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The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

UNI alum brings theater to kids

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COURTESY/CTC
Uthe’s experience at UNI with SAR Improv and UNI Theater helped paved the way to his current profession of Education Administrative Associate for the Children’s Theater Company.

From UNI to Minneapolis, there is no denying Carson Uthe is at home in the theater. 

A 2023 alum, Uthe majored in communication and minored in theater. He is now the education administrative associate for the nation’s largest and most acclaimed theater for young people — Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minneapolis. 

While at UNI, Uthe was a member and leader of UNI improv group Some Assembly Required (SAR) and participated in several UNI Theater productions among other involvements. Now, Uthe is helping kids find their own home in the theater.

“There are so many kids out there who don’t fall into the sports category and don’t fall into a really academic category, and the theater provides an opportunity to be creative and play and have fun,” Uthe said. “It is something that is so important to those kids, because for a lot of them, that’s the only place they can truly be themselves.”

He continued by saying his favorite part of the job is being able to witness kids’ excitement for theater. He recalled how one second grader before one of Uthe’s theater classes was nervous at first, hiding behind his mom. However, after about an hour in Uthe’s class he burst out of the classroom and yelled excitedly, “Mom, I found my home!”

Uthe said,  “That is really why I do it. This is why we do what we do. Even if it’s just for that one kid in a life changing experience. He found his home and maybe it’s something that he’ll do for the rest of his life. But I think that’s why peer education is so important to me.”

Uthe said kids are unafraid to show their honest reactions in a performance, which he appreciates in his position.

“They react so loudly and honestly. They really let you know if they’re having a good time or not,” Uthe said. “When I teach classes, if they don’t like a game, they say ‘Mr. Carson, this sucks.’ And I’m like, ‘Cool I guess we’re doing something else then.’”

He continued, “If they’re watching the show and they love it, they don’t clap nicely. They’re standing up and screaming at the top of their lungs. And there’s just something so honest and truthful about the way they experience the world. And I love to experience that every day.”

Uthe credits his professors at UNI for their guidance, and says his leadership experience in student organizations like SAR helped him on the search for his job at CTC.

“I always champion my theater professors for the reason I got the job in the first place,” Uthe said. “I just constantly love using the skills I learned in class. When I talk in front of over 700 kids everyday, I’m fine with it, because I did it at school. So I’m very thankful for all the skills UNI taught me, both in the classroom and beyond campus.”

Uthe said grappling with imposter syndrome is a challenge as a new graduate, but having leadership opportunities at UNI helped him gain confidence.

“Having that leadership experience helped me feel less like a small fish in a giant pond. The imposter syndrome you get when you graduate is so real because you work with people who have been here for longer than you’ve been alive.”

Uthe said his advice for future graduates is to apply for jobs you don’t always think you may be qualified for or receive.

“Don’t be afraid to shoot your shot,” Uthe said. “I mean, the Children’s Theatre Company is the largest and most acclaimed theater for young audiences in the country. And I never would have thought that I’d be doing this job right out of college. But had I not tried and done my best to get it, I never would have known.”

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CAROLINE CHRISTENSEN, Executive Editor

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