Interested in attending the Powerhouse Theater Training Program? Then be sure to continue reading to hear first hand from a student about their life-changing summer at Powerhouse!
I stumbled into The Powerhouse Theater Training Program almost by accident. The spring before my final semester of college at Central Michigan University, as a Musical Theatre major, I spent all my free time auditioning for summer theater companies and generally trying to figure out how I fit in the world as an artist and soon-to-be college graduate. After attending an informational call-back with Producing and Education Director Michael Sheehan, I found out about the Powerhouse playwriting program. The timing of this meeting was nothing short of serendipitous. I had just finished writing a script that turned out to be the first of many, and I used that work to apply to (and ultimately be accepted into) the program as a playwright.
My time at Powerhouse as a playwriting apprentice can be described as immersive, rigorous, and thrilling. Each morning we woke up, took classes in acting, directing, and writing, spent our afternoons observing the professional company’s rehearsals, and dedicated our evenings to writing and creating our own art. This was an absolute dream for someone like me who is passionate about multiple elements of theater. Being able to take classes in movement and acting while learning about writing new work was so fulfilling to me as an artist.
One of my favorite parts of the program was the weekly “Roundtable Discussion” where the playwriting and directing participants would meet with faculty and administrators to talk about the art we were taking in and creating. We spent time unpacking the rehearsals and performances we experienced and asked tough questions like “What kind of artists do we want to be?” “What does our art represent?” “What kinds of systems does our art contribute to?” I’ve never been a part of a company that so deeply and sincerely asked us to explore ourselves as creators and to examine the external impact we had when we worked on a project. I felt challenged to make decisions about who I was and where I belonged in an artistic community.
Leaving Powerhouse filled me with motivation and encouragement. I left with a tangible set of artistic tools to forge my path as a young creator, maker, and doer. I’ve always found a home in composing and writing my own work, but Powerhouse taught me that it’s okay to call myself a playwright and take myself seriously. The experiences I had as a playwriting apprentice celebrated new work, celebrated failure, and celebrated the beauty that comes from just putting pen to paper and making something happen. I continue to carry these values with me as I write and perform. I’m overwhelmingly grateful for the friendships and lessons I gained during my summer with The Powerhouse Theater Training Program.
– Claire-Frances Sullivan, Playwriting Student/Powerhouse Theater Training Program, Summer 2017
To learn more about The Powerhouse Theater Training Program visit their Acceptd page here.
As an actor you already have a great range of skills in your wheelhouse. Actors never stop learning – you’re always honing your skills and refining your technique. However, what if you find your career goals moving in a new direction, or you face new challenges? Learning how to create your own theatre company will open your world to many opportunities.
Creating your own work might already be of interest to you. If not, it might be something you should consider – not only for your future, but also for your current profession. Starting a theatre company is a significant responsibility, and one for which you will need to be well equipped.
Watch and Rewind
As an actor, I can tell you it’s hard to watch a movie/television show/commercial without thinking about all of the things that are happening behind the scenes to make each moment come to life. As an exercise, put on a new movie and closely watch the actors. If you see a scene that truly moves you or resonates with you – go ahead and rewind and re-watch. What about their performance is remarkable? What is resonating with you? Are they playing a specific action or objective that is clear? Next, take note of how they use whatever props are available to them in the scene. Are the props aiding in their performance? What are they doing with their hands? How are they sitting/standing? Learning how to deliver a great performance while also believably playing in a make believe environment takes great skill. Learn from the best!
Embrace your Doppelgänger
Have you ever been asked the question: do you know what actor you remind me of/look like? If you get asked that a lot and you know nothing about the person they mention – do your research! Find their IMBD profile and study their career. Discover how they made the journey to become the actor that they are today. Watch some of their films and pull scenes that you think would be good for you and do it better! Chances are if someone is telling you that you are similar to them, they potentially are playing roles that would be perfect for you.
Read a new play each week
Seriously. You can do it! Head to your local library and check out a stack of plays you have never heard of. Make it your mission to read a new play by the end of each week. Being talented is great – but being talented and unknowledgeable is not so great. By reading a new play each week, you are discovering new playwrights and learning about their unique writing styles. You will also most certainly discover scenes and monologues that you would love to tackle – killing two birds with one stone!
The inaugural International Monologue Competition has wrapped up and we’re excited to announce our winners! We’d like to extend a big thank you to our judges, Deb Colvin-Tener, Jeff Horst, and Bronwynn Hopton, and to all the people who voted during the People’s Choice round.
Check out the winning monologues below:
Interviewer: “So, tell me about yourself!”
Has this happened to you? Have you been asked the hardest question known to man? For some reason, answering this simple question sometimes proves to be the most difficult. How exactly can you sum up everything about yourself in one teeny tiny answer?
Before you head to campuses to scope out potential colleges and go on interviews (don’t forget to brush up on our blog post: 4 Great Questions for your College Tour Guide) be sure to come up with what we like to call your 30 Second Story. Whether you are a musician, actress or visual artist – you are ultimately your own business. You are the CEO of your own brand – so you better be able to describe it!
A 30 Second Story is a chance to reveal a bit about yourself and your passions in a concise and compelling manner. Here are some keys points you should be sure to hit: