A Practicing Playwright: Alex Riad ’12
As a high school senior in San Jose, CA, Alex Riad was originally planning to pursue a career in criminal justice. Then he took a playwriting class. “It just came out of me,” he says of his experience writing. “And hearing your words come to life on stage—it’s the best feeling you can have.”
So instead of going to UC Irvine to study criminology, he came to Wells to major in English and Theater, a decision he made in large part due to the support he would receive to get his plays produced. He found that at other campuses, it would likely take a long time to get to the point of seeing his shows on stage, whereas at Wells, the faculty was ready to equip him to get to opening night faster.
“Here, if you tell your theater professor that you want to be a playwright, she does what it takes get you there,” he says. “If you have the drive to do something at Wells, you get the support to make it happen.”
During Alex’s first year, he wrote and produced two plays at Wells, and has since produced two more, including one that was also staged in Bath, England during his semester abroad.
Alex’s theater professor, Siouxsie Easter, has played a central role in propelling his playwriting career. “She advises me on what I need to get it done and organizes the students to make it a reality. She’s my professor—not a TA. But she’s more just a professor. She has invited all the theater students to her home, traveled with us, and gotten to know us well.”
Beyond getting faculty support, Alex has found his peers ready to help. “Everyone at Wells is always up for doing something as a group to accomplish a goal,” he says. “So many students get involved in the shows here—not just theater students.”
Alex’s mother, Suzanne Doty ’71, is thrilled by her son’s success at her alma mater. Although the distance between San Jose and Aurora keeps her from seeing some of his shows, she knows that he has a cadre of fans. One of them, Alex’s “adopted grandfather,” is Alan Clugston, English Professor Emeritus. Joining with the rest of the Wells community, Professor Clugston is there to cheer Alex on, just as he supported his mother when she was a psychology major at Wells.