Expanding student theater

Maddie Hendricks has a goal for campus theater.

Inspired by the theater department’s New Plays Festival, a yearly showcase of one-act plays written by theater students and recent alumni, Hendricks is canvassing campus, asking students to write plays in any form and on any subject.

“What if there is a student reading series that is entirely run by students, anyone in the University can submit a play, they don’t need to have taken an acting class?” Hendricks said.

While many students are either involved in student theater or involved with the theater department, Hendricks said, the two groups have limited overlap.

“A lot of people are very isolated in their choice, they either only do student theater or they only do department,” Hendricks said, “There is a huge and extremely talented student theater population who writes and has never gone to the department.”

Hendricks has received 13 plays, ranging in length from seven to 45 pages. To keep up with the submissions, the sophomore recruited junior Ariel Warmflash and freshman Elizabeth Taufield to help her review the submissions.

“The student response has been amazing,” said Hendricks. “I get e-mails every day saying this is such a great idea.”

Taufield and Warmflash hope students will use their project to submit any dramatic literature, especially works she describes as “something out of the box, something different.”

“I think that there is a lot of untapped potential in both of those worlds, and I think, if combined, they could produce really unbelievable theater,” Warmflash said.

Hendricks plans to select five plays to be performed and directed by students at the end of April as part of her theatrical event.

Hendricks would like to grow the production in the future and annually showcase new plays.

“My hope for this is that it could happen every three months, so it could be a constant thing with feedback, kind of like a book group,” said Hendricks.

Hendricks, Warmflash and Taufield all hope to inspire students, both in and outside of the theater community, to write new plays.

“I foresee the GW talent pool growing immensely over the next few years and I hope people take the opportunity to show off what they’ve got,” said Warmflash.

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