Seven Erskine students took their talents onstage at the South Carolina Speech and Theater Association (SCSTA) College Festival Competition held early this year at Newberry College.
Guest director Anna De Vault led the students, with T.J. Ellis serving as music coach.
Members of the Erskine troupe and the categories in which they performed included senior T.J. Fisher of Starr (Solo Musical Theater, Duet Acting); senior Xander Goebel of Greenville (Contrasting Monologues); sophomore Andrew Hemphill of Germany (Storytelling, Impromptu Speaking, Duet Acting); junior Marti Hemphill of Moreland, Ga. (Duet Acting); senior Rebecca Pearson of Laurens (Storytelling, Poetry Interpretation, Duet Acting); senior Amanda Richmond of Clover (Contrasting Monologues); and junior William Unthank of West Columbia (Musical Theater).
“Erskine theater and music students did a wonderful job at the SCSTA festival,” De Vault said, adding that there were “lots of great comments from the judges for all our participants.”
Three of the seven students received special recognition at the event.
T.J. Fisher and Rebecca Pearson were awarded second place in Duet Acting for a scene from “The Zoo Story” by Edward Albee.
Rebecca Pearson won first place in the Storytelling category for “The Effectual, Fervent Prayer of Jedidiah Combs.”
Pearson also received a second place award in Poetry Interpretation for “Paranoia: A Chant” by Stephen King.
Will Unthank took second place in Solo Musical Theater for “Part of Your Painting.”
Pearson praised De Vault’s work with Erskine students.
“Working with Mrs. Anna De Vault is always awesome,” she said. “One of the things I’m most thankful for in my college experience is that the Erskine theater department has had the opportunity to work with her time and again.”
Reflecting on her own experience of the SCSTA competition as an Erskine student, Pearson noted that the theater department at Erskine is “miniscule compared to others in the state,” but “we always do very well because we are committed and have such a strong passion for what we do.”
Pearson is proud of the progress Erskine students have made. “In just two years we’ve gone from never attending a competition to being a real contender among South Carolina schools,” she said.