On June 15, from 1-5 p.m. in Thompson Hall, University Theatre will be hosting its first TheatreFESTival. This event will be an interactive experience, allowing the public to see behind the scenes of a production at NC State’s University Theatre and to meet with area theater companies and professionals.
With over 250 attendees pre-registered and about 10-15 events every hour including backstage tours, Q&A sessions with local actors and hands-on scene painting and costuming activities, University Theatre is hoping to show the public everything that goes into putting on a production, according to Joshua Reaves, interim director of University Theatre.
“Putting on a production is like an iceberg," Reaves said. "You really only see the performance side of it, not the 6-8 weeks that go into making that two-hour experience for you on stage. Even the building itself, only a small percentage of it is public space; the rest is the shops and the workspaces that the makers of theater work from. The hope of TheatreFESTival is to open up and pull back the curtain and see how things are made, and to show that there’s a lot more ice under the surface.”
Ron Foreman, marketing coordinator for University Theatre, said that TheatreFESTival is an opportunity to expand University Theatre’s audience base and to get more students involved.
“It’s an opportunity to branch out into the community, especially on campus,” Foreman said. “We have a large student population, and we’d love to see more students involved in the theater program, whether it’s on stage, behind the scenes or even in the audience.”
Reaves notes that Raleigh is home to several theater companies, and University Theatre wants TheatreFESTival to be a place where the theater community can come together and network.
“The Raleigh community is so saturated with theater, you can pretty much see something new every weekend,” Reaves said. “With all of this around town, we really wanted to make a space for everyone to come together and see all of the offerings in the area, and get to see the people behind the scenes and bring everybody together on campus to see what we do.”
Foreman said entertainment will include live music, with some of the members of one of the current productions, “Bright Star,” performing. The Wolfpack Pickers, a campus bluegrass band, will also be performing. According to Reaves, there will be events that are kid-friendly as well as ice cream and lemonade. In addition, Wolfpack Outfitters will also have giveaways for attendees.
University Theatre has created a guidebook to allow attendees to easily plan their day and make sure they can attend all the events they want to. The guidebook lets attendees select all the events they want to attend and creates a schedule for them to follow, complete with maps of the spaces and information about the vendors or companies that will be there.
The event is completely free and open to the public. University Theatre does ask that attendees pre-register for the event. The event is come and go as you please, and each of the individual events will last between 20 and 45 minutes.
A full list of events, vendors and companies attending can be found on University Theatre’s TheatreFESTival website.