Campus organization offers opportunities for theatrical students
The student operated University Theater Players (UTP) has been operating for over 20 years.
Housed in the Etherredge Center, the organization supports the theatre program and is assisted by faculty advisor Paul Crook, one of USC Aiken’s newest staff members.
UTP is famous for their one act plays, written and directed by student members. The organization is not exclusive to theater majors, which gives their shows a variety of diverse perspectives.
Active member Gabby Walker confirmed that the experience has “made her a much better actor.” The theater program goes beyond what one would presume. Outside of improv workshops and setting foot on stage, they have a rather hands on approach. “We take film courses and do scenic designs.” With courses of this nature, theater enthusiasts get to see and experience each of the elements that create theater-like ambience.
Some UTP affiliates are regretful of the former faculty advisor’s Jack Benjamin’s absence. In contrast, they are hopeful that a new mindset from a new faculty leader will influence the outcome of future productions.
Andrew Spencer, UTP’s vice president, made it clear that he felt as though USC Aiken had only the bare essentials needed for successful acting practices. The limit of available theater courses negates the likelihood of success post-graduation. While there are a variety of theater related organizations, Spencer seemed concerned with the lack of funding for the theater department.
Nonetheless, the organization performs relatively consistently. They are responsible for student activity and university performances throughout the year. They perform annually in the haunted hike, the PUB luau and other seasonal endeavors.
In addition, UTP acts out college lifestyle scenarios in an informational performance dedicated to freshman. This is typically conducted post move-in day and serves as a great initiative against rape culture, underage drinking, etc.
When interviewing Spencer, and Walker they seemed ecstatic about the upcoming performance titled Life Sucks which will debut October 11 – October 14, 2018. Like other theater related ordeals this will be held in the Etherredge Center at 7:30pm. Patrons of the arts can expect to pay $15 at the box office. Admission for USC Aiken students will be reduced to $8.
USC Aiken and its affiliates have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming fall semester. However, they can expect even more from UTP performances in the Spring 2019 semester.