Spring 2021 Mid-Semester Updates from ACC Drama
Letter from the Department Chair
Marcus McQuirter
Hello all,
I hope the semester is going well for you. 
We are all looking forward to light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a difficult year for us all, academically, professionally, personally. But we are continuing to find ways to create and stay connected.
This spring the Drama Department will present a socially distanced production of Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Sightless. We are very excited to get back to rehearsals and performance, and even more excited to use our new theater at the Highland Campus. Led by Professor Perry Crafton and his creative team, this production featuring ACC drama students will be available on our Digital Green Room in May.
Speaking of the Digital Green Room… our YouTube channel offers a variety of content for those of us in desperate need of a theater fix. It is chock full of tutorials, interviews, performances, and sneak peaks at the new facility. Check out our Makers & Methods series, Conversations with Artists. We’ve got new interviews with local/national artists like Frankie Gonzales, Taji Senior, and Virginia Grise. You can also find episodes of our radio drama series radiopidemic, including new episodes from Season Two. Under Thirty Minutes explores the poignant, funny, and weird phenomenon that is pizza delivery. And be sure to take the virtual tour of the new digs at HLC. They are pretty cool.
As we prepare for the The Great Get Back Up, we are excited to see more of our offerings moving back onto campus. Let’s all be sure to keep public health moving in the right direction so that we can all meet in the theater this fall.
Be safe and take care of one another.

Marcus McQuirter
Chair, Drama
Austin Community College


Interview by Jamie Rogers
Where are you from?
I was born in Puerto Rico, and I’ve lived in a few different states. Texas being the most recent! 
What made you decide to take the Creative Writing Course at Austin Community College?
I’ve always loved writing and theatre and I thought why not take a class that has both of those elements!
I am curious. How did the theme of "Pizza Delivery" become the prompt for Season 2?
One of my fellow students had the pizza delivery idea and majority of our class voted on it!
What inspired you to write this particular story leading to the reunion of Gia and Michael?
I was inspired to write this story because very minuscule things and events can drastically change a person’s life, and had that event not occurred everything could possibly be different. Whether that’s for the good or not is merely situational. I wanted to play off that. I like the idea of Gia having this grand mission to find Michael, and he having simply no clue what lie ahead for him. 
How different is the writing process for radio drama rather than writing for the physical stage? Any discoveries?
The writing process for radio drama is definitely different than for stage writing. I had to keep in mind how the audience would gather the story while I was writing it, to ensure that it was cohesive to listen to, and I also had to be mindful of ensuring the proper sounds and effects so as not to take-away from the story. 
What are your future plans?
I recently got accepted to my dream school, Towson University, and I plan on moving to Maryland in August to start my first semester! I am a Mass Communications major with a public relations concentration and I want to work in social media, and help put more marginalized groups and minorities on the front page in the various forms of media! 
Catch up on all radiopidemic
Season 1 episodes.
Season 2 premieres April 7th!
Available on the
ACC Drama Department
Digital Green Room YouTube Channel!


Interview by Jamie Rogers
Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, but primarily in Hutto, Texas.

Were you involved in theatre in when you were in high school? Any past theatre experience on stage or behind the scenes?

I was heavily involved in theater in middle school and in high school. I was in every single production at the high school during my time there and was the thespian Troop 4691 president and national honor thespian.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in Technical Theatre, specifically Costumes & Makeup?

To be honest, when I’m not on stage acting or directing shows, I was always fascinated by costumes, hair, wigs and makeup. After working for four years for one company doing administrative work, I decided I wanted to go back to school because I saw ACC had this new program that had almost everything I was looking for.

What were the reasons you decided to enroll in the AAS Degree program at Austin Community College? 

So major reasons why I wanted to enroll in this degree plan was to learn more about costumes and special-effects make up to advance my costume skills so that I could open an online Etsy shop and sell custom costumes and props for cosplayers and local theaters. After doing extensive research locally and at conventions, I soon realized that there was definitely a market for costumes in the cosplay world. Most cosplayers would rather buy a costume then make it. The problem is that not a lot of people specialize in cosplay costume work, so there’s a new market for it, and I want to be ahead. The second reason was that I wanted to learn how to make wigs for local theaters and my fellow drag queens out there and that is the same for costumes for queens as well.

Any favorite classes in the Drama Department and why? Important things you have learned so far?
So far I have to say any class that Stephanie teaches has been my favorite, and that’s because she speaks my language when it comes to Theatre. Especially when we’re talking about techniques on costume and armor building and certain things. It’s so nice to have a mentor to talk about these techniques and not have the other person look at you like you’re crazy. 
Audrey 2
(Photo from Bert Keefer)
You also are heavily involved in Cosplay and prop construction. How did that begin and what is your design process like?

Well, I actually got into the prop world by accident if you can believe it. I was researching techniques on how to make the Jack Nicholson "Joker" prosthetic and just so happened to stumble on a video on YouTube for making EVA foam helmets. The YouTuber was named evil Ted Smith, who just so happens to be in the movie industry for prop making and fabrication. After doing extensive research and watching all of his videos and watching other Youtubers out there I quickly learned the tools and techniques and then started to experiment myself. Honestly, once you understand the terminology and the tools, the sky's the limit. You can create just about almost anything, and it’s so fascinating to see something and then create it. When I first watched the videos, I thought to myself there’s no way I can do this. And after a couple helmets, I started to improve and felt more confident, and it was like a logic board clicked in my brain where I can now look at any physical prop and create a pattern in my head, lay it flat, and know which tools and what type of cuts to use along with what thickness of foam you will need. So when you’re first looking at building something, you first need to do your research. Find as many reference photos as you can, and then come up with a plan. Take your time, and if you get frustrated take a break. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to step away from a project and go to sleep, and then the solution came to me in a dream, and then I know exactly what to do the next morning.

Can you tell me about your incredible Etsy shop?

So, my shop is still an infant, and I’m still working out some things with my shop. My dream for my shop is to be a one-stop shop for cosplay, theater, and drag queens to find props, costumes, wigs and special-effect prosthetics. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is especially during Halloween time for plus size people like myself to find a costume that actually fits. That would be my biggest motivation to want to have the shop. Anybody, no matter your size or your height, can place an order that specifically fits their body and will be better quality then what Party City or the Spirit store would offer. 
(Photos by Bert Keefer)
Any favorite ACC Drama Production?
Well, I am still new to ACC . The one show I’ve seen so far would be Harriet and the Thief, and that show was spectacular. I could watch that 100 times more. It was absolutely phenomenal, and I so wish I could watch it again.

Do you attend school and have outside employment? If so, how do you find a balance between work and drama department involvement?

I do attend school full-time and work part time. I am a teaching artist with the Georgetown Palace Theatre Education Department. I teach some beginner acting classes, and I absolutely love it. So far, I’ve only had one conflict scheduling-wise, but we were able to work that out. But so far it’s working out, or I could not probably balance working full-time and going to school full-time. I don’t think my brain could handle it or my stress level.

How has the transition been to online learning for classes or do you have some this semester having a face to face component?

Honestly, I prefer face-to-face classes versus online. I don’t retain as much information online versus when I’m in person. If everything with COVID wasn’t happening, I would prefer all the classes be face-to-face, but with the global pandemic we do have to make adjustments. So far, the way ACC has handled the pandemic Is commendable.

Any overall advice to give to current Drama Majors on ways to get them involved in the Department?

Honestly, I would say don’t be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone. Take it from me. For years, I specifically stayed on the acting side. But in recent years, I’ve decided to venture out and explore other sides of theater and it’s fantastic. The more you have to offer, the more valuable you make yourself. You really wanna be (as I like to) a college triple threat in the Theatre world. Because you may not be cast in the show, but if they know that you’re also knowledgeable on lights, sound, stage management, costumes, you name it, you make yourself more valuable and you can be a part of the department in other ways. It really will help you make your time in the department more memorable. You better believe once we're doing shows again that I’m gonna be involved in every way in both acting and tech and PROPs. :)

What does the future hold?

I wish I could say what the future holds, but I hope it’s full of wonderful opportunities that I can explore.
(Etsy shop flyer by Bert Keefer)
Registration for Summer 2021
ACC Drama AA and AAS Courses will open for current students on April 5th & April 19th for new students!

KATHRYN VAN WINKLE worked as Production Dramaturg for Southwestern University's digital/live hybrid production of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's play EVERYBODY, a contemporary adaptation of the medieval morality play Everyman (Nov. 5-10, 2020).


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