Tommy Armstrong ’20 lets his passions drive his college experience, an opportunity uniquely offered by an Ursinus education. And, since arriving at the college nearly two years ago, his numerous on-campus endeavors have exposed some untapped creative talents.
Most surprising to him was his adeptness in musical theatre. Armstrong’s first encounters with acting were not so memorable—they were the occasional mandatory grade school plays. Unintentionally, his perception of musicals quickly changed during his first semester at Ursinus when he enrolled in Professor Domenick Scudera’s Stage Comedy course. This is where Armstrong came to the divine discovery that perhaps “theatre’s alright.” He says, “It is just another medium of art and entertainment. And it’s live! Beat that.”
While the acting bug may not have always been there, Armstrong recognized early on that he had a strong yearning to exercise his creative abilities. He confirms, “I knew when I was looking at schools that my first priority was creative writing. I really wanted my college experience to help me determine the type of creative writing I wanted to do and get really good at it.”
Fortunately, Ursinus not only had a strong creative writing program but it also offered immense financial aid that resulted in the college being the most viable option—a win-win for all. Armstrong says, “Scholarship support helps me accomplish what I want to do with little apprehension about student debt. It opens up the possibility of graduate school in film and lets me use a good deal of the money I make from professional video production to fund personal projects as opposed to tuition.”
When he arrived, Armstrong decided to take full advantage of his education by immersing himself in a variety of extracurriculars. He has directed several screenplays as well as writes for the school newspaper, The Grizzly. His first writing assignment for the paper covered the happenings of the U-Imagine Center. Through that experience, he not only learned more about the mechanics of the Center, but he also was encouraged to apply to two student competitions, which resulted in him winning a BEAR Innovation Prize and funding for his creative projects. Armstrong continues to stay involved with the Center and, through a workshop last spring, he developed the production model for his debut musical, Tune Out, which was recently screened at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, Pa.
We look forward to watching Armstrong’s creative projects develop as he ventures out into the world and embraces the bright lights.
Armstrong’s additional creative projects, including the trailer for his most recent film Tune Out can be found on his website, TommyArmstrongProductions.com.