Alumni Theater Company gears up for fifth season

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Alumni Theater Company has been helping young artists find their voice through performance since 2008.

“ATC members understand the value of their perspective and importance of their contribution to our community,” said Hallie Donner, theater founder and artistic director. “I hope that they continue to attack life with purpose and use their understanding of how to achieve success to their advantage in everything they do.”

The theater’s unwavering support has helped Cherish Morgan get one step closer to her dream of becoming an actress.

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CAST FROM ‘RENT’

“I have learned to take as many risks as possible in theater thanks to the Alumni Theater and Mrs. Donner,” said Morgan, a 16-year-old Homewood resident who is now in her junior year as a musical theater major at CAPA. She has been a member of the Alumni Theater Company since its creation.

“I have become a better singer with the help of our vocal director, Bridgette Perdue and we are learning how to read music. ATC has helped me prepare for my passion of theater by giving me time to be creative and also train in my weaknesses so they can become my strengths,” Morgan added.

Garfield resident and fellow Alumni Theater Company member, Brandon Briscoe agreed with Morgan.

“I have learned a lot by being a member of ATC, but if I had to choose one thing, it would be to find your voice in the world whether it be acting, singing, dancing, writing or anything. We are all good at something. We all have a gift, we must pursue it,” said Briscoe, a 17-year old CAPA senior.

“My hopes for Alumni Theater as I go into my final year is to just continue creating works of art that creates a since of inspiration for anybody. I want an audience member to come to one of our shows and leave inspired to go out and pursue their passion, whatever that may be. Do what you love and love what you do,” Briscoe added.

Alumni Theater’s mission is to create work that represents the perspective of young artists growing up in an urban environment. It provides quality performance arts training for talented, committed youth in grades 6-12 in a highly creative, challenging and supportive setting.

Donner formed the company to create a production to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School, an elementary school located in East Liberty.

The company has since finished its fourth season and its 20th production, “Rent,” which was held in July at the New Hazlett Theater in North Side.

“Rent” was the company’s first production performed at the New Hazlett Theater. The group’s performances are held at various venues throughout the city of Pittsburgh usually at Lawrenceville, Grey Box Theatre or The Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty.

The Alumni Theater Company’s fifth season promises to be one filled with dramatic performances of originally created works and existing favorites.

“Our annual ‘I AM ARTIST’ performance series (is) running from October 19-November 3,” Donner said. “The series will be held at various locations throughout Pittsburgh. We are currently in the process of writing an original script to be presented at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater October 19-20 to open the performance series. Also included in the series will be an ATC artist showcase, cabaret performance, open master class for teens taught by ATC members and an Open Mic night for the peers of ATC.”

According to Donner, auditions for new members are held each April. During the auditions, instructors evaluate each perspective member in voice, dance and acting. Also, attention is paid to the interaction between the students and the ease with which they take criticism given by the instructors. New members are acclimated by the time the Alumni Theater Company is ready to create and perform new material in the fall.

“ATC strives to create work that captures the ideas, interests and struggles of urban teens. We work hard to always push each member to the top of their range of ability,” Donner said.

For more information on Alumni Theater, visit http://www.alumnitheatercompany.org.

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