By Joseph LaSpina
This past week, Sacred Heart University’s Theatre Arts Program held its annual auditions for TheatreFest.
TheatreFest is a program where Sacred Heart students come together to create new and original shows for their friends and family to see.
Unlike regular productions in the Theatre Arts Program’s lineup, students are responsible for everything during TheatreFest. They write, produce, direct and perform the pieces.
Director of Performing Arts and Director of the Theatre Arts Program, Jerry Goehring started the program in 2010 and has seen it grow ever since.
“TheatreFest was created for the sole purpose of letting students write new plays. When it first started six years ago, three scripts were submitted. This past year there were 15 and now 12 this year,” said Goehring. “It has grown because of the students and of their continued interest towards the program.”
TheatreFest consists of three rounds. The first round is a table read, where the scripts are read out loud in front of an audience. Following the reading, audience members are asked to share their thoughts and opinions on the show. This gives an idea of what the director, writer, or actors need to improve on if they make it to the next round.
After the first round, Goehring decides which ones will continue to the second round, which incorporates staging. The shows are put on stage with movement and blocking and are performed in front of an audience.
Lastly, there is the third, full-production round. Two shows are chosen and receive a budget, which allows the students to create a full scale production with lights, sound, props and costumes. During this round, students are able to see their show go from what started as an idea to an actual production.
“Students are able to realize their vision as young artists by creating a piece of theatre that is not only original, but their own,” said Goehring.
TheatreFest allows students who are interested in theatre to be involved without having a big time commitment.
“It is a lot more low-key than being in a regular show,” said President of the Theatre Arts Program senior Nick Patino. “It is less stressful and less of a time commitment, but allows you to still be involved in the program if you want to be.”
Patino highly advocates TheatreFest, as he has been in it since his freshman year. Not only has he written, directed and produced TheatreFest shows, but he also tries to act in at least two shows per year.
TheatreFest is a completely unique opportunity for students who attend Sacred Heart. Many students find the event unlike any other at the school because it gives students the tools to be creative and share their ideas with others.
Through this platform, students get a chance to meet people, make friends and perform while seeing if they like the college atmosphere of theatre arts.
Next summer, the Theatre Arts Program will be expanding its reach, inviting high schoolers and professional playwrights to be a part of the program.
Professional composers and authors, who are currently writing new musicals and plays in New York City, will be invited to come and work on their pieces at Sacred Heart.
The first round of TheatreFest will be held the weekend of Oct. 13.