Students to perform, direct at White Box Theatre Festival

By: Madeline Doman – Staff Writer

For more than 10 years, ArtStreet has provided the University of Dayton with creative events and experiences. Next Tuesday through Thursday, Nov. 4-6, ArtStreet along with the University of Dayton Studio Theatre will host the inaugural White Box Theatre Festival.

“It is going to be a huge event including plays written, directed and performed by students, faculty and alumni,” Director of ArtStreet Brian LaDuca said.

“You’ll find shows that tackle difficult subjects like prejudice, battles with faith, and even murder,” Jenna Gomes, student and member of the UD theater program said. Over the course of three days, 12 short plays will be presented in a unique repertory design within the ArtStreet White Box Gallery installation. These plays will inspire and promote a special type of theatrical performance through the process of composing, revising and developing original short scripts influenced by ArtStreet’s exhibition season.

“Directing and producing theater is a lifestyle. It is a psychological process that humans have,” LaDuca said. “Most people think theater is just watching people. Theatre is an act of performance, an exposure to empathy, and an unforgettable experience.”

“Our hope for this event is to help bridge the current gap that lies between different parts of the community like the library, the theater program and ArtStreet,” Gomes said.

White Box Theatre Festival encourages theatrical expression by producing original short plays within ArtStreet’s White Box Gallery space. This festival allows young artists to fully develop their ideas through the process of production and through the mentorship of a professional artist in residence.

“Common themes in life still exist in books and these plays inspire those familiar stories,” LaDuca said. Famous historical books influenced and structured each play that will be performed throughout the event.

“It is a very unique theater event that will be a different kind of experience for an audience,” Gomes said.

The theme and content of the plays had to be inspired by the Rose Rare Book collection displayed in the library. In effort to participate in the preview, many students submitted their scripts with the hope of seeing their play come to life. This special collection features rare first editions, manuscripts, galley proofs, papyri and illustrations covering the a variety of concepts ranging from philosophy to physics.

“Words on a page are meaningful, but there is something about watching those words come to life and impact people in some way that inspires me,” Gomes said.

This event will be open to anyone, and all who attend will be able to experience the 21st century ‘site specific’ theater, according to LaDuca. He said this is a type of theatre where the there is no prominent stage but instead the audience moves with the action of the play.

Auditions for the inaugural White Box Theatre Festival were held at the beginning of the semester. Nearly 50 roles were available for men and women in 13 world premiere short plays.

The inaugural White Box Theatre Festival will take place next Tuesday through Thursday, November 4-6 at ArtStreet. For more information, email or contact ArtStreet at 937-229-5101.

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