Southern Rep Theatre selects Loyola thespians

Kaitlyn Cleveland

Southern Rep Theatre accepted five Loyola University theater arts majors into their acting company.

Amanda Alch, Kyler Jett, Saisha Lee, Tess Rowland and Zachary Weber found out Monday, Feb. 13 that they made the cut.

“I think this could be great learning opportunities and great networking opportunities for my future as a performance artist,” Zachary Weber said.

The Loyola junior said he would form connections through working with Southern Rep. Weber said that he is excited to work with theater professionals outside of the theater department at college.

Southern Rep is a local professional theater that represents New Orleans, Weber said. The company focuses on reaching out to the community by relating to the diversity in New Orleans.

Freshman Tess Rowland is one of the youngest members to be accepted. She said she was prepared entering the audition process, and she is ready to grow as an artist.

“It is a theater dedicated to perfecting the world, one that uses the stage as their voice to communicate issues within the community,” Rowland said.

The five students will become actor apprentices and will attend workshops. Rowland said that people working with Southern Rep are first priority for performances but may not be chosen. Anyone in the community can audition for the plays.

Weber said that Southern Rep reached out to Loyola, wanting to work with Loyola theater students. The candidates had to fulfill certain requirements.

Rowland said that theater department head Laura Hope encouraged the students to audition for this opportunity to work with Southern Rep. Rowland said that she has seen several of Southern Rep’s shows.

“I really liked what I saw that they did as a company,” Rowland said.

Rowland and Weber auditioned on Friday, Feb. 10. Weber said the audition process began by preparing a resume with a headshot, and then candidates performed a one-minute monologue. Rowland said that the audition ended with questions pertaining to the importance of theater and community work.

“There was a lot of talent shown. Our department is very talented,” Rowland said. “What it really came down to was my answers to the questions and how I really packaged myself. They were kind of taken aback that I was just 18 with the answers that I formulated.”

Weber imagines this position holds a lot of promise to himself and his peers, as student thespians.

“The main reason that I auditioned for the Southern Rep experience was first of all to get auditioning experience, which is important for any actor,” Weber said. “And then just for the possibility that I could work with local theater professionals.”

Rowland said that learning from hands-on experience would help her determine what she wants to do in her theater career.

“I know that I really want to communicate through my art my message of activism and different perspectives, but I don’t know how I am going to fit within the industry yet,” Rowland said. “I think that they will kind of ground me as an artist and help me package myself in a way that I know exactly what I want to do within the industry.”

Entering as a freshman, Rowland said that she is excited to meet people who have been in the industry for a long time and to have them mentor her.

Weber said that his future in theater would either be acting or design. He said that Southern Rep would help him grow as an actor, as well as in the design aspect of theater.

“I know this is going to benefit me,” Weber said.