Taking the stage at Wake Forest isn’t just for theatre students. And many of the University Theatre’s most memorable productions feature economics or chemistry majors who decided to try their hand at acting or stage design. Performing live theatre cultivates a wide range of real world skills, like adaptability, creativity, teamwork and confident public speaking.
But mostly, it’s fun.
Laugh, cry and enjoy the drama as we pull back the curtain on the past few years of Wake Forest’s University Theatre productions.
From outrageous comedies to lighthearted musicals to intense dramas, the University Theatre offers something for everyone each year.
They have the best – and worst – seats in the house. Performing from the orchestra pit just feet from the stage, the conductor and musicians rarely see the actors above them. But live orchestra music creates an almost palpable energy in the theatre, and these hidden performers are the invisible stars of every production.
When the University Theatre held open auditions for “The Grapes of Wrath,” they envisioned a kind of community theatre production. Not only were students cast in the play, but members of Wake Forest’s staff, faculty and extended University family were offered roles as well and invited to perform in the orchestra. The unique production had an impact beyond the stage, launching an interdisciplinary campus-wide discussion about the economic, social and political issues raised by Steinbeck’s Depression-era story.
Or props for that matter.
Taking promotional photos weeks in advance of opening night - before costumes have been sewn, sets have been completed or props have been made – can be a challenge. But with some ingenuity and the natural creativity of the director, actors and University Photographer Ken Bennett, the publicity shots always seem to capture the essence of the production.
Preparation for Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, “Love’s Labor’s Lost,” took a tragic turn when the king was hospitalized with mono just five days before opening night. A sophomore at the time, Branden Cook (’17) recovered in royal fashion, but University Theatre Director Jerf had to scramble to find a last-minute replacement to play King Ferdinand. Follow the drama behind the drama as Wake Forest Magazine documents the 74-day journey from auditions to closing night.