Ariella Axelbank/Staff Photographer

It’s the beginning of October and you find yourself stealing study moments sunbathing on Foss, gazing up at autumn leaves. For those of us who like to spend our evenings holed away in the ’92 Theater, this point in the year means that it’s time to learn new theater skills. This coming weekend (Oct. 3-5), Second Stage, Wesleyan’s young, friendly, and attractive bunch of drama enthusiasts is using its theater to host a series of workshops.

These workshops are intended for the seasoned electrician who gets paid to work in the real world, the lost freshman who’s been looking for a way into the Wesleyan theater community, and everyone in between. The idea is not to separate the merely curious from the serious, but rather to provide everyone with the same chance to learn.

As one of the aforementioned young (friendly, attractive, and so on) thespians, I value this event. Here is why: above all else, Second Stage is a learning organization that exists to bring theater to the wider University community. Second Stage is here for the sake of the chemistry major with a casual interest in sound design just as much as for the theater student who’s already got acting work lined up for after graduation. I want everyone to have an equal opportunity to learn about the different aspects of theater, no matter hir previous experience or future goals.

When I came to Wesleyan, I already knew I loved being in rehearsal more than anything else I could imagine, even though my experience of acting was limited to awkward high school Shakespeare (not to mention classy middle school musicals like “Kokonut Island” and “Going…Going…Gone With The Breeze”).

But I knew less about every other aspect of theater than I did about multivariable calculus or spelunking. I joined Second Stage staff as one of only two actors because I didn’t know what I ultimately wanted to know. I had no choice but to start learning. And, in my opinion, that’s what Second Stage is here for—teaching students with an interest in theater how to do the things they didn’t even know they didn’t know how to do.

So regardless of what you know (or what you don’t know you don’t know), I hope you come by and learn something new (or something familiar and dear) if you’ve got the time. Check out the schedule below.


Thursday, 10/03, 4:30-6:00

Impulse in Physical Acting with Grace Herman-Holland ’15


In this introduction to physical acting, we’ll explore stream-of-consciousness movement, imagery, gesture, and relationships. No prior acting or dance experience necessary. Wear something you can move in!


Thursday, 10/03, 7:30-8:15

Being a Playwright at Wesleyan and Beyond with Dylan Zwickel ’14


If you want to learn to write plays, take a playwriting class. If you want to learn how to get them from the page to the stage, come to this workshop!


Friday, 10/04, 3:00-4:30

Stage Management with Emmie Finckel ’14


In this session, we will be discussing the role and responsibilities of a stage manager, as well as sharing strategies for facilitating communication and organization within a production.


Saturday, 10/05, 12:00-1:30

Lighting with Ariella Axelbank ’14


Come learn the basics of theater electrics! Whether you are completely new to the wonderful world of theatrical lighting, or you would simply like a refresher on how to be a better electrician, this workshop will teach participants how to find, hang, focus, and strike lights in the ’92. Please wear closed-toed shoes and bring a wrench on the off-chance that you have one.


Saturday, 10/05, 2:00-3:30

Carpentry with Brendan Coakley ’15 and Anders Dohlman ’15


Get shop trained and learn the basics of stock set construction. Please wear closed-toed shows and clothes that are not overly baggy.


Saturday, 10/05, 4:00-5:00

Second Stage Information Sessions/Tours of the ’92 Theater


Come hang out with Second Stage staff!  We’ll chat with you about theater at Wesleyan and offer tours of our beautiful building.

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