New Works festival creates “safe space” for theater students


Courtesy of Loyola Theater Arts and Dance Department

Arianna D'Antonio, Senior Staff Writer

This week marks the first anniversary of the Theatre and Dance Department’s New Works Festival, and new student pieces will be featured as the festival lives on.

Theater major Steven Pendleton and theater department alumnus Bridget Boyle founded the New Works Festival last year with help from the department’s artistic director and professor Sal Mannino.

Pendleton said they both had dreams of bringing the theater department together to give life to student-written, student-created, student-produced, and student-loved work. He added that the passion carried on by other students has helped the department bring the festival back again this year.

The festival began on May 1 and will end on May 6, featuring student play readings and performances in Monroe Hall and finishing with a prom celebration in the Lower Depths theater.

Musical theater sophomore Elise Bourg will be presenting their original poems during the festival.
“It is so incredible to see my peers present work that they have poured their hearts into,” they said. “It’s just amazing to see the art people create in their free time, despite the craziness of school and life.”

From their poems, Bourg said they hope that people can find some sort of solace or relatability.

“Poetry is a wonderful emotional release for me, and I hope anyone who hears it can experience the same,” Bourg said.
Bourg said they hope that the festival will become a staple of the department, and students gain confidence and inspiration to present creations of their own.

Musical theater first-year Christiana Teddi created the only dance piece featured in this year’s festival, and said she hopes her piece promotes a community experience with the audience.

“Between believers and non-believers, everyone deserves a community of people who support them and are on this journey with him,” she said. “I hope people leave my show knowing a piece of who my God is, and the community that surrounds him, and that people feel the love and peace surrounding my piece.”

Teddi said she sees the festival as a safe space for people to find their artistic voices and create, just as she has.

Pendleton said they hope that the festival would give joy and pride to everyone in the department as well as at Loyola for years to come.

“Ideally, this festival becomes a legacy of freedom, community, joy, and creation, and its lifespan far surpasses mine,” they said.