Michael Frederick Ahmad
Theatre Arts student uses theatre to encourage acceptance and diversity
For Michael Frederick Ahmad theatre expands beyond the stage into all aspects of his life. After three and a half years with the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies department it’s not hard to see how he has made an impact at USD. Ahmad has performed in every major stage production since he started as a freshman at USD and after a starring role in "Cabaret" finished his college acting career with two roles in "An Experiment with an Air Pump".
Getting the role of Master of Ceremonies in this semester’s musical production "Cabaret" gave Ahmad the opportunity to perform one of his dream roles while still in college. He drew on his many talents and experiences in acting, singing, dancing and modeling to bring to life a character that not only exemplifies the political and social arena of Berlin, Germany during the 1930s, but demonstrates the tremendous changes experienced by German culture.
Ahmad was recently honored by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) for his role in "Cabaret" and is nominated for the Irene Ryan Scholarship. With this nomination he will compete in February at the regional festival, presenting scenes and a monologue, as well as participating in various acting workshops. This is his second nomination.
More than simply a rich experience of acting and performing, Ahmad recognizes that the undergraduate Theatre Arts and Performance Studies program provides students with so much more. Under the direction of Department Chair, Robert Barry Fleming, MFA, students are encouraged to see the connection between performance and real life, creating socially responsible artists who understand how art operates in society. Ahmad has applied his performance training and personal experiences at USD to both promote dialogue and encourage the acceptance of individual differences in sexual orientation.
Along with his acting, singing and modeling on campus and in the community, Ahmad has been active in a variety of other areas of USD life. He is currently a residential advisor (RA) and active member of Rainbow Educators. Rainbow Educators are a group of faculty, students, staff and alumni that conduct workshops and presentations on sexual orientation and other diversity issues to groups on campus. Crediting his participation in various organizations on campus along with his liberal arts education, Ahmad intends to continue to pursue his varied interested and talents. "I enjoy the process of creating so much and I think that coming to USD and having this interdisciplinary education has only fed that inclination to create."
Ahmad will graduate a semester early, leaving USD in December with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts. He recently finished recording and producing an album on his personal label MFArecords, which will be available on iTunes in February. He will also continue pursuing professional acting and modeling.
- Lyndsey Scully
To learn more about his music, upcoming album release and performances, and listen to a preview, please visit his Facebook Fan Page under the stage name Phaero.