Amanda Pawlik ’07
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Amanda Pawlik ’07

Amanda Pawlik ’07

Amanda Pawlik credits much of her success as an actor, director, educator, and now executive director to the rigorous English and drama coursework she took in the College of Arts and Sciences. She believes these courses, which focused on analyzing writing and breaking down a story from all sides—characters, theme, and style—improved her ability to communicate effectively and have helped her across the board in her creative work. Professor Erin Striff remembers Pawlik for her “excellence in both theatre theory and practice” and for starting traditions within the College that continue today, including the 24-Hour Theatre Project and the Night of New Works.

Soon after graduating from the University of Hartford, Pawlik launched her career at Hampstead Stage Company, where she spent a year touring the country as an actor, performing everywhere from rural Montana to New York City, and later became a resident company member, acting in several of Hampstead’s summer mainstage productions. During her time as resident company member, Pawlik directed several of Hampstead’s productions and also served as Hampstead’s associate artistic director. In 2012, Pawlik focused on her passions for directing and teaching. She was selected to participate in DirectorsLabChicago, an intensive weeklong program for national and international theatre directors. In 2014 Pawlik was named executive director of the Windsor Art Center, a visual and performing arts space in downtown Windsor, Connecticut. In this position, she is working to expand the Art Center’s reach into the Greater Hartford community.

Amanda Pawlik '07 working with Paolo Celentano '18 for his part in the show <em>Arcadia</em>.

Pawlik was a guest artist at the University of Hartford, teaching workshops in acting and dramatic literature and guest directing the drama minors’ fall productions—leading students through theater practices as varied as devising, physical theatre, and dialect work. In the fall of 2014, she is worked on a production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, which consisted of 30 undergraduates from a range of majors, including dance and vocal performance majors in the Hartt School, art majors in the Hartford Art School, education majors, and the College of Arts and Sciences students majoring in English, biology, cinema, and beyond.

Pawlik recalls the English and drama faculty as being both challenging and supportive. “In my senior year, I did a creative honors thesis and directed a production of How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel. I still remember how supported I felt by the words of encouragement from the faculty and being touched that so many of them took the time to come see the production or attend some of the supporting programs.” When Pawlik teaches, she tries to channel the passion for subject matter and dedication to students that her professors modeled. She credits professors Robert Logan, Jane Barstow, and William Stull in the English Department, and drama faculty Sally Porterfield, Brian Jennings, and Harvey Campbell for playing a significant role in her development. Erin Striff perhaps had the greatest impact on Pawlik. “When I first started at the University of Hartford, Erin saw something in me and really encouraged me to challenge myself. Her support throughout my four years and beyond has meant so much to me. I remember her telling me, ‘Don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard.’ And I have taken this piece of advice with me into everything I do. I don’t think I would be the leader, director, or teacher that I am today without her and I am so grateful to her for her mentorship.”