Anna Derschmidt is now in her senior year at Idyllwild Arts Academy (IAA). The two-year student started her IAA schooling as a junior in the fall of 2019.

Anna Derschmidt, Idyllwild Arts Academy senior and theater major

Before attending IAA, she attended a public boarding arts high school as a music major — performing violin and singing in the choir — in Vienna, Austria.

Derschmidt found a love for theater, which wasn’t an option at the school in Vienna. Derschmidt decided to follow that passion and was accepted into IAA as a theater major with an emphasis in musical theater. Focusing on musical theater, she attends dance classes, vocal lessons and musical theater repertoire. 

“I always wanted to be on stage and I’ve always been drawn to theater and the connection you have to form with characters,” Derschmidt said. Adding, “You literally have to connect with people who lived 100 years ago or longer, living under completely different circumstances than you, and still find the truth in it.” 

Anna Derschmidt performs in ‘HONK! Jr.’ her junior year at Idyllwild Arts Academy.

While studying musical theater, Derschmidt learned that it isn’t really what she wants to do, but that is all part of why we try new things in life. Experiencing that now while in high school has worked to her benefit.
“Honestly, I noticed that musical theater wasn’t really my thing,” Derschmidt explained. “If it wasn’t for IAA and I was just applying to colleges, I probably would have gone a completely different direction and probably would have applied to very, very different schools. I love dancing and singing and music, but I want to act, and this just isn’t the right path.”

Derschmidt has learned that she really enjoys directing, and she has taken directing classes while attending IAA. Even though musical theater has turned out to be something different from what she expected, IAA has given her many opportunities to grow as an artist. She contributes much of her learning to not only her teachers but her fellow classmates, as well. 

“The thing I am most grateful for is just the people who are here — how much I have learned from students and working with other students,” Derschmidt told the newspaper. “It’s so immensely beautiful and amazing. I feel like this is something you don’t get to experience anywhere else.”

As the high school chapter of life comes to a close, the rest of the world and all that it has to offer opens up.

Derschmidt has big ideas for college and already has a career path she wants to pursue. 

Derschmidt has applied to multiple schools here in the states and in the United Kingdom. She is waiting to make a decision until all of the schools have responded regarding her acceptance. Her top two choices are Rose Bruford College in England and the Theater School Conservatory at DePaul University in Chicago. 

Derschmidt knows she wants to study theater and get her bachelor’s degree, but she is very open to the different schools and the various programs they offer.  

“Many of my programs vary a lot,” Derschmidt said. “Some have aspects of musical theater in them, some are just straight acting, and some are more theory-based. One is mostly theater history combined with a performance aspect. So, I guess depending on where I go, it will make a difference on the path I go in the future. I will probably make a very intuitive decision at the last minute.”

There are many paths in the theater realm for Derschmidt to explore as she pursues her career. When people think of theater, many think of Broadway. However, Derschmidt has no desire to conform to the more traditional theater platform that Broadway provides. 

“I really want to make a living out of theater,” Derschmidt said. “I would love to go into acting but I could see myself doing dramaturgy, or theater science or directing in general. There are many possible paths within the theater working world that I am really compelled by.”

Derschmidt is ready to explore her dreams and propel into the vast world of theater. As she makes the crucial decision of which path to pursue, she is confident in knowing she has a solid foundation from the staff, faculty and fellow students who help educate those at IAA.