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Students Immerse Themselves in Live Theatre at Midlands Technical College Playwright Festival

Actors practicing on guitarsMTC students rehearse the original play “Guitar Association” for the
November 18 Midlands Technical College Playwright Festival.

What happens when six students write stories about life, love, and joy; and their classmates help direct, produce, and perform the plays in front of a live audience? The result is the Midlands Technical College Playwright Festival, a unique evening of one-act plays open to the public at the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College November 18, 2017.

“I am a believer and achiever with my students,” said Giselle Woods, theatre instructor in the MTC Humanities Department who developed the playwriting course in which the six plays were written.

All performances at the MTC Playwright Festival are written, directed, performed, and produced by students in MTC’s Theatre 221 class. This is the 15th Playwright Festival run by Midlands Technical College students, who have nearly 60 one-act plays published through the Library of Congress.

Elena Martínez-Vidal, MTC’s Department Chair for Humanities, said this form of theatrical immersion by students not only gives understanding of how to produce live theatre, it also gives them something more.

“Studying any art, but theatre in particular, allows students to understand themselves and each other,” said Martínez-Vidal. “This allows students to expand their minds and think about life in a larger context. And since the basis of theatre is entertainment, it gives them pleasure as well.”

One student playwright, Kendrick Lyles, said he used to struggle to find a channel for his creativity until he learned about the opportunity to write and produce his own works on stage.

“This process has given me an outlet to focus my creative energy,” sad Lyles. “I had a chance to pick one of those crazy ideas that float in my head every day, write about it, and turn it into a play. That was a gift by itself, but then to turn around and have the chance to direct that idea is just a check off my bucket list.”

Lyles wrote and is directing “Emmy and Sol,” a play about relationships and being able to “let go.” The five other plays written by students for the festival are:

  • “Fat Cow” by McKenna Delaney
  • “Guitar Association” by Toure Greene
  • “Shattered” by Kentley Washington
  • “Unseen” by Ayesha Carter
  • “Arnold Saves the West” by Christopher Devlin

“Students are learning basic skills in the theatre in these capacities,” said Martínez-Vidal. “However, the product is a delightful evening of entertainment for the audience. That’s always the goal of theatre.”

The Midlands Technical College Playwright Festival is November 18 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College in Irmo.

Admission for all six plays is $10, which includes refreshments after the show. Tickets and information are available by calling the box office at 803.407.5011 or at www.HarbisonTheatre.org.