Michael Thayer

Michael Thayer Wants to Act and Teach in Kansas City

Theatre, Acting, Masters of Fine Arts | College of Arts and Sciences
Graduation Year: 2016

How has college inspired you?

I have learned about the art of being truly present, and the impact that being present has on your daily life as well as your life on stage.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

Since coming to UMKC, I learned how much life in the arts means to me. Before this, I was working a very time consuming job in New York City. I wasn’t happy because I wasn’t being “artistically nourished.” I learned how vital that sort of nourishment is in my life.

Where is UMKC taking you?

To be a successful working actor, and to make my career my passion.

Why did you choose UMKC?

They chose me from auditions in New York City. I met Professor Ted Swetz at the audition, and felt a strong connection with him. I knew choosing UMKC would be the right decision because he made me feel at home.

Who do you admire most at UMKC?

I admire the theatre faculty here at UMKC. Coming from a state-funded undergraduate theatre program, I know that the arts are usually on the bottom of everyone’s budget. I admire them because they have been able to put together a good program.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?

My movement teacher has a saying that she says before the start of every class: ‘First, I honor life and with it, my life in the theatre.’ I think that works with any career you have chosen for yourself.

What motto do you live by?

Risk. There are a few others. From the Epic Project: There’s no space to say no; it’s important to say yes. Our job as actors is either: Lift the burden or Put the burden on them.

What got you interested in performance?

A sixth grade murder mystery. I was a detective. The audience loved me.

I can be so many different people, ask the hard questions and confront the big ideas.

Do you still get performance anxiety?

Yes, a little is good. I use it for motivation. Breathing helps.

Are you a first-generation college student?

Yes. At first, it scared me. I felt this burden to pick the ‘right’ major, a major that would make my parents proud. What I later realized was that they were proud regardless. That sort of support means the world to me.

What’s your greatest fear?

To be content and stop asking myself the hard questions in life. I do theatre because I can confront those questions head-on.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I can see myself here in Kansas City, working as a regional theatre actor. And who knows, maybe even teaching!

What is one word that best describes you?

Driven. Once I set my mind on it, I work my hardest to achieve it.