Not only were the auditionees passionate about theatre, but the directors were, as well.
Blake Braswell, the artistic director for the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim, Pennsylvania, is an ECU alumnus. He graduated in 2002 with a BFA in theatre.
According to Braswell, his company actually dropped another audition to attend the IOD auditions at ECU.
“As soon as I saw the IOD and the auditions had been moved to ECU, I knew we had to go,” said Braswell. “Coming back home to Greenville was awesome.”
Braswell had a unique perspective about the whole auditioning process since he has been both an auditioner and auditionee at the IOD auditions.
Susan Phillips, interim director of the Institute of Outdoor Drama, organizes the paperwork of the 118 auditionees.
“Being on the other side of the table instead of auditioning for people, and actually having people audition for me is a very surreal experience,” he said. “Contrary to how the students may feel, we are really supportive and want them to do very well. They are always very nervous because they feel like the directors are judges waiting to judge you. But, in reality, we are rooting for them to do the best they can because we want to hire them.”
Faculty members who brought students were also present at the auditions. Some of the professors, like Freddy Clements from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama, have been bringing students for years.
“I have been bringing students to the IOD auditions for about 22 years,” he said. “Auditions like these are important because, as a teacher, I can instruct my students, but they are not going to know how to audition until they actually audition.”
The Institute of Outdoor Drama is a public service agency of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, housed at East Carolina University. It was established in 1963 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A hundred different theatres from 37 states are part of the institute.
The mission of the institute is to provide leadership for outdoor theatres, fostering artistic and managerial excellence. The institute offers research and advisory programs at any given time. Presently, the IOD is working with 10-15 groups across the Unites States that want to start their own outdoor dramas.
By Meagan Williford