Mackenzie Dawson had a role in Greystone Theatre's production of The Girl in the Goldfish Bowl. (Photo by David Stobbe)

U of S physiology and pharmacology graduate discovers passion for drama

Mackenzie Dawson has excelled in both arts and science at the College of Arts and Science.

The 24-year-old actor will receive his Bachelor of Fine Arts (honours) degree in drama on June 5 during the University of Saskatchewan’s spring convocation. Dawson’s new degree comes on the heels of the Bachelor of Science (honours) degree in physiology and pharmacology he earned in 2016.

“I think the strongest aspect about the College of Arts and Science is that it is arts and science and that you have the two in reasonable proximity to each other,” Dawson said in a recent interview.

“You have (students) that are doing a science degree that have to take these fine art electives, and it gives them an opportunity to get exposed to different forms of the arts—whether they take a music class or they take acting or printmaking. And a lot of that stuff leads to crossover.”

Dawson first pursued physiology and pharmacology because he was eyeing a career in medicine. However, after taking some drama classes during his undergraduate science degree, he also discovered a passion for theatre.

“It was almost like a restorative class,” he said of drama. “I could just focus and relax and break out in a more creative fashion there.”

In addition to his academic pursuits at the U of S, Dawson ran for five years with the Huskies men’s track and field team. He was a member of the 4x800 team that was awarded the Canada West championship bronze in 2016. Coming from a sports background played into Dawson’s interest in physiology, and he hasn’t ruled out a career in the medical field in the future.

For now, however, Dawson is focusing on his acting career, noting the Department of Drama “stole my heart.”

“It’s such a passion-driven experience, right from the first month of throwing yourself in feet first into the studios they have there, and the classes. It was a whole new world—something totally foreign how they push you expressively,” he said.

“Just being able to explore something so new and finding it so enthralling at every turn—I’d say that’s taken the cake for me so far.”

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