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The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Student Theatre Productions give students directing, acting opportunities 

Student theatre productions open on Feb. 23 in the Coleman Studio Theatre. Photos Courtesy of Cami Marquart, Emily Kozen and Maren Grant. Collage by Meghan Holloran |  Photo Editor

Every year, a group of determined Drake University students design, direct, stage manage and act in a series of three 30-minute shows, each to be performed in one night of theater. 

Student director Emily Konzen said putting on an entirely student-led production takes “lots of time and energy.” From auditions in the early fall to performance weekend, numerous students are responsible for preparing the annual Student Theatre Productions that will take place at the end of the month. Rehearsals begin the first week of spring semester. With only four weeks to prepare, the students practice Monday through Friday for several hours each night.

The three shows in the performance are “Call Me Stan,” a dark comedy written by Claire Linda Demmer; “The Trips,” a dramatic comedy written by Dustin Robert Blakeman; and “The Art of Love,” a suspenseful whodunnit, which junior Mylo Bissell wrote specifically for this performance.

Since the Student Theatre Productions feature three one-act plays, students face the additional challenge of coordinating auditions, casting, rehearsal schedules, set design, lighting, props and costumes.

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“Because the STPs are almost entirely student-produced, they are truly by students and for students,” said senior Maren Grant, one of the student directors for the performance. 

This event showcases the talents and leadership of Drake students while also fulfilling some participants’ degree requirements and providing hands-on theater experience. 

“I am most excited for my cast. As cheesy as it sounds, they have all really poured their hearts and souls into this show,” student director Cami Marquart said. “I am really excited for them to get the recognition they deserve.” 

Mary Elizabeth Seaman, a sophomore pursuing a BFA in musical theatre, is an actress in “The Art of Love.” She believes that participating in the Student Theatre Productions would be a fun activity for all Drake students — not just fine arts majors.

“STPs would be a great opportunity for people who haven’t done much acting to try it out,” Seaman said. “They’re super low-stakes auditions, and all the directors look for is energy and making big choices. We’d always love to see a new name on the audition list.”

Stage manager Jude Thurman said students should come to the performance to support their Drake community and see all the hard work their peers have put in.

According to the students involved, there are many reasons to attend this year’s Student Theatre Productions.

“Student directors only continue on to be directors because of the support we get,” Marquart said.“Plus, all three of our shows are super fun and will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.”

Grant, who hopes to be a director after she graduates, is grateful that this opportunity exists at Drake.

“As a student, it can be hard to find substantial opportunities to direct a show, so I’m grateful that Drake’s Theatre Department consistently offers this kind of opportunity to students,” Grant said. 

This year, students will perform the Student Theatre Productions in the Coleman Studio Theatre on Feb. 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available now at $8 for students and seniors and $10 for adults. Tickets can be purchased online or through the Fine Arts Box Office.

“If you can’t make it to the Student Theatre Productions, then go see ‘42nd Street’ in March. If you can’t make it to ‘42nd Street’, then go see ‘Stop Kiss’ in May,” Marquart said. “Just go watch the theatre department’s shows because they are all really great, and we all pour our hearts and souls into them.”

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