigned to escort pop star Katy Perry.)

Surgical theatre?

Arianne hopes both nursing and theatre will play a role in her future.

“I can see them both being a part of my life,” she says. “After college I plan to move to a bigger city—New York, Chicago, LA, maybe even London. I hope to work as a nurse and in the meantime audition for work as an actress. Though I genuinely enjoy helping people as a nurse, eventually I hope to be able to support myself with performing. I may learn something in one field that I can apply to the other, especially as both fields deal so much with people.”

The unique learning experience here is something she will always be thankful for. But one aspect of UIndy stands out for Arianne, beyond the academics.

“Most of all, the people I’ve met through UIndy have changed my life for the better,” she says. “I have met the best people and made the best friends. And that is truly priceless.”

—Sarah Stierwalt, Class of ’13