Partnership with local theatre company gives students a taste of reality

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    The collaboration between the professional Circle Theatre in downtown Fort Worth and Theatre TCU allows theater students to bridge the gap between the academic and the professional world, a university official said.

    Harry Parker, chair of the theater department and member of the board of the Circle Theatre in Sundance Square, said the two theaters will combine their talent to perform the play “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” which he will direct.

    Brooke LeBleu, a sophomore theater major and Circle Theatre intern, said Circle Theatre and Theatre TCU have collaborated for many years now and have a great working relationship.

    Starting last semester, Circle Theatre began offering new opportunities to students, including several available internships every semester. Students can now also work at the theater for work-study financial aid, LeBleu said.

    Rachel Collins, the box office manager at Circle Theatre, works closely with the student interns. She said the tasks of the interns vary depending on the intern’s specific interests. They have a lot of freedom to choose their own area of focus, Collins said.

    “Picasso at the Lapin Agile”
    Who: Circle Theatre and Theatre TCU
    When: Sept. 24 – Oct. 24
    Where: Circle Theatre, 230 W. Fourth St.

    “The interns get to see the day-to-day workings of a professional theater, how things come up through the pipe and what it really takes to produce a show,” Collins said.

    “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” will be performed at the Circle Theatre and will run for a month, Parker said. The show has not been cast yet, but the university’s involvement will include a faculty director, two faculty designers, a faculty actor, and at least 4-5 roles reserved for current students, who will be acting alongside local actors, Parker said. The play is a comedy written by actor Steve Martin and features the characters of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, who meet at a Paris cafe shortly before becoming famous.

    “The collaboration also benefits TCU by showcasing the strong work of our students and faculty to a professional theater audience, which may be unaware of the high quality of theater work occurring at TCU,” Parker said.

    LeBleu said theater majors are required to audition for Theatre TCU shows, so it is generally hard for them to do outside work as well. Through the internships and co-productions that Circle Theatre and Theatre TCU collaborate in, students have the opportunity to experience professional theater while still fulfilling the requirements of their major, LeBleu said.

    Collins said theater students are fortunate to attend school in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where there are professional theaters from which they can receive experience. While this is a great opportunity for students, she thinks professional actors enjoy working with the undergraduate students as well.

    “It keeps everyone youthful,” she said.