Illustration by Malaya Tindongan | For The Post

Allied in the Arts

May 27, 2021

Here are performing arts opportunities for spotlight seekers and audience members

By Taylor Burnette | Projects Editor

D espite its seemingly secluded location, Ohio University serves as a hub for the arts in Southeastern Ohio. Whether they are an enthusiastic audience member or an avid performer, people can find opportunities for either choice in Athens.

Although in-person performances have come to a halt to an extent because of COVID-19, many organizations at OU and in the surrounding area have found ways to adapt their performances to the current circumstances. For example, Lost Flamingo Theatre Company, OU’s only student-run theatre company, took its entire season online – presenting its shows over YouTube.

However, with the end of the pandemic in sight thanks to vaccination efforts, the arts are entering a phase of renewal – but support from students is even more essential for their success than usual.

Joshua Coy, interim producing director for Tantrum Theater Company, said although Tantrum and other artists have produced amazing content online during the pandemic, the time is coming soon for people to come back to live performances.

“I think everybody's going to be craving these cultural experiences,” Coy said. “If you've been vaccinated, don't be afraid to come back to the theater. We're all gonna be vaccinated, too.”

Here are some of OU’s options to watch the performing arts, or, for those who prefer to be in the spotlight, ways to get involved:

The Performing Arts and Concert Series

From Broadway to country music, Andrew Holzaepfel, director of the Performing Arts and Concert Series, said in an email that the series has brought a wide array of concerts, performances, lectures and more to OU’s campus.

“Our goal has been to bring the finest performers and thinkers to rural Appalachian Ohio,” Holzaepfel said in an email.

Performances from the likes of Miranda Lambert, Wilco, Aziz Ansari and the Broadway tour of RENT, which has notably been brought in by the series four different times, have stuck in Holzaepfel’s mind as personal favorites over the years.

The series gives students opportunities to interact with world class artists at a fraction of the price, he said, and are the same tours hitting the major cities in Ohio.

To stay up to date with The Performing Arts and Concert Series’ offerings, visit its webpage on OU’s website.

College of Fine Arts

OU hosts many talented performers in the College of Fine Arts, including both students and guests, who visit the university either as faculty or short-term lecturers.

Each semester there is an array of performances put on by students, from instrumental ensembles and operas to student-choreographed dance performances. The university offers majors in a broad spectrum of the arts, including instrumental performance in brass, woodwinds, strings, percussion, voice, keyboard, acting, musical theatre and dance. From contemporary to classical, the College of Fine Arts is overflowing with opportunities.

In addition to student performances, the university serves as a place for professionals to teach and work alongside students. When the pandemic precautions are not in effect, the college hosts a slew of guests in person. But with precautions in place, the college has hosted its guests in an online format.

An example of professional artists working with OU students can be seen in Tantrum Theater Company.

“We bring professionals from out in the world of professional theatre back here,” Coy said. “We've only ever done one show in Athens at this point.”

The rest of the company’s shows have been in a virtual format, Coy said, but the group has many performances and developments coming up that will be announced at a later date.

“For five bucks you can go see real professional actors,” Coy said about the company’s accessibility to students. “And in some cases, folks who are sub-celebrity famous.”

To keep up with all the performances the College of Fine Arts has to offer, students can visit the college’s calendar.

Student Organizations

In addition to the more formal activities, many organizations on OU’s campus create amazing work that is accessible for students to see and accessible for students to participate in.

From a capella groups, a student-run theatre company and dance groups to improv artists, music clubs, poetry groups and more, OU offers a group for every taste and interest in the performing arts.

Bobcat Connect, Ohio University’s online home for student organizations, lists 48 groups under its “arts” category, and there are many involving or focused on the performing arts.

Some groups have audition requirements, while others will take anyone with interest and at any skill level.

OU Vibrations, a dance group that hosts weekly classes and has yearly performances, invites anyone of any skill level to participate in its programming.

“It's just a really nice way to connect with a diverse group of people on campus, not just your roommate, or your classmates in class,” Alli Hale, a senior studying nursing and president of OU Vibrations, said. “It's a way to take a little bit of stress away from school.”

Hale thinks students supporting student organizations helps with the morale and connection on the campus.

To get involved with or support the performing arts organizations at OU, check out the different social media accounts or their individual Bobcat Connect pages.

AUTHOR: Taylor Burnette
EDITOR: Riley Runnells
COPY EDITOR: Ashley Beach
ILLUSTRATION: Malaya Tindongan