Student-run theatre association creates connections

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Brigham Young University's Harris Fine Arts Center, home of the BYU STA. (courtesy BYU STA)
Brigham Young University’s Harris Fine Arts Center, home of the BYU Student Theatre Association. The group on campus is student run and hopes to teach others about the majors and activities in the arts departments.  (Student Theatre Association)

The Harris Fine Arts Center may be a confusing maze for new students, but the BYU Student Theatre Association aims to help students navigate the building’s halls and the majors offered inside.

Spencer Johnson, a 27-year-old BYU alumnus and second president of the BYU Student Theatre Association said that he joined in 2012 when it was known as the Student Theatre Council.

“I’d had some difficulties with navigating the theatre major, and I had some trust issues with faculty and advisers due to some unfortunate experiences prior to joining the theatre program,” Johnson said. “I wanted to ensure that new students wouldn’t be bewildered and that the voices of the theatre student body would be heard.”

The current Student Theatre Association council members are passionate about facilitating communication between students and faculty.

Savannah Hawkins
BYU’s Student Theatre Association goals, according to their website. The Student Theatre Association hopes to unite students and faculty members on campus. (STA)

Julia Ashworth, the BYU faculty adviser for the association, said her goals are to facilitate the council members and help with communicating with the other faculty. “They need to get a hold of who they are as an organization,” Ashworth said. “Then they can grow more. I want to elevate them to be peer leaders that the new students can go to.”

Arianna Krenk is a senior in the theatre arts major and the current president of the Student Theatre Association. Krenk said that communications are slowly improving, and more students are learning about the association.

“A lot of theatre students didn’t know about the club and the events that we put on,” Krenk said. “We’re becoming more prominent in social media and coming to classes to make announcements about upcoming events.”

The most recent Student Theatre Association event, the “24-Hour Theatre Project,” was held Sept. 11–12.

BYU Student Theatre Association puts on a performance written and rehearsed in 24 hours. (via Facebook)
BYU Student Theatre Association put on a performance written and rehearsed in 24 hours. (Student Theatre Association)

The event invites anyone with an interest in theatre to participate in a theatre performance that only takes 24 hours to write, direct, rehearse and perform. Playwrights this semester included BYU Professor George Nelson. Other faculty participated in various capacities as well.

Rachel Aylworth, a 21-year-old BYU student from Washington, participated as an actor in this year’s “24-Hour Theatre Project.”

“It was exhausting, but really fun,” Aylworth said. “I loved the whole process.”

Previously held only once a year, the Student Theatre Association plans on running the event once a semester, according to Krenk. The “24-Hour Theatre” is open for all to participate, regardless of major.

The Student Theatre Association is also in charge of “DisOrientation” for new theatre students each semester, which helps students familiarize with the HFAC and with the majors themselves.

Student Theatre Association vice president Logan Ruesch hopes the organization will also hold a TMA Halloween party to “unite students.”

The Student Theatre Association will participate in the TMA Department’s opening social, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 at River Park with a s’more’s roast.

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