Last month, Paradise Valley Community College Theatre Director Andrea Robertson and a handful of her students attended the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region 8, which showcases the finest regional productions, offers workshops, and celebrates students' work. The national theatre program was held virtually this year in light of the pandemic. However, thousands of students from colleges and universities across the nation participated.
Six of PVCC’s theatre students were nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting competition at the festival - Erin Cradick, Amanda Goldberg, Seth Fraiser, Kareem Muhammad, Isaac Murray and Jessica Parsons. Additionally, Meghan Parsons competed in Stage Management and earned the runner up for the region!
Take a look at our amazing students!
Erin is a Fine Arts major and said she loves the theatre program because it draws in driven and imaginative people who dream of turning their visions into reality. She admits COVID has been challenging, but said, “It hasn’t hindered my ability to achieve my educational goals. The theatre program has helped me acquire valuable skills, such as effective communication and the ability to problem-solve creatively. I plan on using these skills in my everyday life.”
Seth is a freshman at PVCC and loves the reception he has received from his peers. “It’s fun working with people who support you and give great feedback to help you improve your craft,” he said. With virtual learning, it’s difficult to stay motivated sometimes, however, Seth focuses on elevating his acting to the next level in hopes of getting a lead in a show.
Kareem has been a part of PVCC’s theatre program for two-and-a-half years and said the best part of all are the teachers who make the experience enjoyable. He has enjoyed the virtual projects online during COVID and learning the technical side of theatre. He is looking forward to continuing to grow as an actor and hopes to someday make it his career. “I want to help the world we live in become a more peaceful one,” he said.
Isaac is in his second year at PVCC and majoring in theatre. At 19, he is proud of how he and his peers have adapted to COVID-19 and what is going on in the world. “We have been able to continue to produce shows in these impossible times, giving me and many others the opportunity to express ourselves through performance.” With PVCC’s online format, Isaac has broadened his theatre education by exploring the technical/design side of theatre, which in today’s world is mostly digital. He has dreams of helping to manage a community theatre someday and work behind the scenes as well as being a lead in a show.
Jessica earned her degree in web design from PVCC’s sister school Scottsdale Community College. She is studying theatre at PVCC and hopes to pursue a career in motion-picture acting, musical theatre, and voice acting. “I want to continue to explore and grow across the industry and bring complex, story-driven characters to life,” she said. “Because of COVID, I've been able to be on the cutting edge of the creation of the digital theatre medium. It's been a fantastic challenge and really pushed me to grow as an actress and storyteller. I've had so many amazing opportunities to try every aspect of theatre from Stage Management, Acting, Directing, and Sound Design. There are so many opportunities to get involved and you always have the tools and support to explore and grow as an artist.
Meghan is in her third year at PVCC and majoring in business. She is taking theatre electives both for fun and to build new skill sets and it seems to be paying off. Meghan earned runner up in the stage management competition at this year’s KCACTF. “There are so many transferable skills with scheduling, project management, and leadership,” she said. “Being able to create, experiment, and innovate in PVCC’s theatre program is what I love most. Working on last semester’s A Night of Mystery was a wonderful opportunity to explore every piece of creating and producing a show, allowing us to define virtual theatre as it was being created around the globe. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.” She hopes to keep learning and exploring in this discipline, and take what she’s learned into a career in Hospitality and Event Management.