Marshall University's Educational Touring Theatre Company, THEATRE ETC!, Receives Anonymous Donation of $20,000

Marshall University's Educational Touring Theatre Company, THEATRE ETC!, Receives Anonymous Donation of $20,000

The Marshall University Theatre company, known as Theatre ETC! (Education Touring Company) has been given an anonymous grant in the amount of $20,000. This incredibly generous grant will help ensure that Theatre ETC! will be able to continue to bring its unique brand of educational and thought-provoking show adaptations to schools around the state while also continuing to supply educators with informative study materials.

The Marshall University Theatre company's founder and director, John Colclough, has reported that the grant will do much to improve the level of production and affordability of the company's performances. Colclough is also a professor of Marshall University Theatre.

Theatre ETC! is unique among West Virginia theatre companies as it functions as an educational touring company comprised of Marshall University Theatre Students. Creating shows with little to no need for assistance, Theatre ETC! takes their shows on the road to schools in West Virginia and Ohio, often at only a $5.00 cost per student. Shows can be quickly set up and performed, with no need for large sets or laborious technical support. The focus is on the story and its themes, and Theatre ETC! provides schools with free educational material and study guides in hopes of enticing educators to discuss with their students the importance of the show, both before and after watching Theatre ETC!'s performance. The group also hosts post-performance discussions and offers workshops covering subjects such as improvisation, theatre games, movement, voice, playwriting and acting. Theatre ETC! is available for both middle schools and high schools and can perform to audiences ranging from as little as 40 to as much as school's auditorium can hold.

Shows performed by Theatre ETC! are chosen by the Theatre students, who are included in every step of the production process. Under the tutelage of faculty or staff, students design and build sets, create props and design costumes as well as rehearse and perform the show. Theatre ETC! students also participate in the creation of production specific lesson plans and study guide materials to provide to schools. The group focuses on adapting literary classics such as The Giver, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Fahrenheit 451, A Christmas Carol, and Antigone to support public and private school curriculums. Currently, Theatre ETC! is producing 1984, an adaptation of George Orwell's haunting literary masterpiece.

Despite only being around for three years, Theatre ETC! has already performed for over 3,000 students throughout Southern WV and Eastern OH. The brainchild of Professor Colclough and former Marshall University Professor Nicole Perrone, Theatre ETC!'s goal has always been to find innovative and sometimes entrepreneurial ways of approaching outreach. Not only does the program provide an enormous educational impact for students, but also serves as a highly successful recruitment tactic, bringing new students both to Marshall University and its Theatre program.

Marshall University's Educational Touring Theatre Company, THEATRE ETC!, Receives Anonymous Donation of $20,000
John Colclough

Colclough states that, "Marshall University Theatre is committed to offering enriching theatre arts education to both primary and secondary school students while at the same time, preparing Marshall University Theatre students for a career in professional theatre as well."

For more information on Theatre ETC! You can visit Marshall University's School of Theatre Home Page.

Richard Allen is a Broadway World contributing Editor for WV and writes about local theatre. You can contact Richard at richardallenwrites@gmail.com.

Photos provided by the Marshall Artist Series Marketing Director.

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