WVSU theater student wins national scholarship

By By Marta Tankersley Hays
Staff writer
Photo courtesy of RAYNALLE ROUSE
WVSU senior communications major Raynalle Rouse accepts a summer scholarship from the Black Theater Network in New York City.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Once she receives her communications degree from West Virginia State University in the spring of 2015, Raynalle Rouse, a Washington, D.C., native, wants to return to her old Friendship Collegiate Academy and infuse other students with the love of theater that has led her to a national scholarship.

After teaching theater at home this summer, Rouse was chosen as a Disney Scholar by the Black Theater Network and awarded a scholarship to their three-day conference in New York.

“Raynalle has a genuine passion for theater,” said WVSU theater professor Susan Marrash-Minnerly. “She understands the transformative potential of theater and is dedicated to the development of her art and craft.”

Conference workshops for the 40 student attendees included a wide range of topics including “Auditioning Shakespeare,” “Surviving Grad School” and “The Writings of Amiri Baraka,” Rouse said.

“While in New York, I met many successful thespians, and it motivates me to continue my education,” she said. “I realized there are many different avenues in theater.

“Also I learned theater is a lifestyle and not just a form of art.”

The BTN Disney scholarship fund was established in 2013, according to her acceptance letter.

Rouse had her first leading role as the Lion in a stage production of “The Wiz” at the academy, and she’s been working on her craft ever since.

She credits WVSU with providing her many opportunities. “This university believes in my talents and will go above and beyond to help me grow,” she said.

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