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Saturday February 4th

The Student Theater Workshop Festival is open to all students

Last year's Student Theater Festival Workshop featured a Latin dance class led by Qué Rico. Photo courtesy of Collin Williams.
Buy Photos Last year's Student Theater Festival Workshop featured a Latin dance class led by Qué Rico. Photo courtesy of Collin Williams.

Clarification: An original version of this story said there are three major theater groups on campus, leaving out Kenan Theatre Company. The story was updated at 12:24 a.m. to reflect this change.

The Student Theater Workshop Festival will be offering a variety of student and professionally led classes in the performing arts this weekend. 

Hosted by the UNC Pauper Players with the help of Company Carolina and the LAB! Theatre, this weekend of workshops benefits anyone from theater enthusiasts to newcomers. 

Participants can learn something new in a short time, hear diverse perspectives from the theater community, find a creative and fun outlet and step outside their comfort zones. 

The workshop encourages people to sign up for as many of the free classes as they want to attend. One of these sessions, led by sophomore Samantha Yancey, focuses on vocal health. Her Voice Acting and Breath class helps theater and voice majors, as well as anyone with a voice, discover new techniques and bodily awareness. 

“Breathing is the most fundamental part of life,” Yancey said. 

Yancey is excited to share what she has learned at UNC with others. Not only has she gained experience as a double major in political science and music with a concentration in vocal studies, but she is also a producer at LAB! Theatre. 

As she rises in leadership, she strives to provide others with the same opportunities she had. She said the workshops are only a short time commitment.

“No one should be nervous,” Yancey said. “If there is something you’re curious about, it gives you a chance to learn.” 

Although professors give office hours and directors speak to students, gathering leaders in the performing arts for a weekend leads to valuable, in-depth conversations. The various backgrounds of the teachers allows for a diversity of perspective. 

From the perspective of an actor, delivering a technically challenging performance might sound like the key to auditioning well. However, UNC graduate Alex Ruba, the costume loans and acquisition manager at Playmakers, looks for actors who will be enjoyable to work with. 

“The biggest thing is best to be yourself and be confident in who you are,” Ruba said. 

Maintaining a positive attitude is one skill she hopes participants will learn in her class, Audition 101: Don’t Panic. Auditions are notoriously difficult because of the possibility of rejection, but Ruba has been both director and auditioning actor and understands how nerve-wracking the process can be. 

“It’s something people always want advice on,” Ruba said. 

The Pauper Players, in conjunction with the two other theater groups, started hosting these workshop weekends during the fall 2016 semester. They created this festival to make fine arts accessible and, most of all, fun at the University.

Collin Williams, a junior majoring in dramatic arts, is the workshop facilitator for this event. His goal is to make the events supportive places for people to feel comfortable trying theater among other students. He believes the experience of going outside your comfort zone makes attending worthwhile, even if the person is not interested in pursuing a career in this area. 

“There’s nothing quite like this workshop,” Williams said.

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