Four Shorter University theatre majors took their dreams to the Big Apple, thanks to a senior showcase arranged by the university’s theater department.
Photo above: Left to right Savannah Gillam; Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre Direction Sue Gaukel; Shorey Walker, College Showcase Coordinator at Actors Connection in New York City; Taylor Camp; Christine Barnes; and Cameron Stewart.
Musical theatre majors Taylor Camp, Savannah Gillam, and Cameron Stewart and theatre major Christine Barnes spent a week attending master classes, performing for agents, and experiencing life in New York City.
The showcase, arranged and led by Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre Direction Sue Gaukel, provided further professional experience to enhance the seniors’ resumes and aid in the transition from college theatre to professional theatre. A highlight of the trip was the seniors’ showcase, which they performed for an audience of eight New York-based agents who provided them with feedback.
“This trip is designed to help the students get some experience in the big city, get some great training and input from the very people who could be hiring them in the future, and have an opportunity to perform for casting directors,” Gaukel said.
The students also attended master classes taught by Broadway directors and casting directors who discussed musical theatre, acting on camera and auditioning for commercials.
“What I have noticed in the last two years is that the seniors come back from the showcase trip different people. I actually watch them transform over the week from nervous but eager and excited college grads to young professionals with a clearer idea of what they are getting into and where their next steps need to be,” said Gaukel.
The students have also noticed the impact of the professional theatre exposure. “We had the opportunity to meet all kinds of important casting directors and agents; it was an awesome networking opportunity,” said Barnes. “The trip really opened my eyes to the fact that my dream is possible, and if I work hard enough, I can do this.”
This is the department’s second year to take the trip. “Last year’s musical theatre seniors started the tradition of doing a showcase in New York, and the theatre department intends to keep that tradition going,” Barnes said.
Students start planning and fundraising for the trip their junior year, and they spend their senior year preparing.
“Our students represent Shorter University very well,” said Gaukel. “Not only do they show how talented they are, but that they are disciplined, well trained, and just lovely people as well. I am so proud of the quality of students we bring from Shorter.”
Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christ-centered, four-year liberal arts university committed to excellence in education. The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its list of best Southeastern Colleges. Shorter is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in 40 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, and four master’s programs. Learn more about Shorter at www.shorter.edu.