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RU Theatre Majors Experience the Southeastern Theatre Conference


On March 6, nine students from the Department of Theatre and Cinema headed off to Louisville, Ky., site of the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) 64th annual convention.

SETC is North America’s largest theatre association and this year’s gathering attracted approximately 4,000 theatre artists and practitioners from all over.

The conference features a large array of workshops, four theatre festivals, master classes and speakers. In addition to taking advantage of these, RU theatre majors audition and interview for employment with the over 200 theatre and production companies present.

Student actors, designers and technicians all present their materials in hopes of garnering the professional job that will give them a leg-up after graduation. Companies include cruise ship lines, theme parks, Shakespeare festivals and summer stock, offering both summer and longer-term contracts.

RU theatre majors have a great track record of obtaining employment through SETC. Often the very first job contact made during SETC leads to several more employment and professional theatre opportunities.

This year three RU theatre faculty members attended the secondary school auditions in which over 200 high school students presented to college representatives. These students are able to speak with those representatives about their respective schools.

Some of the RU theatre majors who attended SETC were asked to discuss their conference experience. Here is what they had to say:

Maddie Cindrich, Actor
Going to SETC was a wonderful and very informative experience, especially as a freshman. It's a huge conference—full of workshops, auditions, and new opportunities. I took advantage of as much as I could...taking at least 5 or 6 workshops. Each was different and all taught by professionals. If I had to pick a favorite, I would choose the Commedia dell’ Arte workshop. I also took part in the professional auditions for summer work. My audition was super nerve-racking. But I was very well prepared so it went really well. Even though I returned without any job offers I still had a fun time with my professors and friends and meeting professionals who gave me some good advice. Something I would strongly recommend when going to events like these is to take a lot of notes and ask questions. The more questions you ask, the more people you will talk to, and the more people you talk to, the more connections you make. All of this I know will eventually help me in the future. I’m really excited to see where SETC will take me in the future!

Kyle Gillikin, Stage Manager/Costumer
Going to SETC as a freshman looking for a summer job is hard because you get a lot of people saying that you’re too young and that it would be better to come back next year. I admit, at first, it was very discouraging. Nonetheless, I am so happy I went because I learned so much. For one thing, I experienced professional interviews. It was great because the company representatives were more than gracious hearing what I had to say and letting me know things I could improve on to do a better interview. Even if I don’t get a job, going to SETC as a freshman was worth every penny in experience and has made me so much more prepared for next year. I feel I will have a leg up on everyone else that hasn’t gone through this process before. I can’t wait to go back next year!

Chandish Nester, Actor
As a senior attending SETC for the first time I had the great opportunity to immerse myself in its competitive yet highly educational environment. I gained some awareness and some new skills through observation but more importantly through doing. I attended workshops ranging from ZFX’s Performer Flying and Aerial Arts to more practical workshops focused on topics such as taxes and tips for doing a demo reel. SETC opened my eyes to some less conventional future opportunities in theatre. But it also helped me gauge some of my personal skills sets, materials and habits and size myself up against others like myself who were also auditioning there. I had a blast getting to know my fellow auditionees. I kept bumping into them throughout the conference. In the end I have a better understanding of where I am as an actor and a handful of new personal goals for the coming year.

For more information about the Radford University Department of Theatre and Cinema, please click here.


May 9, 2013

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