September 18, 2009

Want to know about Regent students' summer work?

You've read about Anna Koehler's apprenticeship at Berkshire Theatre Festival--Here's a sampling of what some of our other grad students did this past summer!

3rd year MFA in Acting students Rob Arbaugh, Katie Cheely, Katie Fridsma (founders of UnCovered Theatre Company) and Alaska Reece Vance (Artistic Director of The Drifting Theatre Co) were joined by Chad Rasor (3rd year MFA) and Rachel Arbaugh (senior BA) for a 7 state summer tour. In schools, churches, parks, and theatres from Chicago to Chattanooga, they performed 2 shows—Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and a contemporary, musical version of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, adapted by Katie Fridsma—and taught many workshops all along the way. At the end of their tour, they conducted a full-length Summer Acting Training Camp with The Drifting Theatre in TN, culminating in a production of Disney’s Mulan Jr.

Stephanie Chandler (3rd year MFA) joined film professionals this summer as an intern at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival through the Creative Minds in Cannes Program. During this internship, she participated in the Filmmaker's Workshop and was able to perform in two short films, one of which was the winning entry in the CMIC Student Film showcase. While there, she networked with many industry professionals, attended several pitching sessions and workshops, and even got to walk the red carpet all dressed up! She also was able to catch some great Shakespearian theatre in London on her days off.

Kaja Dunn (3rd year MFA) spent her summer assistant-directing and dialect-coaching at the award-winning La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. She worked with artists from 4 different theatre companies as well as a new playwright from New York. She also began to work on potential future theatre projects with The Chisomo Idea—a non-profit Christian organization committed to addressing issues of poverty in Africa and providing them with a framework for action.

Sean Cowan (2nd year MFA) produced 5 shows with his improv company, Portland Improv Group (P.I.G.), in Portland, OR, including USS Improvise, an improvisational lost episode of the original Star Trek, and Facebook: The Musical, an hour long completely improvised musical comedy. He also helped produce a sketch comedy show which included the work of Derek Leonidoff (Second City), Anna Koehler (3rd year MFA), Ryan Clemens (3rd yesr MFA), and Tabitha Ray (2nd Year MFA).

Andy Geffken, Hannah Hughes ,Tabitha Ray, and Nathan Schmidt, (2nd year MFAs) together with ’09 MFA graduate Jayson Akridge put together a five-person adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. The show was directed by our own Shakespeare professor, Scott Hayes.

Regent’s 2009 Summer Theatre C.A.M.P.s provided valuable directing and teaching experiences for several of our graduate students. Ryan Clemens (3rd year MFA) directed Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Jr. and Hannah Hughes (2nd year MFA) served as the music teach/director for both Willy Wonka Jr. and Oklahoma!, joined by Nathan Schmidt (2nd year MFA) on piano. Andy Geffken (2nd year MFA) taught acting and stage combat, Brad Archer (3rd year MFA) and Courtney Conger (2nd year MA) stage-managed, and Chad Gilliland (2nd year MFA) helped with set construction and headed up props.

Sharon Eyster (2nd year MFA) was the Assistant to the Artistic Director at The Montgomery Theatre, a professional repertory theatre in Prince Edward Island, Canada. She also was the Administrative Assistant for the PEI Conservatory, a competitive two-week training program in Acting and Directing for Student and Professional Performing Artists from all over Canada.

Jeff Fazakerley (1st year MFA), together with Vanguard University Alumni, produced and performed in Heart and Music, a benefit show for Alethia Christian Theatre, an up-and-coming children's theatre company in Orange County, California. The goal of the benefit was to raise money to give the children the chance to continue performing and allow the theatre to rent quality facilities.

Mike Salsbury (1st year MFA) could be seen this last summer in the musical The Miracle at The Miracle Theater in Pigeon Forge, TN, playing Nicodemus. He has been in the show for the last two and a half years, and Regent’s own MFA alumnus Justin Glinn (‘08) was selected to play role of Nicodemus when Mike left to come to Regent.

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