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Broadway star, TJC alumna Donna Bullock conducts masterclass

Broadway, film and TV actor and Tyler Junior College alumna Donna Bullock returned to TJC last week to conduct a masterclass with current theatre students.

Bullock’s numerous credits include a leading role in the Broadway production of “Ragtime,” a starring role in the NBC drama, “Against the Grain,” as well as guest roles in “Frasier” and “Touched by an Angel.”  In the movie, “Air Force One,” starring Harrison Ford, she played the president’s press secretary.
 
Bullock, a 1976 TJC graduate, was a standout music and drama student, and was part of numerous TJC productions, including “The Music Man” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” She was also a member of TJC’s “Harmony and Understanding,” a vocal performing group.
 
For the TJC masterclass, Bullock trained students in the “Alexander Technique,” which according to its website “is a method that works to change (movement) habits in our everyday activities. It is a simple and practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination.”
 
Bullock demonstrated the method and instructed students in the technique, encouraging them to be aware of how they moved within their surroundings. She also fielded questions from those in attendance.  
 
When asked how she felt TJC had prepared her for her acting career, Bullock said, “TJC gave me a lot of confidence. I was in ‘Harmony and Understanding’ under J.W. Johnson’s wing and I got to perform.”
 
“I felt I was flanked on all sides. If I needed something, somebody was there to help me. I felt that both the theater and music department really supported me and believed in me.”

Bullock went on to say that TJC prepared her to audition at SMU, where she attended college after her TJC graduation.
 
Lara Smith, TJC department chair for Speech and Theatre, said, “We were delighted that Donna was willing to spend the afternoon with us. She is a gifted performer and professional and we are proud to call her one of our own. Her desire to connect with our students through the masterclass was evident from start to finish. The students responded eagerly to her direction and will hopefully take these learning moments with them forever.”
 

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