By Ashley Bowden
Arts & Entertainment Editor
This fall, the department of theatre, dance & arts management welcomed its largest freshman class of theater majors in history. 58 students comprise the newest addition to the Post Theatre Company. Department chairperson Cara Gargano, explained that the increase is partially due to the faculty making the effort towards attending more national audition opportunities. Admissions and the office of the president provided generous financial support to the department this year.
Erica Henning, a freshman musical theatre major from Sandusky, OH, was drawn to Post because of the rigorous theatre program, and the school’s close proximity to Broadway. “I think it’s going to be really intense but really worth it,” she said. Henning anticipates improving her skills as a dancer, actor and person from the program’s training. She is excited to learn from the staff and the upperclassmen. “Everyone seems really nice and welcoming,” she said. Henning looks forward to seeing Post Theatre Company’s (PTC) main stage productions and participating in the E.S.T.A (Emerging Student Theatre Artist) season. The latter consists of student-written, produced and directed works.
“I’ve been acting since I was nine and telling stories since I was born,” Henning said. She has always possessed a love for fiction and promoted the importance of telling stories to change things in the world around her. “[Acting] is my way of escaping everyday life, but at the same time it’s also me making a comment on that,” Henning said. She had not decided to major in theatre until two years ago. “I always wanted to major in creative writing,” she said, thanks largely to her parents’ influence. Having participates in summer acting intensives in New York before, Henning is adapting well and is ex- cited to be so far from her home for college.
Freshman theatre major Emma Kocar, has also traveled a long distance, from Aurora, OH, to attend LIU Post. “I like how well-rounded [the program] is,” Kocar said. The acting major requires directing and play writing components in addition to acting, dance and vocal training. “In a lot of places, they tend to separate the acting and musical theatre aspects,” she said. Kocar found acting by chance after participating in the Academy of Performing Arts hosted by Chagrin Falls High School in Chagrin Falls, OH. She is very excited to learn from the staff . “It’s great how quickly we all became what everyone likes to describe as a family; I already feel like I have a lot of friends.”
“From the moment we took that first class and discussed Stanislavski, creating images in your head and embodying the character,” Kocar said, “it threw every single stereotype I had of acting out the window.”
To accommodate the influx of new students, Gargano said that the theatre arts department has added more part-time faculty. “We have not added additional full time staff yet, but as the need develops, I am sure the university will support this growth!”