Every year, University Theatre students and staff attend the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC), and the tradition is continuing with a trip planned in early March.
This year’s conference will be held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, attracting theatre enthusiasts from across ten states in the southeast region of the United States. The conference is a gathering of over 4,000 actors, company representatives, design and technical professionals, theatre educators, students, and producers coming together to celebrate and learn more about theatre. Annually attending the event is a great opportunity for NC State students to be exposed to the world of professional theatre.
Kimberlin Torain, an attendee of the conference last year who will be returning this year, says that she is excited to interview with more companies and build on the relationships she formed. Attending the conference helped change her perspective of a career in theatre, and she said about her future career prospects: “I wasn’t sure if it was reasonable, but everyone I interviewed with made theatre their career. It made my goal more realistic and showed me that there’s opportunity out there.” She remembers that one of the most memorable parts of the conference was feeling completely supported by the other people in the community.
Sarah Thornton, an aspiring stage manager who will be attending the conference for the first time, says that she is most excited to attend the job fair. She hopes to get a summer internship or full-time position by networking with the companies that will be attending. Interviewing with professional theatre companies is a valuable learning opportunity to determine how successful the interviewee’s portfolio and resume are.
In addition to the job fair, there will be theatre workshops, design competitions, graduate school information, and auditions for singers, dancers, and actors. Master classes are offered and taught by industry professionals with the goal of teaching everything from costume design to hip-hop dance. Actor Ben Vereen, who has won a Tony Award and received an Emmy nomination, will be headlining the SETC as the Distinguished Career Award recipient.
Thanks to donor support, many of the attending NC State students are sponsored, making it possible for them to attend the conference when otherwise many would be unable to.
With all of the activities, interviews, and competitions to go to, Kimberlin says that anyone that wants to attend will need to “bring a bottle of water, a good pair of shoes, and a positive attitude.”