Orientation Guide: Theatre department

Algernon Moncrieff, played by Michael Clinkscales, proposes to Cecily Cardew, played by Erica Walling, during rehearsals for The Importance of Being Earnest on Feb. 20 at the Fisher Theater.

Averi Baudler

The Iowa State Theatre Department offers theater newcomers and seasoned veterans alike the opportunity to flex their acting chops on stage.

The department puts on several productions each school year including plays, musicals and student directed shows from a wide variety of genres.

Auditions for each show are offered multiple times a year and are open to all Iowa State students regardless of major. Most students involved in the department cite the inclusivity as one of their favorite parts of being involved in theater on campus.

“The theater community is really chill,” Emily Heckle, senior in animal ecology, said. “Everyone is so supportive of each other regardless of major. The whole community is filled with people building each other up and encouraging others to audition. It’s really wonderful.”

Throughout the 2018-19 school year, the ISU Theatre Department put on four plays, two musicals and an opera. The diverse range of shows gives students from all corners of campus an opportunity to get involved.

Zachary Smith, senior in music, said the inclusion of the opera Orpheus in the Underworld in the fall of 2018 allowed students who are classically trained in music to shine on stage.

“Usually the show schedule [at Iowa State] doesn’t offer a lot of opportunities for people who are classically trained in music,” Smith said. “But with an opera, a lot of [music majors] tried out for the show and got leading roles.”

The department also gives select students the chance to be a part of a completely student directed and produced show in the spring as a part of their ‘Student Produced’ program.

In spring 2019 Davis Vande Steeg, senior in performing arts, was able to direct a musical titled “First Date.”

The musical’s cast and crew was made up entirely of college students, and Rachel Ward, a sophomore in performing arts, said the talent involved in the production was abundant.

“It’s honestly amazing and I think there’s something really cool to be said of our university to have an entire cast and crew and pit of just college students,” Ward said. “I’ll look around at rehearsal and just be in awe of all of the talent around me.”

Above all, students in the Iowa State Theatre Department, including Hayden Walker, sophomore in engineering, say they enjoy the opportunity to continue their passion of theater into their college years.

“Theater was something that I’d done a lot of in high school and it was something that I really wanted to continue as I went into college,” Walker said. “I also wanted a way to get to know new people, and the shows were really a fantastic way to meet some great people with similar interests.”