Out of the Box, a theater troupe produced, directed and performed entirely by students, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary.
OOTB performs more than six shows each semester and puts on various events for students throughout the year.
An artistic decade
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary, Co-artistic Directors Amanda Miller, design and production junior, and Dawson MacLeod, acting junior, are planning an off-campus event for spring. It will feature actors from OCU and previous artistic directors of OOTB in a cabaret.
Miller said OOTB will cast performers for the cabaret during the spring semester’s round of auditions.
“So many people have been involved in Out of the Box, whether they were in a show, directed a show or saw a show that changed them as an actor. We want to celebrate the impact that we’ve had and make a commitment to students that we are going to keep doing that,” she said.
Evolving over time
OOTB started as an organization of people who wanted to create their own work, Miller said. It created opportunities for movement pieces, devised works and other artistic theater outlets. Throughout the years, OOTB began producing more contemporary works in new and interesting ways, which is what the organization focuses on today.
“We have evolved over time. Out of the Box is not a stagnant organization. Part of the philosophy is that we are always trying to explore new things to do,” MacLeod said.
OOTB is piloting a Playwright in Residence program, in which members choose one student playwright to create an original play. The development process begins at the start of each school year, leading to the play’s performance the following April. MacLeod said they have experimented with it for the past few years, but it is now an official part of the organization.
“Out of the Box gives so many people an opportunity to do what they love. We want to continue doing that,” Miller said.
OOTB puts on many events throughout the year besides their season, including “Miscast Cabaret” and a drag show.
Accessible for all
MacLeod said OOTB has never had major requirements for any aspect of involvement. Students from any discipline can audition for shows, submit to direct a show or be involved with the management of OOTB.
“One of the most important people on our committee is not a theater major. She is an entertainment business major, and she has whipped us into shape,” MacLeod said.
Shannon McKenrick, entertainment business senior, is the social media and publicity chairwoman for OOTB. She will help plan the anniversary event.
“It’s going to be awesome. I’m so stoked,” McKenrick said.
Miller agreed with MacLeod and said McKenrick is the best publicity person she’s ever seen.
MacLeod said one of the goals of OOTB is to be accessible to many different students on campus.
“Our outreach is a lot more than just the art people on campus. It is accessible for anyone, and I think that’s the thing I take most pride in,” MacLeod said.
Miller said OOTB works to keep the shows free.
“We love when someone brings their sorority sisters, or the soccer team comes. To be able to share theater with them is really awesome because it’s not something that everyone sees all the time,” Miller said.
Making it happen
MacLeod said OOTB helped him figure out what he wants to do in his career and in his future.
“My goal is to take good ideas that other people will have and make them happen because I have the facilities to make them happen,” MacLeod said.
All OOTB costumes and set pieces are provided by the casts and crews of the shows.
“I’ve seen gorgeous shows with lamps and Christmas lights that someone brought from their dorm and chairs that we found in a basement. I feel so grateful that we get to share such interesting and creative ideas with so many people because you never know who you’re going to inspire to do what,” Miller said.
Upcoming shows for OOTB include Ride, directed by Adelaide Ross, acting junior, at 8 p.m. Oct. 1 and Shows for Days, directed by Gavin Drew, music theater sophomore, at 10:30 p.m. Oct. 6-7. All shows perform in Room 405 in the Clara E. Jones Administration Building and are free admission.
For more information, visit the OOTB Facebook page.