/Student-directed productions: The hidden gems of the Theatre Department

Student-directed productions: The hidden gems of the Theatre Department

By Amelia Valery, Photo editor

Not many people are aware of the student-directed productions at the University of Montevallo,
but they are the hidden gems of the Theatre Department.
Senior Carson Reed is directing and producing the musical “Firebringer.”
“I’ve never actually done a musical myself, independently,” Reed said. “So I wanted to flex that
muscle and see what’s different about it. This is more or less a learning opportunity for me to see
what happens when I’m the one in charge of a musical.”
Sometimes they have to get creative, even if that means taking rehearsal outside. The cast would
use the stage at Orr Park to set the scene for their prehistoric musical, but even a little cold won’t
slow down the rehearsal schedule.
Cast member Josh Norris recently closed the University show “Tartuffee,” which was directed
by associate professor Marcus Lane. Norris said he also likes the chance to explore student lead
“For ‘Tartuffee’ I was getting to have this big box to work in, and at the time I was like, oh
there’s not many ways to get a bigger box to work in,” Norris said. “But with student lead stuff,
it’s an even bigger box, so I was really really excited to move from an environment where I
thought that oh this is the max what I can do and like what I can choose to and even like more
paintable canvas.”
Cast members aren’t just theatre majors, they come from all sides of campus, but director Carson
Reed can assures that they all have one thing in common.
“It’s interesting to create a community based on people who all want that opportunity, want that
opportunity to grow, to learn something new, to try something new and so we all have that in
common at least,” he said.
The production team is able to create a different atmosphere compared to a faculty-led show
according to Music Director, Nick Lyles.
“In a nutshell, I would say doing a student lead show versus a department show it’s just a lot
more relaxing and I guess not so much carefree but there’s not I guess a set level of expectations
that you feel like you have to meet each time you go into rehearsal,” Lyles said.

Student-directed shows are able to offer students opportunities that they otherwise might not receive with university shows. Cast member Jayla Bester says she appreciates how theatre students leading these types of shows create opportunities for people of color.
“They are students are basically our ages and so they’re willing to give that opportunity no matter
like what color you are,” she said. “And I’m not saying the professors here care about that, but it’s
more opportunity with POC who have not been using a production here.”
Catch Firebringer in the Palmer Auditorium on April 23 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on April 24.

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