Actor and singer Betzabeth Castro, ’18, was named a Joanne Woodward intern at Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut — one of only three to receive the honor in 2021. The summer program, which is regarded among the nation’s preeminent theater training opportunities, is highly competitive with more than 120 applicants this year — an acceptance rate of 2.5 percent.
As the Playhouse’s education intern, Castro worked on educational productions, programs, and events, drawing on her experience on stage and working with students. In June 2021, she starred as Maria in Fairfield Center Stage’s production of The Sound of Music. In addition, she performed recently in New England with Legacy Theater, ReBirth Arts Collective, Westport Country Playhouse, and Advice for the Players.
Castro is also an educational assistant at Housatonic Community College’s Writing Center. Housatonic is where she first felt the lure of the stage. She credits Geoffrey Sheehan, professor of theater arts, with inspiring her to study the craft. “He showed me what theater can do for a community, and I just wanted to dive headfirst into it,” she says.
Armed with an associate degree from Housatonic, she transferred to Southern, where she maintained her theater focus and, two years later, graduated magna cum laude. Along the way, she continued to perform. Her most memorable Southern role, she says: portraying Eurydice in Polaroid Stories by Naomi lizuka under the watchful eye of Raphael Massie, ’99, who directed the show. “He really helped me step into this challenging role and embody it fully. I came out a stronger actor than when we first began rehearsals,” she says of Massie, who is an artistic associate at the esteemed Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Castro advises students majoring in theatre to test the waters. “If you’re an actor, obviously perform, but try other things, too — like being crew, helping with the set, stage management, design, writing, directing, etc.,” she says. “Experience everything that theater has to offer at least once, and you will definitely collect a lot of transferable skills.”