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Theater students hone skills at renowned programs
August 13, 2012
|Julia Valen '14 will spend a semester at the British American Drama Academy.|
Several St. Olaf College students are honing their theater skills this year by taking part in renowned training programs.
David James Peterjohn '13 recently completed a summer program at the National Theater Institute (NTI), where Sterling Melcher '14 will enroll this fall. Julia Valen '14 will spend a semester at the British American Drama Academy (BADA).
Peterjohn took part in NTI's Summer Theatermakers ensemble program and intensive playwriting course. This fall Melcher will begin the institute's Advanced Directing Semester and Valen will head overseas to participate in BADA's London Theatre Semester. All of the programs are designed to hone students' skills through a rigorous regimen of classes and experiential learning.
"We practiced our art seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.," says Peterjohn, noting that he had ample opportunity at NTI to see his written work performed by other students in the program and to focus on improving his playwriting skills.
|David James Peterjohn '13 recently completed a summer program at the National Theater Institute.|
NTI is a highly respected program operated in conjunction with the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Its alumni include Rachel Dratch and Chris Elliott of Saturday Night Live, John Krasinski of The Office, and Jeremy Piven of Entourage.
Students in the advanced directing program hone their directorial skills through in-class exercises, rehearsals, and a final capstone performance. Melcher, who hopes to one day direct professionally, finds that aspect of the program especially enticing.
|Sterling Melcher '14 will enroll in NTI's Advanced Directing Semester.|
"I really want to improve my directing technique and solidify myself as an artist, and also find out what it means to be theater artist in the modern age," he says.
And while Melcher is in Connecticut this fall for NTI, Valen will be in London. There she'll attend BADA, a premier drama school that counts actors such as Alan Rickman and Judi Dench among its instructors. Students in this program study theater intensively for eight weeks, followed by a five-week period of rehearsal that culminates in a performance at a professional theater.
"I'm thrilled at the prospect of learning from and working with so many theater professionals," she says. "Plus I'll get to see so much London theater."