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Pictured is B.A. in musical theatre alumnus E. Clayton Cornelious. Photo | Christopher Rolinson

Former theatre student E. Clayton Cornelious returned to Point Park to host a Q&A with Conservatory of Performing Arts students while he was in town starring in the national tour of Sister Act at the Benedum Center, Feb. 5-10. Some of his Broadway and national tour credits include: The Lion King, Scottsboro Boys, A Chorus Line (revival), Wonderland, Jersey Boys, The Music Man (revival), Dirty Dancing, Hairspray and Sister Act.

Meet E. Clayton Cornelious

Job title: Actor, currently playing Sweaty Eddy Souther in national tour of Sister Act
Hometown: Rankin, Pa.
Now living in: New York City
High School: Woodland Hills High School

Why did you choose to attend Point Park for theatre?

I received an apprenticeship when I auditioned for the Conservatory of Performing Arts, so having that additional funding towards my education was great. I also had the opportunity to see a performance at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and that was amazing. For my apprenticeship, I was hired to work at the concession stand at the opening and closing of a show. I've done every little job you can imagine, which was great to help me prepare for my career.

What was the most beneficial experience at Point Park?

The most beneficial experience was playing Charlie Dalrymple, a supporting role, in Brigadoon my sophomore year. I never thought I would land a non-traditional role like that in college. I was shocked. That experience was a huge wake-up call and sparked me to really be ambitious.

What advice did you offer to current students during your recent visit to Point Park?

  • Get as much training as you can while you are at Point Park. This is one of the best schools in the country.
  • Never stop auditioning.
  • At a young age, find a really good agent.

What advice do you have for students considering a career in theatre?

You have to want to do it. If you don't wake up thinking you want to work in theatre, then it's not for you. Students need to learn more about the business, not just the creative side, because this is a business. That's why they call it show business. It's a lot more than just being on stage. I encourage students to take more business classes. You have to have a plan on how you'll survive, get an agent and find a job.

Anything else you would like to add?

Thank you to Point Park for motivating me and preparing me for my career. It's a dream come true to have the opportunity to perform in my hometown.