Monday 16 Oct 2023
DSAS Graduates Kevin Xue

New York Film Academy

New York Film Academy – School of Film and Acting (NYFA) is a for-profit film school and acting school based in New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami. The New York Film Academy was founded in 1992. It is accredited by NASAD, WASC and China's Ministry of Education. The school has attracted a large number of outstanding students from all over the world to study with its innovative courses and highly professional teachers.

Skidmore College

Skidmore College was founded in 1903 and is a private liberal arts college in Saratoga Springs, New York. Skidmore grants students the ability to pursue a wide variety of degrees. There are 43 majors, an average class size of 16, and more than 1000 courses offered. The most popular majors pursued by Skidmore students include English, business, psychology, political science, economics, studio art, theater, biology and environmental studies. Skidmore has been named as one of the "New Ivies" by Newsweek. The college was ranked tied for the 36th best national liberal arts college in the 2021 edition of U.S. News & World Report. The 2020 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranking of U.S. colleges and universities placed Skidmore at 93rd. For its 2019 America's Top Colleges list, Forbes rated Skidmore 101st overall.

Kevin Xue, DSAS Grade 12 student

On a late winter’s night, the drama classroom of the Upper Secondary School was alight, shining brightly in the quiet, dark campus, like a beacon in the dark night. Now the dust has settled, Kevin Xue, who has received two offers to read drama from New York Film Academy and Skidmore College, has finally fulfilled his promise and is ready to start his journey exploring the wider world of drama.

Drama gives me more possibilities

Kevin's father is a drama enthusiast, growing up within a family atmosphere full of the arts, Kevin has had a strong interest in acting since he was a child. Since transferring to Nanwai King’s College School Kevin has accomplished many “firsts” in drama: his first drama class, his first leading role, his first one-act play... ...

Kevin was introduced to drama in Grade 10 when he was involved in the school's annual production ‘Guys and Dolls’. His first drama teacher was Ms. Rebecca Dorrington, who introduced Kevin to acting. Two subsequent years of study with Mr. Philip J. Oosthuizen, Head of Drama at DSAS, further improved his performance skills. Kevin has performed leading roles in "Beauty and the Beast" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and participated in the 24-Hour Theater Festival for two consecutive years, in Grades 11 and 12. In 2020 Kevin was invited to deliver a speech at the opening ceremony of the festival in 2020 and won the award for ‘Best Actor’. He has a leading role in the next DSAS performance, ‘A Doll's House’ which will be performed at the end of April.

In order to realize his acting dreams, Kevin showed no hesitation in choosing acting as his major. A professional audition is required as part of the admissions process in most US universities. To avoid missing any opportunity, Kevin adjusted his biological clock. Every quiet night he tirelessly practiced alone again and again in the classroom. His dedication, enthusiasm and perseverance brought him success and opened the path to his future career.

Kevin has been a dedicated Drama student in class. He has been a key member of school productions where he has managed an average 150 rehearsal hours per show. This year he will be playing the role of Torvald Helmer in Henrik Ibsen's ‘A Doll's House’.

In addition to his in-school Drama experience, Kevin together with members from our Expressive Arts faculty rehearsed his audition pieces hours on end in the evenings after school and at the weekends. His college counsellor, Kayla Chen, members of boarding, and our operations team assisted with logistical arrangements. Kevin would sometimes need to complete auditions as late as 1am in the morning but this team of people supported him whole-heartedly all the way.

——Mr Philip J. Oosthuizen, Head of Drama

DSAS has four professional drama teachers in the Drama department, who have made great achievements in drama including western classical performance, Chinese traditional drama, directing, mask work, dubbing, musical, physical theatre, screenwriting. Kevin's successful application is inseparable from the guidance of his drama teacher, because different kinds of auditions are required for each application. Some auditions are prerecorded, others are live, with live auditions usually taking place after 9 pm. For pre-recorded videos, some universities require modern works, some classical plays and others creative videos focused on self-introduction. All preparations for auditions need the guidance of drama teachers. In addition to drama, Mr. Oosthuizen is also a pastoral teacher for the Upper Secondary School. He dedicates many of his lunchtimes and weekends to prepare together with students; they brainstorm and rehearse committedly, edit videos, select photos and undertake mock interviews which help improve student’s skills and ensure they are fully prepared.


"Enthusiastic" was the first word used by Kevin’s university guidance counsellor to describe him. He is not only passionate about drama, but also obsessed with sports. He placed a lot of fitness equipment in his dormitory so that he could exercise at any time. Meanwhile, as a key member of the DSAS school basketball team and house basketball team, over the past three years he has participated in many sports competitions inside and outside of school. His athleticism and performance brought Kevin awards at the 2018-2019 Sports Awards and at the 2018-2019 cross-country event. “Being immersed in a drama acting and figuring out the characters is very mind-twisting. Exercise makes me feel completely relaxed."

Many Chinese children are not confident and humorous, but Kevin really is." The second word used to describe Kevin was "humorous" -- sometimes he can be a little unreliable, inattentive, playful or make silly mistakes, but he always uses humor to solve the problem. His mantra is ‘have confidence’, and we believe he was born with confidence. Kevin is popular with both students and teachers because of his sense of humor. Many of his classmates appeared in his university application video. His English teacher once asked students to imitate a journalist interviewing a celebrity. In the Podcast Kevin submitted, he imitated Donald Trump, it was very vivid and memorable.

It is often said that "Character determines destiny". This may or may not be true, but it is indisputable that Kevin will go far in the field he loves.

Excellence originates from passion

For the goal of his university applications, Kevin has always focused on his passion. He considered sports management as his major when he was in Grade 10, followed by economics. During the summer vacation of Grade 11, he solemnly told his teachers and parents that he had changed his mind and would like to choose acting as his major. People’s initial responses were along the lines of: "Well, that's not going to work." First of all, he only had two years’ experience of drama performance at school, he was still in the enlightenment stage compared with many students who had had access to professional performance and support much earlier. Secondly, no one in his family has ever been engaged in the performing arts industry, so he has no relevant experience to refer to. Thirdly, not many Chinese students apply for acting as their major, perhaps due to barriers in language and cultural understanding when performing in English.

Teachers and parents began to persuade Kevin separately. They all thought that it was just a whim and he would naturally give up his idea when he met with difficulties. However, to everyone's surprise, Kevin's passion did not subside. On the contrary, he became more determined, especially with the strong support of his drama teacher. Gradually through his actions, he removed the doubts in his family’s minds and his parents also became his firm supporters.

"I remember it was October when Kevin and I were preparing for a third-party mock interview and I asked him why he chose drama. Kevin, who is usually laughing and joking, seemed to be a different person. He looked at me sincerely and said that he knew many Chinese people would think this major is not a major with bright future, and it would be difficult to develop without , but as Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “One of the main reasons people want to have a plan B is because they are worried about failing. What if I fail then I don't have anything else? Well, let me tell you something, don't be afraid of failure because there's nothing wrong with failure, you have to fail in order to climb that ladder. There's no one who hasn’t failed at anything.”

This inspirational speech in 2019 became the driving force for Kevin and helped him to move forwards. His university guidance counsellor, Kayla, was deeply moved by Kevin’s words. "We were always worried that this young man would make a rash and ill-considered decision. We always thought of all kinds of difficulties while ignoring his inner passion.” After the interview, Kayla told Kevin that she would give him full support.

As time went on, Kevin showed everyone his seriousness and dedication to drama through his actions. For example, he always carries his little notebook entitled ‘6 Years to an Oscar’ which gives him creative inspiration. He records his performance experiences within it. Once, in order to find the feeling of acting nervousness, he tried endless ways, and was even preoccupied by this task whilst eating and sleeping. During the first semester of Grade 12, he registered for online acting courses at the University of London, to learn about the history and theory of acting, hoping to accumulate more theoretical knowledge of drama.

Kevin is grateful for the drama education he received at DSAS as he started his acting career here. He hopes he can make contribution to drama education after he finishes his studies and returns to China.