As a senior in the Bachelor of Fine Arts performance major and the president of the Auburn University Players, Heather Rule has found her calling.
Rule is a native of Slapout, Ala., and came to Auburn University without any former theater experience. In fact, she initially wanted to major in political science.
During her freshman year, Rule decided to enter an introduction to theater class and quickly discovered her passion. What stood out to her the most, she says, was the support of the entire department.
“We have a group of people that want to succeed in what they are doing,” she says of her peers. “On the other hand, we have faculty that wants us to succeed. That together makes a really nice place to enter into.”
Rule joined the Auburn University Players, which she describes as a little community within the theater, as a freshman. Rule continued her involvement as a member, and eventually became the president of the organization. In this office, her goal is to bring the organization out of the theater and into the community.
Currently, the Players are working with a local day care business. The plan, she says, is to “use our acting skills to tell some stories to the children.” Rule also plans to work with Relay for Life and Habitat for Humanity during her office.
“This process has been really rewarding,” Rule says of her experience in the department. “You become a lot more confident in who you are, and what you can do with your creativity.”
Last summer, Rule traveled to New York for an intensive workshop. The acting workshop lasted seven hours a day for seven weeks. She explains that the instructors of the workshop were not as compassionate as those at Auburn.
“But that is to be expected,” she says.
After graduation in May, Rule plans to seek more theater training and audition as much as possible. “It’s a scary step,” she says with a laugh.
For now, Rule is taking classes in acting and voice, as well as directing. She was recently cast in Brighton Beach Memoirs, which will debut Nov. 13 on the main stage of the Auburn University Theatre.
Reflecting on her experience in the department, Rule looks around fondly at the theater she has called home for the past three years.
“It’s almost an escape to be able to come in here, put your life on hold and open yourself up to people who support you. I think that’s the biggest story I can tell about this place.”