SCTA returns after 21 years

Charday Sparks, Staff Writer

After 21 years, the South Carolina Theatre Association will return to FMU on Nov. 15-18.

Keith Best, chair of the fine arts department, said the conference will allow FMU to host high school students who are interested in pursuing theater.

“Francis Marion will have hundreds of high school theater students on campus from the 15 through the 18,” Best said. “So, get ready.”

Over the years, the South Carolina Theatre Association has served as a place for high school, community and professional theater to come together. During the convention, there will be a high school theater competition held on campus in the Fine Arts Theatre and a community theater competition held in downtown Florence at the Performing Arts Center.

There will be several events, such as multiple workshops around campus, keynote speakers and a signature scholarship opportunity for graduating high school students.

Junior Aaliyah Broadus, a theater and biology double major, said she appreciates how the conference has helped her get involved.

“I wish I had known more about it when I was in high school but I am grateful to be a part of the experience now as a volunteer and college auditionee,” Broadus said.

However, high school students are not the only ones who benefit from this event; college students from all over South Carolina will be here for professional screening auditions. Among the entire roster of theater majors and minors, Broadus is the only student from FMU who will be participating in the process this year.

Broadus said if they score in a certain percentile, they move forward to audition for professional companies at the regional Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC).

“This will be my third year auditioning,” Broadus said. “It’s such a great opportunity and I figured why not take advantage of it, especially since this year it is held here on our campus.”

This event will also serve as a platform for the advocation of the FMU fine arts program. In the fall semester of 2020, the music and theater programs will merge.

“This merge will create new classes and more opportunity for our students in the program,” Best said.