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« Mill Town Players Hit Bullseye with "Annie Get Your Gun" | Main | Review: Mill Town Players Baptist Women Touch the Heart »
Wednesday
Jun262019

AU Rep Theatre ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘Around the World’ This Weekend

By Paul Hyde/Anderson Observer 

The high school students of the AU Repertory Theatre have two big plays to put together in a mere three weeks. 

But that’s no problem for these talented teens.AU Repertory Theatre students rehearse for performances this week of “Julius Caesar” and “Around the World in 80 Days.” (Photos Courtesy of AU Repertory Theatre)

AU Rep Theatre, now in its seventh year, is a summer program for Upstate teenagers who work with Anderson University theater students to stage plays on a tight deadline. 

“It’s an intense experience,” Robert Homer-Drummond, artistic director of the program and an Anderson University associate professor of theater.

This year the AU Rep Theatre presents a classic tragedy -- Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” -- and a comedy – “Around the World in 80 Days,” based on the Jules Verne novel. 

The plays will alternate, Today-Saturday, with “Julius Caesar” on Wednesday and Friday and “Around the World in 80 Days” on Thursday and Saturday. 

Performances at Anderson University’s Belk Theatre begin at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are only $10. For more information, call 864-231-2125 or visit www.schoolofthearts.com

The productions are briskly paced, lasting a little more than an hour.

The 16 high school students take on all acting roles while the seven college students lead behind the scenes: as stage directors, and as set and costume designers. 

“They’re really only three or four years apart, so the high school students really relate well to the college students,” Homer-Drummond said. “The kids bond together really well.” 

The high school students work 9-to-5, taking theater classes and rehearsing one play in the morning and another in the afternoon. 

They also get involved with the technical side of the production.

“We create fully realized sets and costumes,” said John Leggett, an Anderson University student who is directing “Julius Caesar.” 

It’s a great educational experience for the high school students. 

“They learn a lot about all aspects of theater,” Homer-Drummond said. “They absorb the seriousness with which the college students take the art and craft.” 

Theater education not only boosts self-confidence but also teaches communication skills while nourishing creativity, empathy and teamwork, Homer-Drummond said. 

Many students return for a second summer -- or a third. 

“They get hooked,” Homer-Drummond said. 

Meanwhile, the Anderson University students who lead the program “just love it. I usually have a line out my door of students wanting to be involved,” Homer-Drummond said.

Leggett said the college students learn a lot themselves – by intensively examining their own acting and directing, and by teaching classes in the theater technology.

“A lot of us go to school for acting but we want to be able to branch out from that as well,” Leggett said. “I majored in acting but I’m really interest the production side of theater. I hope the kids are learning a lot from what I bring to the table.”

Paul Hyde, a longtime Upstate journalist, writes about the arts for the Anderson Observer. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @PaulHyde7. 

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