Drama Students Audition for the Role of a Lifetime
Callbacks - Alexia Serrata (center) from Brownsville reacts to having made the cut in the musical category by the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts recently at the South Texas Theatre Auditions (STTA) held at South Texas College Nov. 15.
Performance has always been a way to escape for Esmeralda Treviño.
Currently a senior at Harlingen South High School, Treviño, 18, says getting up on stage has always given her the opportunity to tell not only her story, but the story of the Rio Grande Valley and its people.
Now among the hundreds of students participating at the fifth South Texas Theatre Auditions (STTA) held at South Texas College on Nov. 15, Treviño says she is eager to get out of the Valley.
With more than 24 schools participating in this year’s auditions, she may get her chance.
“Getting to work with the directors from UT-Austin and getting introduced to what a real audition is like made me really excited for today. It was an amazing opportunity,” she said. “I come from the Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory so we are well trained in auditioning and we go through this a lot but coming into a formal audition was a little intimidating at first. Now that I am a senior, I realize that this definitely something I want to do for the rest of my life. This is definitely what I am meant to do.”
In collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin, PSJA ISD and South Texas College’s Drama Department, South Texas Theatre Auditions seeks to offer high school seniors and graduating college students from the Valley who intend to pursue a degree in theatre, an opportunity to present monologues, musical theatre selections, and technical theatre portfolios for the consideration of college admissions representatives.
Students auditioned in three areas including acting, musical theater and technical design.
Originally from Monterrey, Elena Ledezma, says she will be graduating in December with an associate in Drama. Among three students from STC who were auditioning Monday, Ledezma said she chose to audition in technical design.
“I have always been creative, ever since I was little. It was mom though who discovered my talents in performing so she put me in different classes and I discovered that I loved being in the theater,” Ledezma said. “Now I feel like I want to pursue a dream I have had since I was small. I have always felt that you need to love the job you’re in because if you don’t, then you’re not going to be happy.”
“Getting to work with the directors from UT-Austin and getting introduced to what a real audition is like made me really excited for today. It was an amazing opportunity...Now that I am a senior, I realize that this definitely something I want to do for the rest of my life. This is definitely what I am meant to do.”
For those coordinating the auditions, this year’s event was a significant change from last year’s virtual event which was altered due to COVID.
Recruiting schools included Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Sam Houston State University, UTRGV, the Conservatory for Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, and the University of Texas in Austin.
Other universities were available online to accept virtual auditions including DePaul University, Southwestern University, Stephen F. Austin University, Southern Methodist University, Carnegie Mellon University, Baylor University, Abilene Christian University and the University of Houston.
“It is really good to be back and to be able to do this in-person after COVID last year when we had to do it virtually,” said STC Drama Department Chair Jason Joel Rodriguez. “These are students who are interested in pursuing their education and career in the fine arts, and who are interested in theater and design, musical theater and playwriting, and to see that they are being acknowledged for their gifts and talents is really awesome.”
South Texas Theatre Auditions was started in 2014 in order to offer high school seniors and college students pursuing a degree in theatre.
What began as a pilot program between the University of Texas at Austin, PSJA ISD and South Texas College’s Drama Department with only five college has now grown to 24 universities represented at the auditions.
“We are very proud to see exactly how this process of auditions has grown with our RGV students,” said cofounder Jaclyn Benavidez. “One of our biggest obstacles we have here for our kids is getting them to audition, especially an audition that is free of charge. We wanted to be sure we provided that platform for them here to be able to come down and feel comfortable in their own environment to be able to audition in front of a panel of nationwide theatrical recruiters.”