By Zach Taber, Asst. Arts & Entertainment
With the spring semester beginning on campus, clubs and organizations have begun gearing up for what will be an eventful few months. One such organization, Emerging Student Theatre Artists (ESTA), recently announced their spring season: a jam-packed collection of shows featuring a large variety of styles and genres.
“We have a great lineup of shows this semester,” senior musical theatre major and ESTA co-president Jaclyn Holliday said. “We are doing a ‘24 Hour Play Festival,’ ‘Into the Woods,’ ‘Phineas and Ferb,’ ‘a Cabaret Celebrating Artists of Color,’ ‘Anonymous Legally Blonde’ and ‘Tick, Tick.. BOOM!’ We will also have shows done throughout the semester by our incredible improv troupe, No Control.” The season selection was announced on Jan. 30, and shows will take place virtually throughout the semester.
ESTA shows are entirely student directed and produced; students can propose shows to be a part of ESTA’s season, and the final show selections are made by ESTA’s e-board.
“There are many factors that go into selecting the ESTA season. We look at what type of show it is, the duration of the performance, the budget, and who is a part of the team,” Holliday said.
ESTA does an entirely new lineup of shows every semester, so the e-board is very careful in their decision making process to ensure quality, nuanced material is picked. “
We want to make sure that the season has variety and diversity, we also try to pick new directors to give equal opportunities to everyone,” Holliday said.
With this rigorous selection process, having a show selected to be a part of the season can be incredibly exciting for budding student directors.
“I was so grateful that my proposal was picked,” said sophomore musical theatre major and “Into the Woods” director Patrick Blanner said.“This season is going to be legendary, and I am absolutely honored to be a part of it.”
Student directors get full creative freedom with their productions, allowing ample artistic opportunity for the student body.
“This production is going to be hyper focused on each of the individual characters,” Blanner said, explaining the concept for his show.
“Expect to see ‘Into the Woods’ like you have never seen it before,” he said.
Students in the ESTA community have become increasingly excited about what’s to come this spring with their shows.
“I am so stoked to see how creative people are this semester,” freshman musical theatre major Laura Degraw said.
“Honestly, I’m excited for all of it. I can’t wait to see what this group of directors and organizers have in store,” Holliday said.
For students looking to be involved in this semester’s season, auditions are due by the end of the day on Feb. 10. Students can also reach out to the e-board for further involvement inquiries at any time.
“Follow us on instagram @esta.liupost and twitter @LIUpostESTA for information on auditions, performances, and how to get involved with ESTA, and follow No Control’s instagram as well to keep up with what our improv troupe is doing @nocontrolimprov,” Holliday said.
Any student on campus is welcome to be involved with ESTA and take advantage of the ample opportunities offered to perform in, direct, create, choreograph, and produce their own shows. Beyond that however, ESTA also fosters a community of students who are able to build bonds with one another through the creation of art.
“I love the ESTA community because it truly is full of so many different kinds of people,” Blanner said. “It was a place that I was able to safely and comfortably discover more about myself while doing what I love.”
Blanner’s sentiments were echoed by Degraw in her experience with the club as a freshman.
“ESTA has let me meet and form better relationships with not only my peers but upperclassmen. I feel really lucky to have had the chance to form those relationships,” she said.
Even in the height of a global endemic, the ESTA community has been able to offer some reprieve for its members.
“During this time of COVID, when everything feels so ‘bla,’ it’s great to be able to come together and watch your friends put on a show that they’ve passionately been working on for weeks,” Holliday said. “I am amazed at the quality of shows and dedication that our members have to making every event memorable.”
With an audition due date fast approaching, and an exciting season of shows right around the corner, directors, e-board members, and students alike are all thrilled for this semester of ESTA to be underway.
“This season is going to be legendary, and I am absolutely honored to be a part of it,” Blanner said.