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Professional Theatre Comes to Regent Summer 2013

By Amanda Morad | March 26, 2013

Regent University's School of Communication & the Arts (SCA) has announced the inaugural season of Tidewater Stage, a new professional theatre company in residence, beginning July 2013.

With the only MFA training program for actors at a Christian university, the addition of Tidewater Stage reflects a commitment to best practices in theatre education and opens doors for professional opportunities to students during their residency.

For graduate actors, a professional theatre serves as a training laboratory where students gain valuable experiences performing alongside professional actors in the industry. The model exists at most graduate institutions offering MFA actor training and ushers in a new era of national recognition for Regent's acclaimed graduate program in theatre.

"This initiative reflects a deeply held value among theatre faculty and SCA leadership, as well as peer institutions across the country, that a graduate education in theatre is significantly enriched through a partnership with a professional theatre company," said Eric Harrell, producing artistic director for the new company. "Tidewater Stage has been part of a decade-long strategic plan for the theatre program, and it's thrilling to see it finally come to fruition."

Tidewater Stage productions will differ from the academic season by reflecting the highest standards of professional, regional theatre. This summer's company will feature the talents of select MFA actors, alumni, local professionals, current faculty and staff who are members of the Actors Equity Association (the national union for stage actors) and a guest scenic designer from Washington, D.C. As a professional theatre, all company members will be compensated.

For the inaugural season, Tidewater Stage will present Forever Plaid July 5-7 and 12-14, and Barefoot in the Park Aug. 2-4 and 9-11. "You would be hard pressed to find two more endearing pieces to celebrate our first summer of professional theatre production. When it comes to laughs, these shows deliver," said Scott Hayes, chair of Regent's theatre department.

Forever Plaid is a "deliciously fun" 1950s musical revue that centers on four young, eager male singers killed in a car crash on the way to their first big concert, and are now revived for the posthumous chance to fulfill their dreams and perform the show that never was. In the tradition of musical groups like The Four Freshmen and The Four Aces, "The Plaids" revive such favorites as "Three Coins in the Fountain," "Sixteen Tons," and "Chain Gang."

Barefoot in the Park carries the light summer tone with a comedic look at newlywed life and the unexpected differences couples often find as they begin to experience life—and in-laws—together.

Auditions for roles in both productions are open to all local actors. Auditions will be held in Regent's Performing Arts Center on April 6.

"Not only are our students excited about this new era of professional theatre, many donors and local businesses have caught the vision and stepped forward to partner with us as season sponsors," Harrell added. "Other professional arts groups in town have graciously welcomed our new company to the stage and have even assisted us in promoting our inaugural season. There is a sense throughout the arts community that something significant is being birthed at Regent University."

Learn more about the School of Communication & the Arts.


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