Actress uses performance to express political issues
Many college students wrestle with the idea of studying something they value as a passion or something they see as a more practical, worthwhile investment for the years following graduation. Kimberly Bollard, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, personally went through an educational dilemma similar to this, but has been pursuing her passion full force since she has decided to make a change.
Throughout her first year at Rutgers, Bollard was studying both chemistry and math. Being totally unsure of what she wanted to do with her life — she was unhappy, but felt her fields of study were worthy investments. She was involved with theatre her whole life and in the beginning of her sophomore year, she decided to audition and participate in the 2014 edition of Cabaret Theatre’s Directors' Showcase — an opportunity for first-time directors to direct a one-act play of their choosing.
After her positive experiences there, Bollard decided to take control of her educational pursuits and made a conscious decision to pursue theatre for the rest of her life.
“Ever since I changed my major, I have been really heavily involved with Cabaret Theatre,” Bollard said.
After getting her feet wet in the on-campus theatre scene, she hasn’t skipped a beat in terms of being involved. Just this semester, Bollard has performed in two student-run productions at Cabaret — Rutgers Night Live and A Chorus Line. She is also going to be a general ensemble member in the upcoming production of Rent, and is going to be the leading role of Penelope Pennywise in the Livingston Theatre Company’s production of "Urinetown."
The artistic prowess does not stop there, as Bollard also started a web series called “Ellipsis,” hosted by three women who talk about their periods, which serves as a way for Bollard to use her art and theater performance to convey her opinions on issues she finds important.
“My web series was inspired by my cousin's fiance, he was talking about how he wanted to make a show about women talking about their period," Bollard said. "I thought the idea was brilliant — because over the years, I have noticed how uncomfortable people get when talking about anything related to the female anatomy in a non-sexual way.“
This isn’t the first time Bollard has used her performance platforms to convey her opinion on social and political issues. In her frequent performances at Rutgers Night Live, a student-run, Rutgers-themed show based off of Saturday Night Live, she has always taken on the anchor role during the weekend update.
Bollard also had a play she wrote and directed recently get displayed at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in late March. The play was displayed as part of a film festival concentrating on domestic abuse issues and the issues women face in motherhood. Bollard’s play was selected through an application process, and she was responsible for coordinating play practices and getting her own team of actors and actresses.
Being a woman who is so involved with campus theatre, one might wonder if Bollard does anything in terms of leadership for other girls on campus — and the answer to that question is yes. During the fall semester, Bollard took on the role of Barbara Voorhees, a peer mentor for a class of Douglass students, as well as being extremely vocal and persistent about women supporting each other in the educational community.
Bollard embodies a lot of what the college experience entails, from learning about the practical versus the passionate, learning what is really important to you when coming of age as an adult and really learning how to stick up for yourself with what you believe in.