When people think of watching Stage Theatre, they think Broadway; Lots of lights, big stages, and endless budgets. But those who practice theatre know that most of the time, its anything but glamorous.
Students at Universities all over the world realize the hardships of theatre because they have to face them every day. Often times, they are on their own to put up productions without support of anyone but their fellow actors, stage managers, and designers.
“Student shows here just aren’t as glamorized,” said Jessica Otterbine, a two-time student director, “Everyone wants to do the Main Stages. They have bigger budgets, and the faculty directors, you know, people who… are professionals.”
She continued, saying that students need to be able to put on their own shows because this is what they are training to do. If they don’t get the opportunity to get hands-on experience in college, then they can’t be the best you can be.
However, that’s not to say that faculty and Universities should take a ‘hands-off’ approach in order to let the students work.
“Its just unfortunate that we can’t get the kind of support that we really need,” said Otterbine.
Other schools notice the lack of support as well, but not just from faculty. The Broadway Bostonian published an article on Boston University’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. The article comments on lack of support from audiences.
“When people think Student Theater, they generally think off-pitch, haphazard and cheap. One out of three isn’t bad (cheap – for you and the students) but the other two just aren’t true. Collegiate theater companies pride themselves on getting talented actors and crew members, and training them to the best of their abilities For some who intend to work in theater, college is an opportunity to get some much-needed career experience.”
They, among many others who can appreciate the talent and work of student productions, do not view student theatre as something to be looked down upon.
“I’m a huge fan of student theater…” says the author, “and not just because I’m a student. Student theater is a great way to expose yourself to a wide variety of inexpensive theater. This might seem sacrilegious to bigger Broadway buffs, but sometimes I can’t get interested in shows just from the cast recording.”
One problem that Quinnipiac’s student theatre did not face this year is audience support for their shows. “The Clean House” by Sarah Ruhl was directed by Otterbine and sold out two out of three nights.
“I think, in the past couple years, student productions have become increasingly greater quality and outcome.,” said Otterbine.
Now, she says, they just need support from the University itself.
One might ask why a student, burdened with piles of homework, hours at internships and little money would even bother taking on an endeavor like directing a student show. Otterbine, answered in one word…. Love.
“You just really need to be doing what you love,” she said, “At the end of the day, that’s what is really important.”