Alexa Fae McDaniel is a second-year St. Thomas University student majoring in English and History. McDaniel is an assistant director of the St. Thomas Early English Dramatic Society’s (STEEDS) production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
McDaniel was involved in the STEEDS performance of Hamlet last year. As a transgender student, it was not an easy decision.
“I want to involve [myself] into the theatre, but I [was] terrified. It’s nice and fun. But not safe,” she said.
McDaniel said most of the time she would be in a situation in where she wouldn’t have control of her identity.
Esther Soucoup, a transgender director involved in various STU theatre groups, become the primary motivation for McDaniel to attempt her first play.
“I thought I can try it now that it’s my first year of my university and there is a transgender director here,” she said.
McDaniel believes playwriting is the prefect artistic avenue. Compared with other arts, plays are easier to perform to the public. And you don’t need to sell your play to anybody the same you have have to sell art pieces. Instead, playwriting helps build the resumés and profiles of first-time writers.
Due to a lack of acting experience, some mistakes happened for McDaniel in Hamlet. Then fellow actor and now head director this year, Anthony Bryan, took advantage of McDaniel’s love of playwriting and helped her jump from the position of actor to assistant director.
“I do want to continue getting more experience into producing and directing side,” she said.
McDaniel wants to be a transgender director for somebody else. Because she knows thousands of transgender people like her just need someone to make them feel comfortable getting involved in theatre. She would like to provide those opportunities to others in the future.