CSSSA College Connection Visits New York University

Marshall Ayers Acting, Performing Arts, Playwriting, Student Resources

 Meet Chelsea Barker

10391976_10204322732463444_6894128099392667525_nChelsea’s career in theatre started in 7th grade when she volunteered to be a stage manager. In high school, she also “played boys” because that’s what you do when you go to an all girls Catholic School. She even played a lobster in Alice In Wonderland and “yes, there were no actual lobsters written for the original piece.” It was this diverse experience the helped nurture Chelsea’s love for theatre, which led her to apply to the California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) in 2013. It was there that she learned how to go beyond just playing roles to being, “an actor, an artists, and a citizen.” Chelsea says she was “able to get deep” into her art at CSSSA. Now she finds herself immersed in learning her craft at New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

” CSSSA tripled, if not quadrupled my confidence level and made me appreciate what I had and who I was surrounded by.”

When Chelsea began her filling out her college applications, she thought she would do something practical like major in psychology with a minor in theatre, but over time it became very apparent to her that theatre was what she needed to do. Because her high school was counseling office was college prep focused, Chelsea didn’t get much help with applying to acting programs and had to lean on her drama teacher to help guide her through the process.


Rayne Duronslet Photography

Life at New York University

With the help of her teacher, Chelsea prepared her audition monologues and her hard work paid off. Chelsea is now a sophomore studying acting at NYU. Their system assigns students to professional acting studios and Chelsea was assigned to the Lee Strasberg School of Film and Television, where such actors as Marilyn Monroe, Laura Dern, and Alec Baldwin studied. She has method acting class three times a week, eight hours a day, but has also taken ballet, jazz, dialect, singing, script analysis and tai-chi classes. Tuesdays and Thursdays are set aside for her general education classes, like the physics class she is working on this semester.

When you are born and raised in Los Angeles like Chelsea was, getting used to a new environment on the east coast can be challenging, but life in NYC is invigorating and she is right where she wants to be.


The CSSSA Foundation’s CSSSA College Connection is a web-series featuring CSSSA alumni in their college setting. The series is about the human element of connection, providing peer-to-peer insight regarding the college process in the context of the arch of an individual’s life journey.

California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) Bridge To College
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Marshall Ayers
Arts education specialist with 25+ years experience in non-profit organizations and public educational settings. Marshall founded Artzray to create a community of young, multidisciplinary artists who are seeking professional, practical and personal career resources. Marshall lives and works in LA with her family, but hails from the east coast. When she's not working on Artzray, she would rather be sailing, reading or listening to her son play cello.
Marshall Ayers