The Gainesville Theatre Alliance — a collaboration between Brenau and the University of North Georgia — topped OnStage’s list of the most underrated college theater programs in the southeastern United States.
“The OnStage designation was totally unexpected and obviously unsolicited from the theater program,” said Department of Theatre Chair Ann Demling, “so we were surprised and delighted to see our Facebook pages blowing up with references and comments from present and former students and other folks about this when it first came online.”
The Connecticut-based website placed Brenau above theater programs at the University of Alabama, Auburn University and the University of Miami earlier this summer. OnStage praised the GTA, describing it as an “extraordinary alliance” pooling top-notch faculty, talent and state-of-the-art performance spaces together.
“GTA is a professional theater attached to a college theater program,” OnStage writer Christopher Peterson said. “This is a model found, almost exclusively, in highly competitive conservatory programs.”
OnStage also praised Brenau’s theater coursework, which has garnered an award of excellence from the American Council on Education, as well as its production program, a Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival national finalist.
The GTA WonderQuest program, which is the only professionally-produced children’s theater in north Georgia, also received plenty of praise. In addition to being wowed by the program’s vibrant and energetic productions, Peterson was also impressed by the high quality educational materials tied to the performances, which are given out two-to-three weeks before each show.
“WonderQuest is one of the most valuable and unique attributes of the program, as it gives young audiences often their first exposure to live theater,” Demling said. “We have over 7,000 students a year attend the WonderQuest shows, and we often hear that this experience has whetted their interest in attending more plays and arts events.”
The recent accolade, she continued, is sure to draw even more attention to the Gainesville Alliance Theatre.
“These sources are important references for students seeking college theater programs,” she said, “so we are anticipating a surge of interested students as a result.”
The full OnStage article is online at http://www.onstageblog.com/columns/2015/6/21/the-10-most-underrated-theater-colleges-southeast.