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OBU Theatre Students Hone their Craft in New York, Nevada

September 26, 2018

It is every college student’s dream to participate in a workshop, camp or an internship in their future career field. Experiencing their “dream job” outside of a classroom setting is an invaluable opportunity to gain knowledge, make connections and grow their portfolio when applying for jobs. This summer, three theatre students and a member of 2018 graduating class from Oklahoma Baptist University all had the chance to participate in these kinds of life-changing opportunities.

Scott Roberts, a senior theatre major, attended a workshop at Stage Craft Institutes of Las Vegas June 3-8. This all-expense-paid trip resulted from him winning The Award of Excellence in Stagecraft and Design from the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas. He earned the award by competing in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region VI competition in San Angelo, Texas, in March. Roberts was able to take a 45-hour course in modeling and drafting for free that allowed him to further his skills. He gained hands-on experience from professionals in his field and saw many things students of his major do not get to see while in school.

Caleb Frank, a junior, McKenzie Reece, a senior, and recent OBU graduate Brenna Bergeron all participated in a workshop in New York City July 29-Aug. 4 at the Open Jar Institute. The students also were chosen by competing in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region VI competition. They were three out of only four students selected from Region VI, which includes Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana.

The Open Jar Institute is a program for students who are selected by audition to attend a week-long workshop where they receive one-on-one training from Broadway professionals. They also received an opportunity to see Broadway shows and work exclusively with those cast members.

“I was blessed to have my experiences from OBU in the areas of vocal technique, acting training, and wisdom in how to engage a diverse world when attending Open Jar,” Reece said. “One of the coolest experiences I had was getting to work with Timothy Hughes who is on Broadway in ‘Frozen’ the musical but also played the Strongman in ‘The Greatest Showman.’ He gave us tips about auditions as well as transitioning one’s performance from stage to film.

“My favorite moment of the week was when I was one of nine students chosen out of the sixty who attended Open Jar to go backstage after we saw ‘Carousel.’ It was my first time on a Broadway stage and I was breathless and deeply moved. When I looked out into the empty house, I knew that my desire to perform on a stage would not return void because the Lord has placed this desire and mission field on my heart. I am so blessed to have grown my craft at Open Jar and I am looking forward to the roles I will play thanks to the audition workshops and support of my fellow artists.”

The Theatre Department at Oklahoma Baptist University allows students to follow their dreams of theatre production while teaching them in a way that honors and glorifies The Lord. This summer, Caleb Frank experienced this firsthand.

“The biggest thing that I took away from the New York trip was a newfound appreciation for OBU and the theatre department,” he said. “I saw how far ahead OBU is from many of the other universities and colleges that surround us. The training we receive in not only performance, but also the technical side of theatre, is something that many other students said they lacked at their colleges.”

Learn more about OBU Theatre.