Augustana to expand theater department

First-year+Keenan+Odenkirk+rehearses+for+the+upcoming+performance+of+Shakespeare%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%98As+You+Like+It%E2%80%99+in+Potter+Hall.+The+play+is+directed+by+Jennifer+Popple%2C+and+performances+begin+on+May+1.%0APhoto+by+Madison+Rodgers.

First-year Keenan Odenkirk rehearses for the upcoming performance of Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ in Potter Hall. The play is directed by Jennifer Popple, and performances begin on May 1. Photo by Madison Rodgers.

First-year Keenan Odenkirk rehearses for the upcoming performance of Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ in Potter Hall. The play is directed by Jennifer Popple, and performances begin on May 1. Photo by Madison Rodgers.
First-year Keenan Odenkirk rehearses for the upcoming performance of Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ in Potter Hall. The play is directed by Jennifer Popple, and performances begin on May 1.
Photo by Madison Rodgers.

Theater programs are being cut all over the country, but Augustana College is expanding its availability of the arts.
Augustana College announced they are currently in the process of expanding their Theatre Department. This expansion will be apart of “Augustana 2020: A Strategic Plan.”
A goal of this plan is to create a deeper connection between what students learn inside and outside the classroom. Theater allows students to learn versatility, creative thinking and the ability to consider issues using multiple viewpoints.
This plan would provide many additions to the theater department, including a new major and minor, three performing arenas for students and a new staff member.
The expansion would allow for a musical theater program at Augustana College.
This expansion would lead to a variety of performances for the Augustana community, and would also lead to more involvement from the surrounding community.
The addition of a concentration in musical theater would present the need for a larger theater space that would be more suitable for the musical portion of the show. This is why a larger theater space would be necessary.
The need for a larger and more equipped theater space would lead to the renovation of the College Center.
The space would be turned into a fixed thrust stage that would seat 260 to 280 people. This would lead to larger audiences, and a larger theater program in general.
Sophomore theatre arts major Megan Hammerer is very excited for the transformation of the program.
“Everyone’s really excited about hiring a new theater professor and expanding our department into more broad concepts of theater. So now we are going to add a musical theater teacher. A lot of people are excited about that, both theater and music majors,” Hammerer said.
This expansion would affect many different students in their pursuit to a theater career.
“The theater expansion project is fantastic,” said Jacob Kilburg, sophomore theatre major. “It will be a great opportunity for the students of Augustana to grow in our theatrical abilities. It will give us the chance to perform more shows in new and interesting ways that the Augustana community would really enjoy.”
Kilburg believes that the expansion of the Theatre Department will also affect the community surrounding Augustana.
“It will not only benefit the theater majors and minors, but it will also benefit the audiences that come to see our performances. It also shows how important the arts are to a well-rounded education, and will give us the opportunity to bring in local schools to learn about theatre by seeing it,” Killburg said. “It will be a great addition to the Augustana campus, and it will hopefully bring in new talented students to help push the theater program to the next level.”