Music Theatre Performance Grad's Diploma 'Instrumental' in Carving Creative Career Path
Windsor, ON - St. Clair Alumni Kelsey McRae says her Music Theatre Performance Diploma was instrumental in helping her land a career that is meaningful each and every day – sharing her passion for the arts with persons with disabilities.

McRae, who graduated from St. Clair in 2010, works full time at Hutton House in London – an institute for persons with disabilities. In past years, she worked occasionally at Hutton House as an independent contractor running improvisational-based programs that developed interpersonal skills and confidence that participants could bring into their daily lives.

It was music to McRae's ears when she learned in January that her experience at Hutton House led to being hired full time as LIFEworks Facilitator.

The goal of LIFEworks programs at Hutton House, which McRae runs, is to promote independence and personal growth through activities that teach life and leisure skills in a fun environment.

Alumni Profile: Kelsey McRae
St. Clair College Music Theatre Performance Alumni, Kelsey McRae

"A big push in the St. Clair Music Theatre Performance program circled around creating your own opportunities," said McRae. "The arts can be a very competitive environment, and it is rare to walk out of school with people knocking on your door."

In her third year at St. Clair, McRae says they were walked through the business side of the industry and how to build your own opportunities.

"My completed third-year project circled around a company where persons with disabilities have access to the arts – and now I work for an organization that provides that among many other things," explained McRae. "St. Clair gave me an opportunity to dream and brainstorm about what I was passionate about, and map out the steps I needed to take to get there."

She says St. Clair also encouraged her to continue her education at Griffith University in Australia through a transfer agreement program, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Applied Theatre.

McRae says a common misconception of college and university graduates is that there is only one way to utilize your diploma, but it doesn't have to be that way.

"I took my artistic and business abilities that I learned at St. Clair and ran in what some would say a different direction," says McRae.

Knowing that she loved the arts, along with wanting to work with persons with disabilities, she went out and created her own opportunities, McRae explains.

"I targeted organizations such as Hutton House that 'promote and support persons with disabilities through learning and life enhancing programs that focus on each individual's strengths, abilities and interests,' and drafted programs that would combine my love for theatre and improvisation with their organizational mandates and visions," says McRae.

Through her current position, McRae loves that she is able to take the artistic abilities she honed at St. Clair and use them to inspire and impact others through various kinds of programming on a daily basis.

As a piece of advice to students, McRae says it is important to realize that you don't have to be a pro in every aspect of your program to be successful in your career.

"Take the parts of your program that you love and create opportunity for yourself," says McRae. "I knew I loved the arts, but was not great at every part of it. I chose to embrace the things I was good at and carved out my career path. Just be creative, be relentless, and let nothing stand in your way!"

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