From the Students:
On December 2, 2013, a group of Lawrence University Theatre and Economics students gathered with three professors to undertake a great endeavor. Throughout the course of the next two weeks, these students would start their own theatre company, write ten-minute plays, rehearse these plays, and perform a ten-minute play festival. When the very first blog post of Greyfell Theatre Company went live online on December 3rd, the company was already in full swing. Before even setting foot in Door County, students had begun planning, proposing ideas for mission statements, company names and even submitting a few grant proposals. A schedule was in place; there would be 3 sessions a day and an 11 a.m. company meeting, along with other responsibilities taken on through individual involvement focusing on themes like marketing, budget, education, social media/blogging, and outreach, just to name a few.
Students began their immersive experience by composing their own 10-minute plays to be submitted for the evening that later became Thresholds: A Celebration of 10-minute Plays. In addition to their duties as company members, students quickly became parts of the production themselves, taking on roles as playwrights, actors, stage managers and directors. Many also found a mission through the art they created, Ken Goh, a senior trombone and innovation and entrepreneurship double major phrased it best, saying that “our ultimate goal has been to share a fleeting, yet powerful moment of artistic expression with others in hopes of provoking thought and emotional response.”
Many students developed skills in areas they never thought they would approach, and came out the other side for the better, “I’m going to be completely honest and say that this adventure initially scared me to death” Jessica Teuber, a Junior Economics major explained, “Along with the business and theatre production skills that I have acquired from this experience, I have also grown as a person. I have stepped out of my comfort zone and was able to be a part of something truly amazing.” Madeline Bunke, a senior theatre arts major, agreed wholeheartedly, “I feel like that’s what the Greyfell experience has been all about – approaching new, potentially scary tasks with an active positivity.
- Portia Turner '15 and Abi Leveille '14
What other students are saying:
Sophomore Theatre Arts major Matt Johnson said, “I took on a role that was entirely new to me and in my opinion that's exactly what this two week course was all about: doing something I've never done before. And I have to say, it's been a really rewarding decision.” He went on to say, “I've never been a part of something before with a group of people as large as this where every single person was simply 100% in love with what they were doing and was dedicated to the work and to each other.” Everyone was incredibly dedicated to Greyfell and to each other, making the once daunting task suddenly less scary and making the end goal realistic.
Senior German and English major Helen Titchener was especially excited about the press release: “I also really like writing press releases. I’m working with one other person to write them and two other people to help get pictures for them. It’s really exciting when a news outlet picks up our story from the press release I helped write! I'm an English Major, which means I normally write essays. Seeing a way I can apply my major to my love of theatre is super exciting. It's also a great chance to practice another style of writing.”
Senior Theatre Arts and English double major Madeline Bunke commented, “I feel like that’s what the Greyfell experience has been all about – approaching new, potentially scary tasks with an active positivity.”
From Professor Timothy X. Troy:
It is indeed difficult to summarize the Start-up Theater experience this past December. The students accomplished so much:
they used the I&E model to integrate their Lawrence learning in new and deeper ways;
they touched the larger community with their passion and creativity;
they pushed each other to new heights of collaboration;
they founded a lasting legacy by creating the Greyfell Theatre Company.
I like to think of Greyfell Theatre as a project where students can learn to think of theatre-making as a way to encounter the community with their best selves – young, smart, searching, sensitive, and skilled. By creating a company and finding new ways to produce theatre alongside, but independent of, the Theatre Department’s regular offerings, our I&E students find ways to harness the human capital around them. They learn that the stage manager is also a playwright, or that an actor might be a natural producer.
Another lasting benefit of the Start-up Theatre program was the teaching and learning collaboration among the faculty involved. In addition to the discipline specific concepts and modes of analysis I learned from Adam Galambos, I learned new ways of conceptualizing a collective endeavor from Gary Vaughan. They tell me, that making theatre taught them a thing or two, as well. In the end, we learned new ways to communicate from each other that we’ll surely carry into disciplinary classrooms. What better evidence that an Interdisciplinary Program, like I&E, adds to the college culture in positive and lasting ways.
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