All the World's a Stage ...
And They Are Training Here
By Leslie Grace / A! Magazine for the Arts | August 29, 2012Our regional four-year colleges and community colleges have seen an expansion of their theatre programs in recent years, in part because of the presence of the Barter Theatre, a year-round professional repertory theatre in their midst.
As Elizabeth Dollar of King College puts it, "It is so fulfilling to be in a community where we see such support for the arts."
The support from the community encompasses attendance at theatrical performances and, at some colleges, being a part of that performance. At Virginia Highlands Community College and Northeast State Community College, alumni and community members often perform or work behind the scenes.
Emory & Henry College, King College and Virginia Intermont College all have loyal community audiences, and in addition to their academic needs, they keep their audiences in mind when choosing their plays.
"We train actors, but we also train audiences by giving them exposure to materials that are a little more challenging and thought-provoking than what they see on television every day," Gary Aday, VHCC associate professor of communications and theatre, says. "I believe it is beneficial to have a more thoughtful population."
Rick Bullis, also an associate professor at VHCC agrees. "In addition, it's also important to expose audiences, actors and technicians to the rigors of the theatre industry." Many people assume that producing theatre is a relatively easy task. The joy of producing theatre masks the blood, sweat, and tears that go into every production.
"One of our jobs here is to show students the level of training and work ethic expected from the professional side of the arts," Bullis says.
>> Facilities and Productions
King College's The Twin City Radio Theate is an innovative approach to the stage.
Virginia Intermont staged Lysistrata Wears Prada.
The Tempest was produced by VI's Theatre Department.