Students Take Swashbuckling Performance Pierside
By Rachel Judy
June 14, 2012
In early June, OpSail 2012 Virginia treated Norfolk, Va., to a festival of ships and events aiming to foster interest in American maritime history and heritage, while creating unique educational opportunities for people of all ages. A group of Regent University theatre students was invited to take part in the festivities, performing Blackbeard and Calico Jack: A Swashbuckling Vaudeville.
Written and directed by Dr. Michael Hill-Kirkland, a professor in the School of Communication & the Arts, the show featured recent graduates Britain Willcock, Whitney Rappana and Jared O'Dell. Current MFA in acting students Ashley Manning and Chad Stem were also among the cast.
"I loved being able to stroll around between performances and look at the ships; they were gorgeous," said Manning. "It is extremely valuable to go beyond the classroom, performing in the community as a theatre grad student. Working in entertainment is what most of us want to do, and there's no reason why we shouldn't start now."
"As an actor, it's a treat when you get to interact with the audience like the script allowed us to do," Stem added. "Expecting the unexpected is really fun when we have volunteers coming up to participate in the show, even though some performances there were some hesitant people in the audience. It all worked out in the end and the audience, myself and the other actors had a really fun time."
The group performed the show June 9 and 10 in front of the Nauticus museum in downtown Norfolk.
While the actors change each year, the show continues to be successful. Other groups of students have performed the show locally before. In May 2011, the show was included in Virginia Beach's Pirates in the Park Festival. The show was also seen at the 2011 BeachEvents at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and at the Naval Supply Corp Ball in February 2012.
"I put the show together because our students receive comprehensive stage combat training, but they don't often get to practice it in performance," Hill-Kirkland—who also choreographed the fight scenes—explained. "I thought this would be a great way for a core of people to have a show featuring stage combat that could be done locally .... It's a fun way to show off the skills they've acquired while studying here at Regent."
Learn more about Regent's graduate programs in Theatre Arts.
Learn more about Regent's Bachelor of Arts in Theatre.
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations
Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888