University of Montana

  Talent Scholarship  


Arwen Baxter


Arwen Baxter


Arwen Grace Baxter is a junior in the Musical Theatre BFA program and is honored to be awarded the Talent Scholarship. Raised in Pocatello, ID, she discovered her love of acting while performing as Piglet in The House at Pooh Corner at her arts-based elementary school run by an eccentric group of Franciscan nuns. She also participated in the yearly city Speech Festival, performing dramatic readings from her favorite novels. (She’s still known to many as “the kid who did Gollum.”) She gleefully avoided public middle school, electing to homeschool, read all day, take voice and ballet classes, and road trip across the US and southern Europe with her family. After being cast as Ado Annie in her high school’s production of Oklahoma!, she was hooked and spent the next four years participating in school and community theatre. At UM she has had the privilege of performing in White Christmas as Judy, The Wolves as #8, and the pre-COVID-19 rehearsals of Pride and Prejudice as Jane Bennet.


Arwen has focused her academic efforts on theatre because she believes the creative process fosters empathy, establishes connections, and develops sensitivity to historical, political, social, and emotional contexts. She is pursuing a dual degree in theatre and English literature and thinks the practice of stepping outside one’s personal realm of experience and engaging in an in-depth analysis of a play with the intent to physically embody the character of her conclusions is pretty nifty.


Outside of theatre, she’s been assisting in her father’s stream-ecology research since she was six and recently worked as a field technician on projects in Yellowstone National Park and the Frank Church Wilderness. She wants to combine her skills in theatre and music with her knowledge of the language and workings of science to communicate and create across disciplines.


When she’s not acting, Arwen plays guitar and writes and performs her own songs under the pseudonym Wrenagrace. She is also training for a marathon.


Arwen would like to thank her mother for being her support system and theatrical hair stylist, her father for his immense record collection and homeschool education, and her sister, Iris, for sitting through so many living-room practice auditions. She’d also like to thank her advisor, Dr. Pamyla Stiehl, for her mentorship, Erin McDaniel for her magic administrator skills, and the Theatre and Dance faculty and staff for their instruction, guidance, and dedication to the craft. Finally, she’d like to thank the audience and donors for their support and patronage.

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