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.
Summer stock is truly it’s own amazing, tiring world! If you have ever worked with a summer stock company or are currently performing with one, you know these things to be true:
You learned an entire full-scale musical in two weeks. Or better yet – two full-scale musicals in two weeks that will perform in repertory.
You make just enough money each week to (gratefully) survive on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. For breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You just had your final college class this week…forever. What! How did that happen? While it may feel like your parents just dropped you off for your freshman year yesterday, it’s now time to enter the real world. And for a performing artist, this can be a little scary!
Don’t let fear guide you. Instead, make a solid and practical game plan for the first year out of school. After all, there is no right way to pursue a career in theatre, music, art or dance – so making a plan that is unique to you is essential.
Here are some tips on how to tackle your first year out:
Finding A Home
Depending on your art form, you probably feel like you need to get to a big city to make sure you have the most amount of job opportunities at your fingertips. This is most likely very true. But which city is right for you? Most performing arts students flock to NYC after graduation, but there are other cities that are very much worth exploring. LA, Chicago and Boston may have exactly what you are looking for with potentially less competition in your chosen field. Make a list of what jobs/opportunities are important to you and research each city before deciding on one.
You made it through! There is a light at the end of the tunnel! While you are currently weighing options and deciding where to spend your next glorious four years, it’s important to take time and reflect on how much you’ve grown over the audition season. While it wasn’t easy, you are on the other side of it now and you deserve a pat on the back! Here are a few things you may have learned about yourself that deserve some kudos:
You Are An Audition Pro
Sheet music packed? Check. Audition outfit ironed? Check. Dance clothes and shoes laid out? Check. Snacks and water in your audition bag? Check. You’ve now got this down to an art. This is great preparation for life after college where most of your days will be filled with back-to-back auditions. Learning how to leave one audition behind you to focus on the next can be challenging – however, after roughly 10-15 auditions over the course of a few weekends, you now know you are up for the challenge! Read more
If you tuned in to our post last week, you are now familiar with the characteristics that make up a quality college audition monologue. Are you ready to learn where you can actually find these amazing monologues? Well, you are in luck! Today we will be exploring that very topic!
Here are some ideas as to where to begin your search:
Playscript’s Free Read of the Week
Reading plays doesn’t have to empty your wallet! Each week the folks at Playscripts (an independent publisher of new plays and musicals) send out an email blast with a free play to read. Many of the plays have featured roles for teenagers and in turn there are lots of potential monologues to be discovered! What’s better than a free play being delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for their email blast here. Read more
For college auditions, you’ll need to have a solid repertoire of college audition monologues. At minimum, you should be prepared with two contrasting contemporary monologues and one classical.
Contemporary Monologues are monologues from Chekov to today. Ideally, you should be choosing a monologue with modern language that was written in the last ten to twenty years. Alternatively, Classical Monologues are pre-Chekov and include (but aren’t limited to) the following playwrights: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Webster, etc.
Now that you know the definitions: what should you be looking for in a monologue? What makes up a quality college audition monologue?
For starters, here are three qualities that define a top-notch monologue: Read more
5 Myths of the Audition Room
Auditions can be a tense and nerve wracking experience for anyone. Sometimes the worst part of an audition can be when it’s over and you start to overanalyze! Before your next audition, check out our debunking of some common myths below:
You’ve spent months preparing the perfect cut for your college audition only to have the auditor stop you before you finished. This can feel crushing in the moment – but, truth is – they may have heard exactly what they needed to hear. Sometimes auditors spend more time with students who don’t immediately “wow” them or students who appear super nervous, so they can get a better feel if they are a good fit. Read more
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:
Here’s the scenario: You wait outside the audition room minutes away from being called through the door. You feel your nerves kicking into “overdrive” and your confidence slipping away. You know that you are prepared to do good work, but experience tells you that your nerves are likely to get in the way.
This is what you do: Give yourself one minute – one full minute – to engage your brain, your imagination, and your power of concentration to move yourself away from nervousness and into your dramatic circumstance. Living inside your story is a much more powerful, and fun, place to be than waiting in a crowded room for your name to be called. Read more
In June, we had the chance to spend a week at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska with thousands of high school thespians and theatre educators from around the world. It was amazing to be surround by such a love and passion for theatre and theatre arts, from the performers on stage to the crew in the back.