Luke Edward Smith undertook a diverse educational journey at Excelsia College, commencing with a Bachelor of Theology in 2004. However, midway through his studies, he transitioned to a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Drama) and successfully graduated in 2007.
Expressing initial uncertainty about his path, Luke shares, ‘I was drawn to theology but wasn’t entirely sure where it would lead. Having enjoyed drama in high school, the unique blend of creative arts at Excelsia intrigued me. I harboured a hope of getting involved artistically at some point, and Excelsia seemed like the perfect place for that to happen organically.’
Describing his time at Excelsia College, Luke characterises it as a blend of ‘faith, fun, and growth.’ The Student Centre and grassy knoll served as a central hub for students, fostering a sense of community and belonging. ‘It was always a very welcoming and inclusive place to study, with everyone being encouraging and supportive. The Gathering was also a great place to see the other departments do their thing.’
Luke fondly recalls the late-night rehearsals and show preparations as the highlights of his college days. ‘There was something exciting about knowing we were about to open a production and being in the car park late, chatting before we went home. The creative excitement and nerves and that feeling of having come together and created something with like-minded people.’
Post-graduation, Luke, along with some peers, founded Twisted Tree Theatre, a venture well-supported by the College and the Head of Drama. Reflecting on this experience, Luke notes, ‘It was incredibly well supported by the College and by the Head of Drama at the time. I think after working at our craft for three years, it was a tremendous stepping stone to producing and exploring work outside of a classroom environment. I think the discipline I learned during our study was really cemented when we were creating theatre together afterwards.’
In his current role as an actor in New York City and as actor, director, writer, and producer for Primitive Grace Theater Ensemble, Luke still uses the diverse skills acquired during his Excelsia days. Collaborating with other companies and film productions, he remains active in the performing arts. Luke was credited this year on ‘Playbill’ for his show at the Gene Frankel Theater with his ongoing work at the Actors Studio.
Luke acknowledges Excelsia’s impact on countless lives and hopes for its enduring spirit. ‘The friendships I made and the training I received will stay with me for the rest of my life. I hope the spirit of the College endures and that the students coming through are able to enjoy their time there as much as I did.’