The Summer Theatre Experience


Theatre Newsletter | September 2021

Summer: A time for rest, relaxation, and theatre! Just because the 2020-2021 school year came to an end doesn't mean that the students of the St. Ambrose University theatre department stopped perfecting their craft and broadening their horizons. Current students and alumni of the theatre department involved themselves in theatre any way they could this summer after the pandemic and they truly made the most of every moment of it.

Junior Katie Link spent her summer at The Grand Opera House in Dubuque, Iowa, lending her talents on and off stage! In June she was the Doctor/Ensemble in the musical Matilda and later on in the summer was a Production Assistant and Assistant Stage Manager for the children's show Frozen JR.

"My favorite part of the summer was getting to learn new things and be on a different side of the stage," Link said. "I've never done something along the lines of assistant stage managing so it was a really great opportunity to learn new things!"

Senior Rebecca Meissen also spent her summer at The Grand Opera House where she was hired as a Technical Intern. She worked on three different shows and continued to expand her technical knowledge by building sets, painting scenes, being a part of the backstage crew, and spotlight operating.

Junior Peyton Reese and Senior Kyle DeFauw starred as Marian Paroo and Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man at Countryside Community Theatre in Eldridge, Iowa. DeFauw and Reese both enjoyed working with new and familiar people.

"I loved working with familiar faces as well as new faces," Reese said. "I got to act with people I went to high school with and people I go to Ambrose with, like Kyle, and it made it new and exciting but familiar at the same time."

Summer 2021

Working in Theatre

Several SAU theatre students spent a portion or all of their summer performing or working behind the scenes.

Sophomore Elena Vallejo was in the ensemble of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown at The Spotlight Theatre in Moline, Illinois. This was her first show since the COVID-19 pandemic and she could not have been more excited to be back on the stage singing and acting.

"It was so great to be back on stage!" Vallejo said. "Musicals have always been my favorite, and it was just so fulfilling to be singing and dancing for an audience again."

While current St. Ambrose theatre students were very involved, alumni of the department also kept themselves busy after graduation in the professional theatre scene. Graduates Ellie Larson '21 and T.J. Green '20 found themselves cast in the Circa '21 Playhouse's production of Elephant and Piggie:We're in a Play! at the beginning of the summer. Green played the role of Elephant and Ellie played the role of one of the Squirelletts in this production directed by St. Ambrose alumni Kim Kurtenbach '96. At the end of the summer, Green was also in a production of Young Frankenstein at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse in Bemidji, Minnesota, where he portrayed The Monster.

"In Bemidji we had to put together a musical in 10 days," Green said. "It was a lot of work, but the cast was incredible and so much fun to spend time with."

Tyler Hughes '21 spent his summer in Brownville, Nebraska, at the Brownville Village Theatre where he participated in five shows. During his time there he received the chance to act and work in the scene shop. According to Hughes he enjoyed the real world experience and sense of independence he felt working in professional theatre.

"My biggest takeaway from my experience at Brownville is that I wouldn't want to do anything other than theatre," Hughes said. "I felt fulfilled and I truly loved what I was doing every day."

Luke Peterson '21 is currently employed at the CLIMB Theatre in the Twin Cities where he is a Resident Artist for the 2021-2022 season. Throughout the season, Peterson will be rehearsing, performing, and teaching workshops to students whilst traveling the midwest.

"My favorite part of my job is combining two of my passions: performing and teaching," Peterson said. "By teaching about important life skills such as empathy, accountability, and advocacy, I am using my voice to help create positive change, and that is what CLIMB is all about!"

From community theatre to professional theatre jobs, these Bees certainly kept themselves busy this summer and continue to amaze and make the St. Ambrose community proud! The department congratulates all of our students and alumni on all of the accomplishments they have made this summer and we wish them the best of luck in the professional world and in their 2021-2022 school year.

"My biggest takeaway from my experience at Brownville is that I wouldn't want to do anything other than theatre," Hughes said. "I felt fulfilled and I truly loved what I was doing every day."

Tyler Hughes '21

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