Bryant Players build theatre from ground up
For the Bryant Players, the University’s student theatrical group, success goes beyond a great performance. Every production tests their creativity, their dedication, and the skills they’ve gained through their Bryant educations.
“It’s been an amazing complement to what we’ve learned in class,” says Monica Cable ’18, president of the Players and assistant director of the group’s spring production of Footloose. “From budgeting to management to doing the technical work to writing contracts for the band, there’s so much to do and there’s something for everyone to put their skills to use.”
“The University is fully embracing its creative energy and saying 'We are a creative school.'"
The club stages three shows a year, including an ambitious spring musical. “It was about as much work as I put into my sport, we met every single night,” says Liz Wilmonton ’18, an applied economics major and cross country and track athlete who played the lead role of Ariel in Footloose. “It was actually very similar to a sport for me, to be good at it you have to do the hard work – but you find yourself wanting to do it.”
“It can be hard sometimes, but our club does a really great job of making the hard stuff fun, because there’s enjoyment to be drawn from overcoming challenges” says Liam Rice ’17, director of Footloose and a former president of the club. “And because you’re doing something that’s innately fun, a lot of the time you don’t even realize how hard you’re working.”
Building a community
When Rice first joined the Players there were only five active members; now the troupe has expanded to more than 40. It attracts students from throughout the University, many of whom are involved with a show for the first time through the student group.
Footloose saw the Bryant community come together to pool their skills in service of art. Management lecturer Chris Ratcliffe worked with Cable on developing her management styles and techniques. Associate Professor of English Amber Day, the Players’ advisor, ran theatre workshops. English and Cultural Studies lecturer Joan Zaretti offered feedback during rehearsals.
“I love working with the Bryant Players,” says Day. “Their productions from the ground up, putting together engaging performances across a variety of genres. As a group, members have to manage everything from budgeting, to set construction, to lighting design, to stage direction, building a great deal of skill as collaborators and as visionary thinkers.”
“I think over my four years here, in both the Players and at Bryant in general, I’ve felt such a fundamental shift in creativity,” says Rice. “The University is fully embracing its creative energy and saying 'We are a creative school.” '
“Being part of the Players is one of the most rewarding processes I’ve been involved with, starting with literally nothing and then creating a whole world within a show,” says Jillian Buckley ’19, who has appeared in several productions for the Players and directed their winter play, The Gate. “Whether you’re working behind the scenes or on the stage, just having the feeling you were part of such a huge thing is really something you can’t create anywhere else.”