- Name: Campbell Childers
- Year: Senior
- Major: Double Major in Theatre and English Literature
- Hometown: Louisville, KY
- Quirky Fact: I don’t have a sense of smell most of the time.
- Favorite thing to get on campus: Chophouse Potato Soup
- Favorite movie: Crimson Peak
- Best book you’ve read recently: Lamb by Christopher Moore
- Favorite book: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- What you like to do on campus: Sock ‘n’ Buskin (Theatre club)
Q & A:
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Campbell Childers, and I am from Louisville, Kentucky, where I have lived my whole life until I moved to Murray for college. I started as a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) major my freshman year and found that while I liked the English portion, I did not like the education courses. So, I kept English and added Theatre. I did theatre all through high school and really liked it. Over time, theatre has become my main focus here at Murray State. I am a costuming student in the Theatre Department. Most of the time I am either working over in the Costume House, building and pulling in the Costume House, working the shows, and occasionally working on crew for the shows. I am actually hoping to design for one of the shows next semester. Along with all of that, I still have all of my English courses since it is my second major. I’m pretty sure I have been through every English major you can possibly have but eventually settled on Literature. I like to travel and I love live theatre. The more I continue to work in theatre, the more I realize just how important it is to me.
What made you come to Murray State?
When I was looking at Universities, I was specifically looking for ones with TESOL programs. I had studied abroad in high school, and I was pretty sure that it was what I wanted to do. At that time, Murray State was one the only public school in Kentucky which offered TESOL as an undergraduate degree, and it was important to me to go to a school that was in-state. My cousin’s husband actually went to Murray State and so I already knew a bit about Murray State from him. I applied, was accepted, and even got invited to an early acceptance open house of some sort. I had never actually been on campus before then, and it felt like a great place from the moment I stepped on campus. I stayed here despite changing my major to theatre—even though I could have chosen to go to an actual theatre school or that had a department where I could major just in costumes—but I didn’t because I had met so many amazing people and liked the campus so much.
Who have you enjoyed working with?
Faculty-wise, I have enjoyed working with Heidi Ortega, who is the costume faculty in the Theatre Department. Not only do I take her classes, but I also work with her as one of her student workers. I have been her assistant on productions, and she is even my advisor.
In the English Department, Dr. Black has been my favorite professor to work with. I took his British Literature class during sophomore year and have tried to take a class with him every semester since. Currently, I am taking 17th Century-British Literature with him.
A big part of working in the Theatre Department is that you are working with your future colleagues. And with theatre, who you know is very important in order to know where the opportunities are. Colleen Ohler just graduated in May, and she was one of the main costume students when I came into the department. We worked together in the shop and on shows; I was even her assistant on her senior thesis show. We studied abroad together in London and Dublin. She has been one of my favorite peers to work with.
Colleen and I working on her senior show
Amanda Jones is two years behind me and is the new costume student. We always seem to have only one or two at a time, and though I’m not sure how that happens, we all learn from each other. Amanda works with me in the costume house, and she was wardrobe head on this last show and will likely be the assistant for my senior thesis show. I really enjoy the almost family-like line of how the costume house works. It’s a really nice camaraderie to have with one another.
Amanda and I backstage for one of our shows
Who inspires you in life?
My parents raised me to be who I wanted to be and to do what I wanted with my life. My mom always says “be better than me, be a better person than me.” They are very much a driving force for me.
It might sound a bit conceited but, I think they raised me to be my own inspiration and to inspire myself. It’s kind of like, “well I’ve done this, so it’s time to do the next most difficult thing.” It is a kind of retrospective: well, I assisted Colleen on this, so now it’s time to do it myself. And once I’ve done it myself, I have to graduate and do it professionally and so on and so forth. I am very inspired by moving forward and looking back upon what I have done in the past.
What made you choose the major you did?
I chose English first, and it was originally English education (TESOL). I chose TESOL specifically because of having spent time abroad, wanting to continue traveling, but also wanting to work and study what I wanted. I have always enjoyed reading even as a kid and so English just seemed like a natural choice. Though Theatre wasn’t a part of my major during my first year, I had still joined the Theatre Club in the spring semester to keep it as a part of my life, allowing me to be around theatre people even if I wasn’t participating in any of the shows. During that time, I started helping with costumes for a show that my siblings were in back in Louisville. This made me realize that I needed to be doing this type of work. I felt better in life, more calm and productive, just from working on this show. Mid-way through the spring semester of my freshman year, I switched my major. Theatre is something you do because you have to, if you don’t need it to feel fulfilled, then you’ll never be successful. You have to want it so much that it becomes necessary in order to live.
Work/projects related to your major?
I hold a position in Sock ‘n’ Buskin, which is the Theatre Club on campus, as an “apprenti-master,” so I am in charge of new members. We do “bigs” and “littles,” similar to what a Greek organization would do. We have five “families” within the club and so when you join, you are assigned to a family and then a big within that family to guide you through the initiation process. This particular class of littles has 16 members though we have normally had around half that number. Having so many has been a real challenge this semester.
My “family” in Sock ‘n’ Buskin (Big, Me, Little, Grandbig)
I have been working in the Costume house here for nearly two years. It has been such an amazing opportunity especially since not all schools have anything similar. In schools that do have it, it can be extremely competitive, whereas our department allows even volunteering.
This past summer I was able to intern with Kentucky Shakespeare as a costume intern. It was so great to just be doing theatre all day every day for three months. Doing this really cemented for me that I am on the right professional track. If I can be outside all night in the heat, doing a show and loving it, then this is truly what I want to do.
I just did light-board for “Little Shop of Horrors” this month, which was really cool since I usually never get to be on that side of the show since I’m usually backstage or in the show itself.
Currently, my plan is to move to Cincinnati. It is a good stepping stone theatre community if you want to eventually get to a bigger city. Cincinnati is a decent-sized town which has a lot of theatre programs and independent theatre companies for the size it is. I want to eventually go to grad school for costumes once I have gathered some experience, “beefed up” my resume, and figured out my professional goals. I may eventually move back to Louisville because of my connections, but grad school is my goal in the next five years or so depending on employment.
“You know those old Kool-Aid commercials, where everybody is bored and the Kool-Aid man would break through the wall and it would become a party? That’s Campbell, except for the part of being a walking, destructive pitcher of juice. But Campbell makes any room she’s in a happier place to be, and whenever she walks in, everyone is glad to see her. I wish I had that effect on people. She has a limitless, idiosyncratic imagination that lends itself to such obvious talents – in acting and writing, but also just in being alive.”