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Performing Arts Alum Erin Farsté (‘15) Thrives in Twin Cities Theater Scene

03/21/2023 9:06 am

By Sara Myers, Digital Media & Communications Specialist 

Performing Arts Alum Erin Nicole Farsté (2015) had done theater her whole life, but never considered it as a career until her senior year of high school. It was during her senior year that her friends encouraged her to look into Rockford University’s Performing Arts program, after Farsté saw RU’s Performing Arts Booth at a college fair she attended.

Farsté graduated from RU in 2015 and immediately started auditioning for productions all over the country through the group United Professional Theatre Auditions (UPTA), which is based in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Her current role is the understudy for the role of “Mother” in Children Theater’s Company production of Corduroy, based on the classic 1968 Children’s book. The production runs now through April 2. The Children’s Theater Company is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and tickets can be found on it’s website.  

During her senior year of high school, Farsté recalls her mother telling her theater would not be beneficial and to be realistic, so Farsté originally planned to be a doctor. 

“I was one of those people that was like, well I have to prove it to you,” Farsté said. “This is the only thing I can do. I actually auditioned for the (Missouri) state show, which was Jekyll and Hyde that year for the Missouri Thespian Festival.”

Farsté, who is originally from Kansas City, Missouri, got cast in the show and told her mother, who was still not convinced. Later though, Farsté said she finally stood up to her mom and told her she wanted to do theater full time and study it in college. She then attended a college fair at the Missouri State Theater Festival where she found the Rockford University booth and met Timm Adams. 

“Everybody in my cast was like, Rockford (University) is amazing and a big deal and you’re so lucky,” she said. 

Once she was at RU and accepted into the BFA program, she became a member in acapella group Vocal Collective and worked with different professors within the theater department that inspired her. When she worked on the show “The Trojan Women” it set off her love for Greek theater. Farsté said her favorite musical she performed at RU was “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”

Once Farsté graduated from RU, she immediately began traveling for her work. 

“My dream was always to leave and perform out of state as often as I could,” she said. “I decided to take a chance and they (UPTA) had me in their 2016-17 season. We had very intensive training before we would go on the road and perform for elementary schools and community centers around Minnesota and Wisconsin.”

Farsté followed that tour with another one for the National Theatre for Children in Minneapolis. She performed with a smaller group and went around to elementary schools in the south (Texas, Louisiana, and more) where she taught electrical safety to elementary students. Her contract with the theater was seven months. When that tour was over she said she realized she had grown tired of the touring life, after two back-to-back acting gigs on the road.

It was then that she decided to stay in the Twin Cities area and settle down. Since making that decision she has worked in most of the theaters in the Twin Cities, such as Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Artistry Theater in Bloomington, and Old Log Theatre in Excelsior.

It was during that time that she started working as a social media manager, which she said gives her the flexibility to juggle theater and work. 

Minneapolis’ Acting Scene

Her current role in Corduroy has been challenging, she said, but also very rewarding. Before the production started she prepared every day by memorizing her lines and when she comes into rehearsals she is learning more about blocking and how the character has developed from rehearsal.

When looking toward her future, Farsté sees herself staying in the Twin Cities area and continuing her theater career there.

“There’s a lot of theater opportunities here,” she said. “More theaters are starting to pop up around. As a Black actress, there’s a lot of opportunity for me. There’s a lot of Asian theater here in town and a lot of Latinx theaters in town, and Indigenous theaters in town.”

Farsté said she is ultimately grateful for her time at RU for giving her the tools she needed to be a working actor today.

“The rigorous training from musical theater to singing with Vocal Collective to the amazing teaching that Miss (Deborah) Mogford and Jeff (Hendry) and Timm (Adams) have been able to provide for the students,” she said. “That’s really how I’ve been able to have a thriving career in theater. Just being at the right place at the right time has definitely helped as well.”