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A Twitter contest is the quickest way to get more followers, improve your engagement rate, and increase brand awareness on the platform.

Twitter contests and giveaways are a fun and easy way to drive engagement. They’re quick to set up, simple to run, and can help you gather useful information about your audience.

Best of all, running a Twitter contest doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. In fact, the simpler, the better!

Keep reading for an easy guide to running contests on Twitter, including nine great contest ideas to jumpstart your next promotion.

Bonus: Download the free 30-day plan to grow your Twitter following fast, a daily workbook that will help you establish a Twitter marketing routine and track your growth, so you can show your boss real results after one month.

You can use Twitter contests or giveaways to achieve a variety of different goals. Before you get started, think about what you want to accomplish with your contest.

For example, your goals could include the following:

Growing your follower base

Twitter giveaways can help boost your follower count. If your goal is to grow your audience, include a “tag a friend” or “retweet” component in your contest. Before launching, decide how many new followers you’re hoping to gain. (Remember, your goals should always be SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound)

Building brand awareness

Twitter contests are a great way to build brand awareness. As of mid-2024, Twitter has 206 million daily active users worldwide. That means your contest has the opportunity to reach a huge number of users. If you want to build buzz, include a clear and straightforward brand message.

Promoting a new product

Use a Twitter contest or giveaway to build hype around the launch of a new product. This type of contest relies heavily on imagery, so keep this in mind, as it may incur a cost. Make sure you have great photos of your product or giveaway bundle so your social posts pop.

Setting up a Twitter contest or giveaway is simple. It just requires a bit of planning on your part.

1. Set an objective for your Twitter contest

Start by defining a clear goal for your Twitter contest. Include measurable targets such as increased follower count or impressions. This will help you gauge your success after the contest closes. Solid numbers can help you decide whether to run contests again in the future.

2. Plan your contest

Sort out the logistics for your contest, including:

What type of contest or giveaway is it?

When will your contest or giveaway start?

How long will it run?

What is the closing date? Be specific here to avoid disappointment, ex. September 30th, 2023, at 11:59 PM ET

3. Select a prize

Next, pick a prize for your contest or giveaway. This may be a digital prize or a physical item that must be shipped or picked up by the winner.

Digital prize ideas:

Credit for your online shop

Digital tickets to an exclusive event or special performance

Digital experiences such as Zoom meet-and-greets

Physical prize ideas:

Best-selling item in an exclusive colorway

Special prize pack or bundle

In-person experiences such as a party for the winner and a group of friends

If your prize includes an item or giveaway bundle, make sure to show off your prize with an eye-catching post. This will motivate users to share your posts and help your contest gain traction online.

4. Develop your contest guidelines

What do you want users to do in order to win? Maybe they’ll need to follow your account, retweet your post, or submit specific content. Make your contest requirements and deadlines clear, so there’s no confusion.

Don’t forget to review Twitter’s guidelines for promotions before launching your contest. We recommend setting clear Twitter contest rules to discourage spam. These include barring users from making multiple entries in a single day or entering using multiple accounts.

5. Promote your contest

Now it’s time to launch your contest! But the work isn’t over yet.

Schedule regular posts to promote your contest. Keep an eye on entries, too. Engage with users who have entered by liking their posts or responding to their questions.

Choose a unique hashtag so you’re not sifting through unrelated tweets to find contest entries. Try something like #YourBrandNameGiveaway or #ItemNameGiveaway22.

If your brand is active on another platform, try cross-promoting your contest. Try posting a direct link in your Instagram Stories to bring some of those followers over to Twitter.

6. Track your contest entries with a social media management tool

A robust tool can help you track contest entries and monitor engagement in real-time.

Hootsuite Streams is a great tool to track the activity on your social channels. You can keep an eye on post engagement, conversations, mentions, keywords, and hashtags – all in one place!

7. Pick a winner and deliver the prize

Picking a winner can seem daunting, but don’t worry. You don’t need to close your eyes and point to a random tweet!

Many online tools can automate this process. They can also ensure that your winner has satisfied all the contest requirements. (Keep scrolling for more on those tools)

8. Review your contest

After your contest closes, review your original goals. Was your contest a success? Did you increase your follower count or boost your brand impressions?

An analytics platform like Hootsuite can help you review the numbers. You can even create custom reports to show the impact on your brand and bottom line. This data can help you design your next successful Twitter contest or giveaway.

Not sure how to structure your Twitter contest? We’ve outlined nine different types of Twitter contests to help inspire your next giveaway.

Choose one of the options below or mix and match to create your own unique promotion.

Retweet to enter

Asking users to retweet your post to enter is the easiest way to run a Twitter giveaway. It requires very little effort on the user’s part, so they’re more likely to hit the retweet button. If your goal is to build brand awareness, this contest option is for you.


Hit that RT button for a chance to win a $500 @Fred_Meyer gift card, as we celebrate the new Mariners Rewards Program! Accumulate points as you shop and cash them in for tickets, merch, memorabilia and more.

— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) August 20, 2023

Like, follow, and retweet to enter

This variation on the “retweet to enter” giveaway requires a bit more work for users. But it delivers a better payoff from a brand standpoint. Likes and retweets help build brand awareness while asking users to follow to enter is a surefire way to increase your follower count.

#GIVEAWAY 4 winners will receive the FULL ColourPop Collection inspired by High School Musical & 1 winner will win the collection along with a Pebble Grain Zip Pod Backpack from @dooneyandbourke!

— ColourPop Cosmetics (@ColourPopCo) August 19, 2023

Reply to win


We’re giving away free VIP @Coachella passes for weekend two. Follow these two simple steps for a chance to win.

— LAY’S (@LAYS) April 9, 2023

— Doritos (@Doritos) July 6, 2023

Tag a friend to enter

If you want to increase your follower count, include “follow and tag a friend” in your contest requirements. Tags allow you to reach a broader audience without requiring too much effort from users to enter.

Win your own personally customized YETI Rambler 64 oz Bottle With Chug Cap!

— Perfect Game USA (@PerfectGameUSA) February 11, 2023

Partner with a brand or influencer

Reach a new audience by joining forces with another brand or a social media influencer. Pick a contest type that addresses your mutual goals, and ask users to follow both accounts to be eligible to win.

— GameStop Canada 🎮 (@GameStopCanada) February 14, 2023

We’ve partnered up with @HattiersRum to bring you a bundle that will have you raising a glass to the long weekend 🌴

— Luscombe Drinks (@luscombedrinks) August 15, 2023

Use a hashtag to enter

Don’t forget to create a unique hashtag for your Twitter contest. No one wants to spend hours sifting through unrelated tweets to find contest entries. Hashtag contests are a great way to increase brand awareness.

Football watching just got even better 🏈

Never miss a play again with the Pepsi Gametime Fridge TV.

For a chance to win it, Quote Tweet & tag who you spend game days with using #GametimeFridgeTV #PepsiSweepstakes

— Pepsi (@pepsi) August 18, 2023

Share a photo to enter

A photo contest makes it easy to gather user-generated content (UGC). UGC is original, brand-specific content created by customers. UGC can be photos or images, videos, reviews, testimonials, and more.

Win a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!

Submit a photo & story of you living The Beach Easy lifestyle for a chance to win a 5 day, 4 night trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina courtesy of @MyMyrtleBeach!

— Frisco RoughRiders (@RidersBaseball) August 22, 2023

Flat Blades made it to Sweden for #BearTracks🐾!

— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) August 21, 2023

Engage on another platform to enter

If you want to build your following on another platform, try running a Twitter contest that drives traffic elsewhere. For example, you can send followers to your brand’s Instagram account or custom app:

— Menchie’s Yogurt (@MyMenchies) August 2, 2023

You could win a TFC Kit plus more great prizes from @Dawson_Dental during today’s game!

Play now and come back after kick-off for more chances to WIN! ⤵️

— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) August 20, 2023

9. Bonus: Combine elements to create a unique promotion

Here’s a great contest example that combines several Twitter contest types to create a unique promotion with a social twist.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has partnered with HeadCount and Ben & Jerry’s to get people registered to vote. Their campaign incorporates the following elements:

A unique hashtag

Brand partnership with Ben & Jerry’s

Influencer/celebrity partnership with Stephen Colbert

Engaging elsewhere to enter by directing traffic to

— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) August 12, 2023

Picking a Twitter giveaway winner can seem intimidating. What if your contest receives thousands of entries? How do you choose a random winner who has followed your contest’s rules?

Luckily, many online Twitter contest tools can automate this process. These sites can help you pick winners from retweets, likes, or your existing Twitter following.

No matter which online tool you choose, review their selection policies carefully. Some tools can only select a winner from the most recent 100 retweets, which may not include all contest participants. Look for a tool that will pick from all your contest entries, not just the most recent ones.

We know you’re excited to launch your Twitter contest! But to avoid running into any issues, review Twitter’s Guidelines for Promotions first.

Twitter’s guidelines are primarily designed to discourage spam. Contest rules should discourage users from creating multiple accounts to enter. Don’t forget that Twitter’s rules regarding safety, privacy, and authenticity apply at all times.

Make sure to cover your bases when it comes to local and federal laws. For instance, giveaways that include alcohol must be age-restricted to protect minors. Once you’ve chosen your giveaway format and prize, do some research to make sure that your contest isn’t violating any laws.

Save time by using Hootsuite to manage your Twitter presence alongside your other social channels. You can run contests, share videos, schedule posts, and monitor your efforts — all from one convenient dashboard! Try it for free today.

Get Started

Do it better with Hootsuite, the all-in-one social media tool. Stay on top of things, grow, and beat the competition.

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How To Leave A Twitter Circle

Twitter has introduced a new way to interact with people closer to you on the platform – using Twitter Circle. Anyone on Twitter will be able to create a Twitter circle where they can add people they often interact with or share similar thoughts. Unlike a regular tweet, tweets you post inside Twitter Circle will only be visible to people whom you’ve added to the Twitter Circle and only these chosen few can reply to these tweets.  

If you don’t wish to be part of a circle you were added to, the following post should help you leave one on Twitter. 

Is there a Leave button for a Twitter Circle?

No. Twitter currently doesn’t offer a Leave button to exit a Twitter circle you were added to. When someone adds you to their Twitter Circle, you cannot leave them directly. However, there are other actions you can undertake to get yourself unlisted from someone’s circle on the platform. 

How to leave a Twitter Circle

When someone has added you as part of their Twitter circle and you don’t wish to see or interact with their Twitter Circle Tweets, there are ways you can leave them. 

Method #1: Mute tweets from this Twitter account

To leave someone’s Twitter Circle using this method, open the Twitter app and go to the profile of the person who added you to their Twitter Circle. Inside the user’s profile, tap on the 3-dots icon at the top right corner. 

You’ll now see a prompt on your screen asking you to confirm your action. To proceed, tap on Yes, I’m sure. 

The selected Twitter profile will now be muted from your Twitter timeline. Although you will continue to be a part of their Twitter Circle, you won’t see any of those tweets or be notified about them. 

Method #2: Unfollow the Twitter Circle creator

If you follow a person who added you to their Twitter Circle, one way to get removed from their circle is to unfollow their Twitter profile. When you do that, Twitter will automatically remove you from their Twitter Circle without notifying the creator of the circle. You can still view their regular tweets if their account is set to Public by simply visiting their profile at any time. 

Unfollowing someone doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be permanently unlisted from their circle since the circle’s creator can always add you back to their circle in the future, even if you don’t follow them again. 

To leave someone’s Twitter Circle using this method, open the Twitter app and go to the profile of the person who added you to their Twitter Circle. Inside the user’s profile, tap on the Following button at the top right corner. 

You will now be unfollowed from this person’s profile and will no longer be part of their Twitter Circle. 

Method #3: Block the person who added you

While the above option can help you remove yourself from someone’s Twitter Circle, it doesn’t ensure that you won’t be part of their Twitter Circle later. To prevent this user from adding you back to their Twitter Circle once and for all, you will need to an extreme measure of blocking their Twitter profile. 

To leave someone’s Twitter Circle using this method, open the Twitter app and go to the profile of the person who added you to their Twitter Circle. Inside the user’s profile, tap on the 3-dots icon at the top right corner. 

You’ll now see a prompt on your screen asking you to confirm your action. To proceed, tap on Block. 

The selected Twitter profile will now be blocked from viewing your account and your tweets and you will no longer be part of their Twitter Circle. The user also won’t be able to re-add you back as part of their Twitter Circle. 

That’s all you need to know about leaving someone’s Twitter Circle.

How To Get Verified On Twitter: A Detailed Step

Have you been a Twitter user for a long time? Garnered a decent following? And are now wondering how to get verified on Twitter? Well, you have come to the right place. After a prolonged 3-year hiatus, Twitter recently restarted its verification program and now lets users apply for verification to get the blue tick. Many Twitter users consider the company’s blue checkmark the gold standard for being a notable personality on the platform. So in this article, we will talk about the basic requirements to get verified on Twitter, the steps involved to apply for verification, and some helpful tips to easily get verified on Twitter in 2023.

Get Verified on Twitter (Updated May 2023) Twitter Verification Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for the blue tick on Twitter, your account should come under one of the following six categories:


Companies, brands, and organizations

News organizations and journalists


Sports and gaming

Activists, organizers, and other influential individuals

Some common factors across all categories include having a public Twitter account and having three or more media references within the past six months. In addition, Twitter requires companies, brands, organizations, and activists to have their follower count in the top .05% of active accounts located in the same geographic region. You can read more on Twitter’s criteria for specific categories on the company’s support page.

How to Apply for Twitter Verification

1. Open the Twitter app and tap on “Settings and Privacy” from the hamburger menu on the left. From here, tap on “Account” to access your account settings.

2. You will now see an option titled “Request Verification”. Tap on it to access the verification settings page. If you don’t see it, you will have to wait for a while because Twitter is still in the process of rolling it out. From the page that appears, choose the appropriate category for your account.

3. You should now choose a method to verify your identity. You will need to upload a government-issued ID, add an official business email address, or an official website that directly references your Twitter account. Pick the verification method that best suits you, and then submit your application.

Note: If you are concerned about your privacy, Twitter mentions that it does not get or store a copy of your government ID on an official FAQ page. The company relies on a trusted third party to “verify the authenticity of your ID” and decide whether your account is eligible for verification or not.

4. Once you have submitted the application, you will see a confirmation screen similar to the one you can see below.

Can I Reapply for Twitter Verification, If Rejected?

Now, let’s say you applied for verification on Twitter and didn’t manage to secure the blue tick on the first try. What should be your next move? Well, don’t be disheartened if you fail on the first attempt. You can reapply to get verified on Twitter.

On its official FAQ page, Twitter states you can “reapply for verification 30 days after rejection if you feel that your application should not have been rejected.” Also, there is no restriction on the number of times you can apply for verification.

That means you can essentially apply for verification every 60-odd days. We came to that number by assuming that Twitter gets back to you with your application status in 30 days, and then you have to wait another 30 days to reapply. Ultimately, you can apply to get verified on Twitter almost 5 to 6 times a year, barring that new applications are not on pause.

Best Tips to Get Verified on Twitter

Complete and Optimize Your Twitter Profile

Applicants must have filled in all the details in their profile, including the profile name, profile picture, cover photo, and bio. In the user bio, it is always wise to add how the general public should recognize you. This could be a job title or notable achievement.

For example, my colleague Anmol’s Twitter profile clearly shows his name, profile and cover photo, and the job description. It is always a good idea to include the @account name of your employer in the bio. You can also include links to your blog posts or any mentions on the web on your profile.

Make Sure Your Account is Active

Twitter requires verified accounts to be active on the platform. You must have at least logged into the account in the past six months. While you are at it, make sure you tweet regularly and engage with other Twitter users through tweet replies and DMs. It sounds like a simple tip but will greatly help you build a brand and get one step closer to getting verified on Twitter.

Build Credibility on Twitter

Confirmed Email Address and Number

You should have a confirmed email address or phone number for security reasons. In addition, we would recommend enabling two-factor authentication for Twitter to add another layer of security to your account.

Follow Twitter Rules

This might seem obvious, but Twitter requires applicants not to have had a 12-hour or 7-day lockout for violating the Twitter Rules in the past year.

Steps to Get the Blue Tick on Twitter

While you are here, check out the best Twitter tips and tricks to elevate your social media experience. You should also learn how to use Twitter Fleets and Twitter Spaces to engage with your followers in new ways.

How To Run Multiple Instances Of A Windows Program

As a Windows user, you may often need to run multiple instances of a program. These should be able to operate separately, and if needed, under different accounts. There are a few ways you can run another instance of the same application. The following guide illustrates a few of these methods with an attempt to explain which would be preferable for a specific kind of program.

1. Just Relaunch the Program

The most native method to run another program instance is to simply relaunch it while it’s open. This works best for browsers, Microsoft Office applications, and Windows utilities such as Paint, Calculator, WordPad, Command Prompt, and even third-party software.

Alternatively, you can use or Ctrl + N to restart programs such as a Microsoft Word document.

2. Launch Using Run Box in Windows 10

Another way to launch a Windows program is to use the Run Box window, which can be accessed from Win + R. First, trace the program’s .exe file location and copy the entire path.

Then, type the following into the Run box to open a new instance.

"Program Path"


secondary 3. Use Windows + Shift + Taskbar Number

One of the fastest ways to restart a program instance is to identify its numerical sequence from its corresponding position in the taskbar. You need to determine the required number from “left” to “right,” as demonstrated here for a Paint file.

To open a new instance, use the following keyboard shortcut: Win + Shift + Program’s Number on the Taskbar.

4. Use the Program’s Web Browser Version

Using the above methods, it is difficult to relaunch the programs from the Microsoft Store. These include applications such as Skype, WhatsApp for Desktop, Zoom, and many others. If available, you can run multiple instances using the program’s web browser version. For Skype, a new version can be easily accessed from chúng tôi You may use different Skype accounts or the same one in the desktop, as well as the browser.

One way to get even better results is to use the browser’s “incognito mode.” As shown below with Skype, you can run three or more instances of a program that are easily accessible on the Web.

5. Relaunch Program as a Different Windows User

If you choose the latter option, you can use either an Outlook ID or declare that “you don’t have the person’s sign-in information.”

Now, add a user without a Microsoft account to proceed. Alternatively, you may create a new Microsoft account.

Give a username and password to this new local account. Answer and save the security questions.

As shown here, a local account has been created. It can be easily removed from this window.

Enter the credentials that were used to create this local account. This would then help you run the program separately from any other instance as an Administrator.

Some applications are designed to prevent multiple users from accessing it on the same device, especially premium software with limited licenses. If none of the above methods work, you can also set up a virtual machine and run the application from within. Here is some of the best virtualization software for Windows you can try.

Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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How To Run A Steam Game In Compatibility Mode

How to Run a Steam Game in Compatibility Mode [Quick Setup] Try these easy steps to set up compatibility mode for Steam games




Running Steam games in compatibility mode allows you to play them on an unsupported version of Windows.

There can be a negative impact on the game by running it in compatibility mode.

Updating Windows can help if you run into problems with the process.



To fix Windows PC system issues, you will need a dedicated tool

Fortect is a tool that does not simply cleans up your PC, but has a repository with several millions of Windows System files stored in their initial version. When your PC encounters a problem, Fortect will fix it for you, by replacing bad files with fresh versions. To fix your current PC issue, here are the steps you need to take:

Download Fortect and install it on your PC.

Start the tool’s scanning process to look for corrupt files that are the source of your problem

Fortect has been downloaded by


readers this month.

Steam has lots of features that help players get the utmost gaming experience. The compatibility mode is one of these features of Steam, but users don’t know how to run a steam game in compatibility mode. However, it is an effective solution for Steam games not launching on Windows 11.

Is it OK to run Steam games in compatibility mode?

Running Steam in compatibility mode is one of the most controversial arguments in the gaming world. Some say it is not recommended, while others argue it is an excellent feature. Regardless, we’ll show you what you need to know about it.

Steam compatibility mode in Windows 11 allows users to play old games created for the previous versions of Windows on the current one.

Furthermore, it runs the program on a recent Windows using the settings from an earlier version of Windows. Some notable benefits of running Steam in compatibility mode are:

It serves as a means of backdating your system settings to access games not made for the current version you have.

It helps users fix errors. The installed version of the OS can’t run your game error can be fixed by running it in compatibility mode. It initiates the settings from an earlier version of Windows OS.

However, there are some issues with running Steam in compatibility mode.

 It can affect the game’s performance by forcing it to use an emulation layer.

Some users complain about game crashes or malfunctions after running it in compatibility mode.

Factors such as outdated Windows OS, and issues with the Steam client, can be responsible for problems you encounter with running Steam in compatibility mode.

Nevertheless, you can run Steam in compatibility mode without experiencing problems with your apps. So, this article will guide you through how to successfully Steam games in compatibility mode on Windows 11.

How do I run Steam games in compatibility mode on Windows 11?

Tweaking your settings to run Steam games in compatibility mode on Windows 11 can be tricky. So, we recommend you go through the following preliminary check before attempting any changes:

Disconnect your PC from any remote connection.

Ensure the game client you want to run in compatibility mode doesn’t have any background activities.

Temporarily disable Windows Defender Firewall on your computer.

After observing the checks, go on with the steps below.

When you run the Steam game in compatibility mode, it will bypass the version barriers and launch successfully.

In conclusion, you can read our guide on how to fix Steam games not launching on Windows.

Likewise, experiencing game lag or slow running on Steam seems to be a common problem for our readers. So, check our guide for easy fixes for it.

Still experiencing issues?

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A Great Actress Comes Home

A Great Actress Comes Home CFA alum stars in Huntington’s Before I Leave You

For Karen MacDonald, working on Huntington Theatre Company productions the past few seasons has been a homecoming of sorts. As a senior at BU 40 years ago, MacDonald appeared on the BU Theatre stage in a student production of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes and in an experimental play called Brain. “We were all the inside of someone’s head,” MacDonald recalls, laughing.

“When I was at BU, this was our theater,” says MacDonald (CFA’72). “Being here brings back really great memories of school. Some terrifying but mostly good, because it was a great place to be and a great place to be on stage.”

MacDonald, who appeared in the Huntington’s revival of William Inge’s Bus Stop two years ago at the BU Theatre, starred in November in the world premiere of Before I Leave You, by Cambridge playwright Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, where the Huntington stages a play from each year’s lineup.

Over the course of a career that has seen her play everything from Shakespeare and Chekhov to Beckett and Neil Simon, MacDonald has become one of Boston’s most renowned thespians. In 2010, she won the Boston theater community’s highest honor, the Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence.

“Karen’s one of the most versatile actresses I know of,” says Boston drama critic Ed Siegel, who now reviews theater for WBUR. “Whether it’s Brecht’s Mother Courage or the diner owner in William Inge’s Bus Stop, she fully inhabits her characters. It’s almost frightening how she captures each character.”

Anyone needing proof of MacDonald’s range has only to look a the 2010 season’s work. In addition to Bus Stop, she played a middle-aged Rose Kennedy in The Color of Rose, a divorcee in the drama Two Wives of India, the title role in the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, and finally, the Countess in the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s production of the Bard’s All’s Well That Ends Well.

Now MacDonald finds herself playing a middle-aged out of work realtor in Before I Leave You, a play billed as a “love story for grown-ups.” She says she was immediately drawn to Alfaro’s play about two “60-something” Cambridge couples: a husband and wife, their best friend—a novelist—and his sister, Trish (MacDonald’s role). “When I read it, I thought, wow—I hadn’t read a play about grown-up people in a while—people of a certain age.”

Trish has recently moved to Cambridge to take care of her ailing brother. “She’s not in the same league as the others intellectually,” says MacDonald. “When she feels left out, or they’re talking over her head, she tries her best to just chime in, but often, chiming in is exactly the wrong thing. She’s not a person who thinks a lot before she speaks.”

MacDonald fell in love with acting at the age of nine, she says, after landing the title role in a children’s theater production of Pinocchio. “When I did that first play, something just felt right. It felt like I was home,” she says. “My interest never flagged. It was always what I wanted to do.”

When it came time to choose an acting school, MacDonald surprised herself by picking BU. The Milton, Mass., native had imagined herself studying in New York or Chicago or Los Angeles, but at the callback for her BU audition, she says, “there was something about the atmosphere, the people I encountered, the teachers, and I thought, this is the place for me to go.”

Just before graduation, MacDonald landed a job with a now-defunct improvisational theater company, the Proposition, in Cambridge’s Inman Square. She recalls having to make up songs on the spot, creating rhymes, verses, and a chorus. Sometimes, actors would ask the audience to name a place and an object, and with just a minute to confer with one another, they’d start a scene. That proved to be great training for a career on stage, she says.

When legendary director and acting teacher Robert Brustein founded the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge in 1980, MacDonald was cast as Celia in a production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, playing opposite Tony-winning actress Cherry Jones as Rosalind. MacDonald remained with the company for four seasons, returning again in 1995. By her own estimate, she has played more than 70 roles there, including Arkadina in Chekhov’s The Seagull and the title role in Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage.

Like most Boston area actors, MacDonald augments her income by teaching. Currently a lecturer in dramatic arts at Harvard, she was the Rev. J. Donald Monan, S.J., Professor in Theatre Arts at Boston College last year and has also taught at the New England Conservatory. “When you teach, you go back to how you were taught, what you were taught,” she says. “I learned a lot from my teachers at BU. I hope that I can take what I’ve learned and turn that around and give it to a younger generation.”

When she finishes her run in Before I Leave You in mid-November, MacDonald will appear in Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts for the Lyric Stage. She will then tackle one of the greatest parts written for an actress by an American playwright: the drug-addicted mother, Mary Tyrone, in Eugene O’Neill’s autobiographical play, Long Day’s Journey into Night, for the New Repertory Theatre. MacDonald admits to being slightly terrified by the challenge, but thrilled to be offered the role. “It’s a play where you kind of have to lay yourself bare. But you get to a certain age when you feel like, I’m so glad I’m going to get to play this part, because pretty soon, it might be too late.”

Asked if there’s a role she’s always wanted to play, MacDonald turns philosophical. “I figure there’s plenty of stuff still to do, plenty left to play. That’s kind of the way it’s worked for me, that a role has come along and turned out to be the right thing at the right time.”

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