When Peter Martino was given the opportunity to lead the theater department at Solebury, he felt as if the current program—along with the theater world in general—was at a crossroads. He wanted to move the program into the modern theater landscape. “Being a firm believer that students are more likely to succeed when they are more invested in the material they are working with, I wanted to grant our students a bit more autonomy and ownership of the program,” Peter explains. “ I also wanted to focus on the fact that theater is more than just one person. It's more than the director, playwright, or star of the show. It's everyone's collective involvement that leads to the success of the project. I didn’t want this to be my program I want this to be our program.”
With that in mind, The Solebury Theater Collective was created to cultivate inspiration and collaboration in the theater arts for artists, performers, and technicians. Through the transformative potential of the theatrical experience, STC creates an atmosphere of equity and inclusivity for the Solebury community in the theatrical experience, including our audiences and those who have yet to find a home in the performing arts.
Peter's hope for this program is that it will be in a constant state of growth and change, just as the world is. Things that seem very important one moment can no longer resonate in the next. “The goal is to have our finger on the pulse of what is new and upcoming in the world of not only just educational theater but theater as a whole. Theater that resonates the most with people is theater that is relevant, or at least we can make relevant to contemporary issues and themes. While this can manifest into what our spring production of The Terrible Infants will be— something more avante-garde and experimental—it can also look like Harvey, where we can take a classic piece of theater and approach it with a contemporary lens.”
The goal of The Solebury Theater Collective is to allow students of all experience levels and disciplines to be able to take part in the theater process. From Coffee House, Haunted Woods, classes for all skill levels, touring children's theater productions (they are hoping to start next year), student showcases, and full-scale productions, Peter and Titus (O’Neil, Solebury’s Tech Director) want to give students an outlet to perform and find a love for the performing arts. “It's been incredible to see students gravitate towards the program who have been at Solebury for years and are now deciding they want to give it a shot and then having a blast. Seeing the students laughing, smiling, and feeling like the stars they are have truly made this year a complete success already.”
On Thursday, February 17, The Solebury Theater Collective debuted their winter musical, Chicago: High School Edition, and sold out its Friday and Sunday performances! From the stunning costumes and lighting design to the captivating performances, the cast and crew poured their hearts and souls into bringing this hugely entertaining, dazzling story to life. Titus shared, “The students are constantly surprising me with how quickly they absorb the knowledge and concepts of the theater. They are all so eager to learn and be a part of our productions, and it really shows in the level of work they put into it. Students in our Lighting Design class each designed one of the songs in Chicago, and their work was truly impressive. They worked tirelessly to make their piece the best that they could, and the end result was on par with many professionals in the industry.”
Congratulations to our cast and crew on a brilliant job!
Enjoy photos below by photography teacher Kelli Abdoney and save the date for the spring production of The Terrible Infants, opening Thursday, May 5.