By Danielle Barnes | Echo
Rather than enjoying a relaxing summer break, members of Taylor's theatre department were hard at work and on the move. This past summer, nine student actors packed their bags and traveled across the globe to the charming land of Scotland to present a type of applied theatre called Playback.
The Theatre Touring Troupe, led by Managing and Artistic Director of Taylor Theatre Tracy Manning, is a group of Taylor student actors who specialize in improvisation. These students request personal stories from the audience and re-enact them in skits with genres ranging from comedy to tragedy.
"Either way, we're trying to preserve the integrity of the story," said senior Zach Cook, troupe member.
The Theatre Touring Troupe was invited to Edinburgh by Fergus McDonald. McDonald has connections with President Habecker and was interested in engaging Scripture into improvisational theatre.
McDonald asked the troupe to attract an audience to his church and perform for them. The troupe was also involved in Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a collection of live theatrical performers and artists from around the world, and served as what Cook described as "one Christian show in a sea of artistic and secular performances."
"We went on each other's shoulders to hand out flyers and put on a few street performances," said junior Grace Bolinger.
Senior Nate Aeilts had an odd run-in with a French girl while handing out flyers.
"She simply could not believe that we were handing out flyers for a Christian or religious event," he said. "She mentioned that that's something you would never dream of seeing in France."
According to Aeilts, this type of interaction made the long hours of advertising worthwhile.
When the group wasn't performing, they were touring Scotland. Cook and Bolinger especially enjoyed climbing Arthur's Seat, a large mountain adjacent to the city. The group decided to make the ascent the day they arrived in Scotland. Despite their jet lag, they were determined to make it to the top.
Having returned to Taylor, the Playback troupe is already gearing up for future performances for student audiences. Their first scheduled event, called "Out of Darkness" will be on Oct. 9 and 10.