Exciting news from the Drama Department at Austin Community College!
NEWS and UPDATES
Cast of Gloria

photo credit: Lindsey Ollinger
Letter from the Chair
Happy New Year to you all!
 
I hope that your Spring Semester is off to a great start. 
 
We are into the second semester at our new temporary home, Highland Campus Building 4000. Last fall we had a wonderful groundbreaking with two productions,  The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and Sarah Ruhl’s  Eurydice . We finished off the term with our biannual Actor’s Showcase at the Austin Playhouse. It was a wonderful evening of scenes, monologues, reader’s theater and recitations. If you missed it, be sure to join us in May for the Spring showcase.
 
We have a similarly busy spring semester planned. First, we will host a visit from Texas Tech University’s School of Theatre and Dance on February 26th. The Red Raiders are coming to talk to us about their performing arts programs, transfer, scholarships, and more. Get yer guns up and join us. 
 
Since it’s the shortest month, we figured we would try to pack more in. 
 
Our spring show, Gloria by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins opens February 22nd. We will get things rolling on that show with a Makers and Methods panel featuring the design team working on Gloria . The panel offers an opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the production and learn what all goes into mounting a full production for live theater.
 
Gloria  tells the story of four ambitious editorial assistants, each striving to climb the publishing world ladder, land that elusive book deal, and declare career success before they turn thirty. They are thrown a curve when an ordinary day at work becomes the story of the decade. The fight to tell that story shines a very telling light on who these aspiring writers really are.  Gloria runs February 22nd through March 4th, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. Performances will be at the Highland Campus, Building 4000, in the Austin Playhouse Theatre. Tickets are a smooth $8.
 
Twelve week classes will also begin soon and there is still time to register. Intro to Theater and Introduction to Costume each have seats available. Beginners are welcome...


~ Marcus McQuirter


Thank you to everyone who participated in or attended
our Fall 2017 Actors' Showcase!

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT:

Holly Palmer




Interview by Jamie Rogers
Where are you from?
Austin, TX

Were you involved in theatre in when you were in high school? Any past theatre experience on stage or behind the scenes?
I started theatre in the summer before my junior year. I worked on stage for the most part, but I really enjoyed the technical aspect as well, such as costume and sound.

What were the reasons you decided to enroll at Austin Community College?
ACC has a great reputation for students of all levels, so I figured that this would be a great way to restart my education! So far it hasn’t disappointed, especially the Drama department!

Any favorite classes in the Drama Department and why? Important things you have learned so far?
Stage Makeup with Stephanie Dunbar was a great class for me. I was finally able to learn about makeup application basics and from there Stephanie helped me make some really fun and challenging characters with makeup and prosthetics. Acting I and Acting II with Perry Crafton are also a favorite. My high school never offered anything beyond introductory theatre classes, so it’s been great to be able to focus on acting techniques and relearn the basics.

In Fall 2017 you played the role of Loud Stone in Eurydice. Can you tell us a little bit about your role? What was the rehearsal/performance process like?
Being Loud Stone was amazingly fun! Being a part of the underworld ensemble was a physically demanding role because of the amount of time we spent frozen in place, but it afforded us the opportunity to interact with the audience and intensify their experience. The entire rehearsal process was one of the best I’ve experienced by far. Everyone was super committed to the show and very fun to work with. Perry was a very responsive director and really let the Stones have fun with our part!
Holly as Loud Stone in Eurydice

photo credit: Jaden Davis
You have been cast and are currently in rehearsals for our Spring 2018 production of Gloria . Can you tell us a bit about what character you are playing?
In Gloria , I am playing Ani, Sasha, and Callie; three terrible everyday people
who work in office settings. To me, they all seem to have the connecting trait of being disingenuous in their interaction with others, especially those they don’t like. I’m excited to be in this role because it allows for a variety of characterization in one performance. My goal is to have each character sound and move in a way that sets them apart from each other.

Any favorite ACC Drama Production?
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged (Revised) directed by Ryan Williams has been my favorite so far. I was lucky enough to sit in on some of their rehearsals in addition to the performances and they made me laugh every time!

Do you attend school and have outside employment? If so, how do you find a
balance between work and drama department involvement?
I’m a full-time student at ACC and I work a part-time job on the weekends. The best way I can find balance in all of my obligations is to delegate my time as clearly as I can. I do all of my classwork on campus where I know I can stay focused, and if I am doing a show I take my work schedule into consideration as soon as I possibly can so I am able to change my schedule as needed. I’m very lucky to work at a place that allows flexible schedule hours that help me to attend school and be involved in the drama department.

Any overall advice to give to current Drama Majors on ways to get them
involved in the Department?
Be proactive and straight up ask questions about Department productions, because if you wait for opportunities to come to you, you won't get anywhere. If you didn’t get cast in a show, don’t just mope and wait for the next audition, ask to work on the technical side and show everyone how dependable and fun to work with you are! As my high school director would say, “Every day is an Audition!” So put your best foot forward and get involved any way that you can!

What does the future hold?
Who’s to say? I want to go to school beyond an ACC, but I’m not quite sure where yet. Until I figure that out, I’m going to continue honing my skills and learning more about theatre however I can.

Holly in rehearsals for Gloria

photo credit: Lindsey Ollinger
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT:

Lindsey Ollinger




Interview by Jamie Rogers
Where are you from?
I grew up about 30 minutes outside of Austin in the small town of Manor, Texas.

Were you involved in theatre in when you were in high school?
I actually wasn’t. I went to a STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) high school and so we didn’t even have a theatre department. I wasn’t involved with theatre until I started taking drama classes here at ACC.

What were the reasons you decided to enroll at Austin Community College?
University is expensive! ACC was a much more affordable option and, since I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life when I graduated, it seemed like a good place to figure myself out.

Any favorite classes in the Drama Department and why? Important things you have learned so far?
I wish I could say every single drama class I have taken. Everything I know, I’ve learned here and so it’s all very important to me. If I had to pick a class, I would probably have to say Rachel’s Stagecraft I. It gave me an incredibly strong foundation to begin learning from. As for important lessons, I would say that I’ve learned to never underestimate the amount of hard work something is going to take and to give everything 100% effort.

What roles you have performed on and offstage at ACC Drama?
I started off working costume run crew for The Threepenny Opera . After that, I became the props lead and co-stage manager for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare . I was cast as an understudy for Eurydice , which I later became the assistant stage manager for. And, lastly, I am stage managing our upcoming production of Gloria !

Can you tell us a bit about your involvement with the student run production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and Eurydice ?
Sure! I was initially brought on with Complete Works as the props lead, which was incredibly fun. The amount of crazy props that show needed was ridiculous and I was very lucky to be working with Deya Macias, who helped out a ton. I also became the co-stage manager when our primary stage manager had conflicts with scheduling. Running a show on our own was definitely an interesting experience and I learned a lot about how many people it takes to put together a show. With Eurydice , I also had a dual role! I was the Little Stone’s understudy and ASM. Being the ASM gave me the opportunity to see and be a part of a full ACC production and it gave a taste of what that was like. I had to work with new things, such as fog machines and set transitions, which was super cool. And I got my first bit of acting experience!

What do you like about stage management? Can you tell us a little bit about that position and why you wanted that opportunity for our Spring 2018 production of Gloria ? What has the rehearsal process been like?
What I enjoy about stage management is the importance of it. Every production needs a good stage manager and it’s not something that just anyone can do well. I know that it’s something that I can do and it’s challenging and I think that’s awesome. I wanted to work on Gloria because I wanted the experience of stage managing a whole show. I have already learned so much from it and I’m going to learn even more, which is very important to me. The process so far has been very challenging but also a lot of fun. I’m working with people I like and I’ve got a really good support system to help me when I need it. 

Cast in rehearsals for Gloria

photo credit: Lindsey Ollinger

Any favorite ACC Drama Production?
Oh boy. I love them all so much! Hmm... Excluding Gloria , since we’re still in the process of it, my favorite production would probably have to be Complete Works . It was such a small and fun show and I got to work really closely with some awesome people.

Do you attend school and have outside employment? If so, how do you find a balance between work and drama department involvement?
I do! I’m a student at ACC and I have a part-time job as a server. This semester the balance is coming rather easily, since I’m only taking 6 credit hours. My job is really flexible with my schedule, for which I am very lucky.

Any overall advice to give to current Drama Majors on ways to get them involved in the Department?
VOLUNTEER! AUDITION! You can’t get involved if you don’t try. Working crew may not be what you want to do but it is the quickest way to meet a good portion of the department. Plus, it’s good experience! Everyone in the drama faculty is super amazing and helpful so it doesn’t take much.

What does the future hold?
As I am answering these questions, I am also pulling together my transfer application for UT Austin. So, hopefully, that! Later this semester, I plan on interning and working in the theatre community around Austin. Then, in the fall, I will (hopefully) be at UT, getting my BA in Theatre and Dance with an emphasis in stage management!

HEATHER BARFIELD has been awarded a 2018 UT Humanities Institute Community Sabbatical Grant to work on "Thirty Years of Truth and Thunder: An Archival History of The VORTEX, Austin's Premiere Alternative Theatre."

Additionally, she has been accepted into ACC's Center for Non-Profit Studies Certificate in Effective Fundraising course. 


GREG ROMERO 's short play (with dancing),  Foxing , was presented as part of FronteraFest's Short Fringe program, on January 31st at Hyde Park Theatre.  Foxing  will be presented again on February 10th as part of Mi Casa Es Su Teatro.  Foxing  received a commission from ScriptWorks.

His short play,  Big Iron Fires , will be presented as part of FronteraFest's Short Fringe program, on February 9th at Hyde Park Theatre.


RACHEL ATKINSON designed the lighting for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime  at ZACH Theatre. The show runs January 31st through March 4th. For more information, please visit:  http://zachtheatre.org/shows/main-stage/curious-incident/ .

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