Giving to Duke

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Emily Levinstone ’17 decided on a whim to audition for Duke’s mainstage play, The Perfect Detonator. She ended up stealing the show playing several female and male characters with a Russian accent.

It was her first experience with non-musical theater. “Acting on stage was nerve-racking but it also felt right, like I was doing something I loved,” says Emily. “I can’t imagine a better feeling than that.”

Emily, a trained opera singer, has since developed a passion for theater at Duke. “The professors genuinely care about my growth as an artist and a person,” she says. When the Austin-based theatre collective, Rude Mechanicals, spent time on campus as visiting artists, Emily was inspired by their experimental methods. She has since formed a friendship with Shawn Sides, one of the group’s co-producing artistic directors. “It’s like sitting down with Meryl Streep…that’s how much of a hero she is to me!”

“My friends and I would like to start a collaborative theater company in the future,” says Emily. “I’m so grateful to Duke for introducing me to a career path I’m excited to explore.”

Students like Emily are coming to Duke because of the depth and breadth of its arts programs. In fact, three times as many students are submitting art portfolios, as compared to 10 years ago.


We’re more than a campus in Durham; we are each of you. Only through your support can we continue to save lives, discover treatments and cures, reinvent education, and anchor communities around the world. Our fiscal year ends on June 30 – please make your gift today.