The Keene State College Theater and Dance Department has connections in the theater world that go beyond the city of Keene.
The Peterborough Players is a professional theater company based in Peterborough, N.H. KSC alumni and currently-enrolled students have taken advantage of the opportunities the company provides.
Taylor Jorgensen, a senior and theater major at KSC and Dana Angellis, a technical design major, participated in the internship program at the Peterborough Players this summer.
Jorgensen was in performances of “The Voysey Inheritance,” “Little Women” and the “Emperor’s New Clothes.” He described “life as an intern” as starting the day at 9 a.m. and rehearsing for the particular play that he was working on until noon. At 1 p.m., following a lunch break, they went to the shop that he was assigned to. The shops to work in were electrics, props, set and costume shop.
Jorgensen said these are workshops where crews help to create everything that goes into the show, including the sets, props and more. Jorgensen said they would work in the shop for four hours and from there they would break for dinner. Soon after that he said he’d go to work crew for the play that was performing on the main stage, ending around 11 p.m. to midnight—“long days,” as Jorgensen said.
As the semester begins he said that he feels what he learned with the Peterborough Players will help him in classes at KSC. “So far, definitely, what I have learned there has been transferring,” Jorgensen said.
While he was there he was able to work with Gus Kaikkonen, an actor who was in the original Broadway production of “Equus.”
“It was awesome working with him,” Jorgensen said. Jorgensen was recently cast as Alan in the KSC Theater Department’s production of “Equus” this fall.
Interns were able to get experience with a professional theater company while also getting credit towards membership in the Actors’ Equity Association [AEA], an association for actors and stage managers.
The AEA states that they, “provide minimum salaries, benefits, job security and numerous other protections to ensure a safe and dignified work environment,” according to their website actorsequity.org.
The Peterborough Players has more connections with KSC including Betsy Rugg, a costume designer and KSC alumnus and Megan Murphy, the master electrician and a KSC Theater Department alumnus as well.
The Managing Director with the Peterborough Players, Keith Stevens, is also an adjunct professor at KSC.
Stevens said that the Peterborough Players have been closely connected with KSC for a few years now and he saw the value it has for students looking to pursue careers in theater and design.
Stevens said he believes that even though the world is constantly becoming more digital, there is always a place for theater.
“Today anybody can sit in the dark, alone in their room with their phone or their tablet or their computer and be connected to just about any entertainment they want 24/7. They could be connected through any social media they chose to use, with the entire world practically and yet they are by themselves,” Stevens said.
He continued, “Theater and the performing arts is an opportunity for all of us to come together and share an experience, to share stories that hopefully are going to say something about living and hopefully communicate something,” Stevens said.
He also said theater is unlike any other medium in that it involves people in a different way.
“Every performance is totally different because the audience is different every night and if there’s a feeling that you get when you’re sitting and participating in and watching a play, a concert, a modern dance, or an opera that you don’t get in front of your computer screen,” Stevens said.
The Peterborough Players are putting on two more productions this season, “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline” and “All in Good Fun.” The first is about a small-town girl who made it to Carnegie Hall and became a famous country singer.
“All in Good Fun” is a one-woman show about social experiences at a liberal arts college.
Talene Monahon, a Dartmouth graduate and professional actor developed the show “All in Good Fun.” She created the show from a series of interviews with 30 different students.
Hannah Sundell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org