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recently informed of your posting for a Set Designer/Builder and I am interested in being considered for the position. As a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Morris' Theatre Arts program, I am seeking not only a job related to my chosen field, but also a job from which I can learn and grow. For me, theater, especially youth theater, is more than just “something to do”; it can also provide valuable life experiences for young people. I believe that theater programming at the middle and high school levels enhances creativity, builds confidence, reinforces public speaking and teambuilding skills, teaches compromise and cooperation, and hones critical thinking skills. Furthermore, it serves as an appropriate and positive outlet for the intense emotions often experienced by teenagers. My claims may seem idealistic, but I have witnessed the effects of arts education on many students over the last ten years; these instances urge me to turn my passion for dramatic literature and my desire to share it with others into an enjoyable and serviceable career. As a stage director for Morris Area High School I spent ten years encouraging the talents of the same group of students. It was incredibly rewarding to watch them grow as people as well as artists. I enjoyed helping them figure out which aspect of this wide-ranging art they really enjoyed, whether it be acting or singing, set building or stage management. Discovering these truths about their passions and then giving them the opportunity to actually go out and use them was an experience that, for me, defines arts education: the chance to give young people the tools and the opportunities to express themselves. To be a part of that process is one of the reasons I am applying for the set designer position. As you can see by my resume, my design experience is fairly varied and also linked with my directorial experience, since it is almost a certainty that if I directed a show I also had a hand in its design or construction. As a result, I have found I can get a very clear picture of how to build anything,whether it be a full set or a simple prop. The directors with whom I have worked as a designer have been able to express their needs or ideas to me, and I have rendered physical manifestations of those needs and ideas. Responsibility for the direction, design, and construction of many productions has given me experience on several fronts as well as the ability to appreciate the experiences of my fellow theater practitioners from a variety of perspectives. I feel that I could make an important contribution to Saint Paul Academy and Summit School. Not only do I have the necessary experience, but I am eager to continue learning. New technology, new techniques, new ideas: these are the kinds of discoveries that make theatrical design so exciting for me. Furthermore, I am eager to find a place where I can help young people grow as artists, where I can see them change and help them figure out who they are. I believe theater is an art form that can help people find these answers, answers to important questions about themselves or life in general. I also believe that with all my knowledge and all my skill as a designer, director, producer, stage manager, publicity coordinator, or even actor, it is my duty to help others find those answers as well. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Peter J Ray