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Students to study musical theater abroad

Eight students from the ORU Theatre department were selected for a three week theater study in Kiefersfelden, Germany. These students will visit the International Performing Arts Institute on July 6-27 to further their skills in all aspects of musical theater.

“This program is specifically designed for people who want to be active in the Broadway quality shows that tour Europe,” said Laura Holland, chair of the Communications Arts and Media department. “It’s an every-single-day acting, dancing and singing program.”

The exclusive program, which is open to applicants as well as those attending university auditions, only accepts 16 students each year. Out of the eight students invited from ORU, three of them are freshmen.

“The majority of people that go, a lot of them are out of MFA programs. That is why I was so surprised, because they invited freshmen,” said Holland.

One of the students selected for this study abroad program is senior musical theatre major Mercede Hanson.

“I am really happy I have this opportunity,” said Hanson. “I feel it will greatly help me grow in my abilities.”

To earn an invitation to the exclusive institute, students had to spend a day at a rigorous workshop that was hosted in Howard Auditorium.

This master class was hosted by Christopher Ryan, the director of musical theatre at the International Performing Arts Institute. Ryan is an ORU alumnus who graduated in 2003.

Students who attended the master class spent the day in Howard’s dance studio learning audition techniques, performing their prepared musical pieces and working on .

For Hanson’s audition, she performed “Show Me” from the 1964 musical, “My Fair Lady.”

To encourage self-growth, the program encourages students to create their own list of personal goals.

“I want to learn consistency with my sound,” said Hanson. “I also want to work on singing my vowels and holding them out longer.”

Devante Malone, a junior drama television film major, was also selected to attend the three week symposium.

“The thing I’m most looking forward to improving is my dancing ability,” said Malone. “That’s probably where I could use the most work. It would further help me become a triple threat.”

A triple threat is an actor or actress who performs excellently in the three main aspects of musical theatre: singing, dancing and acting.

Learning these skills doesn’t come at a cheap price. Each student has to fund their own trip, which costs approximately $5,325, not including airfare. This estimate includes housing, meals and the program tuition.

“As a group, we’re going to try to do some kind of fundraiser. We want to come together to something and split the money evenly,” said Hanson.

While finances are a challenge for most college students, the International Performing Arts Institute helps students by providing them with creative ideas on how to raise funds.

“I’ll be working a lot in the summer. That’s going to be most of my fundraising,” said Malone.

While the adventure has yet to begin for the students who will be attending the program, teachers and students alike are excited about the possibilities this program will bring to future ORU arts students.

“We think this might become a yearly thing,” said Holland. “God’s doing something here [at ORU] and internationally. I’m excited about it.”

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