UNC dramatic arts move to collaboration

If the past few years of theater on campus can be defined by one word, that word is collaboration. Many members of the various theater organizations on campus - groups like Pauper Players, Company Carolina and Lab! Theatre - have indicated that deeper attempts at interaction between the once-isolated groups have opened up new opportunities for students. William Reid, an administrator for Pauper Players, said he has noticed the change. "Something that's been very new is that we're being more cooperative with the boards of the other theater companies," he said. "You get to know a lot of these other people so you can work together to send people who are maybe more interested in straight theater to Lab! or elsewhere, for example." Reid said last year Pauper Players added another show to its schedule for the first time, attributing that in part to increased collaboration. "It was harder on our board, harder on actors and the orchestra and directors, because it added that much more pressure," he said. "It'll be good to know organizationally how to go about it." Erin Hanehan, a producer for Lab! this year, said the cooperation was a long time coming. "It's an undeniable fact that with all the participation, there are so many crossovers in the dramatic arts world that it's impossible not to coordinate," she said. Lab! has also expanded its season, integrating new ideas like the "Lab!ratory" season, which Hanehan said will feature shows more focused on the basics of theater. "It will be more experimental," she said. "Not bare-boned, but streamlined shows that don't necessary need all the bells and whistles of a show in Kenan Theater." The group will also introduce two shows - "This Is Our Youth" and "A Bright Room Called Day" - in rotating repertory this year. "The repertory season is going to be brand new for Lab! and extremely unique to anything student-related on campus," Hanehan said. Auditions for those two shows will be held Aug. 25 and 26. Erin Stoneking is one of the producers for Company Carolina. She said Company plans to continue its one-act festival in addition to offering audition workshops for students interested in trying out for a show. She, too, said the shift towards collaboration among on-campus theater companies makes sense. "It's a really great shift, because all the groups have come together and there are a lot of people involved in multiple theater groups," she said. "I think honestly, a lot of the students involved realized that there was not really any genuine benefit from being competitive or separate." Contact the Arts Editor at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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