How SMU Theatre Prepared ‘Tyrant’ Star Wrenn Schmidt

Film, television and stage actress Wrenn Schmidt (B.F.A. Theatre Studies, ‘05) visited Meadows School of the Arts recently to talk to theatre students about the industry and how her training at SMU prepared her for a career as an actress.

Schmidt, best known for her roles in Our Idiot Brother (2011), Mary and Louise (2014) and Boardwalk Empire (2010), studied in the theatre studies track within SMU’s Division of Theatre. Before SMU, she graduated high school from the prestigious South Carolina Governor’s School of the Arts and Humanities.

Schmidt, now living in Brooklyn, is grateful for the training and knowledge gathered from her time at SMU.

“SMU is such a great school and there are so many great things I learned here,” Schmidt says. “The work that you are doing now at Meadows doesn’t end.”

She shared memories of her encounters, conversations and experiences with members of the faculty during her time at SMU, including Dr. Michael Connolly, Dr. Gretchen Smith, Sara Romersberger, and Dee Darwin, during her time at SMU.

“One thing I learned at SMU was that you don’t know it all…and you don’t have to know it all,” Schmidt says. “Being lost is a sometimes a good thing.”

Early on in her training as a young actress, she had an injury that landed her in crutches, which she considers a blessing in disguise and a “great gift.”

“There are days that feel really hard and days that feel really good, but it is about pushing through those bumps in the road,” Schmidt says. “You learn more from your mistakes than from your successes and good mistakes happen when you let go.”

Shortly after graduation, Schmidt went on to act under the direction of Tony award-winning director Anthony Page in the National Broadway tour of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Bill Irwin and Kathleen Turner. She has performed on stages throughout New York and her work can be seen in several television shows and films.

Schmidt is now represented by ICM Partners and Davis/Spylios. Upcoming work includes season four of CBS’s Person of Interest and Christopher Denham’s Preservation (Present Pictures) with Pablo Schreiber and Aaron Staton. Preservation will open in theatres January 2015. Other recent work includes her role as Kate, the new handler, on FX’s critically acclaimed second season of The Americansopposite Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys and as Jenna Olson on FX’s newest drama, Tyrant.

SEE ALSO: How to Apply to SMU Theatre

By Nick Rallo