Saturday, February 8, 2014

Welcome the Theater Kids to Roanoke This Week

Todd Ristau (left), Ernie Zulia of Hollins Theatre Department.
If you're in downtown Roanoke over the next few days, you're going to see an unusual number of college-age students because Hollins University is host for 2014 Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The festival itself, held at Hollins and Mill Mountain Theatre, is not open to the public, but you can see "Ben & Rita," one of its plays by a Hollins grad Feb. 18-22. The festival opened with the production of "Decision Height" last week.

I wrote a piece on the Hollins Theatre Department and its leaders, Ernie Zulia and Todd Ristau, for this month's Roanoker Magazine (found here and only available online) and I suspect you might enjoy reading it. Hollins, which has 613 students, ranks No. 18 in the nation among theater departments and recently put $3 million into its own theater.

Ernie's productions at the school have been the region's best for some time now, setting a new standard for theater here. Those productions have also raised the bar here and helped develop--especially with Ristau's deep involvement in community theater in Roanoke--the Star City's deep and wide talent pool.

Say "hello" to the kids when you pass them downtown and welcome them to Theatre Central, Roanoke VA.

(Photo by me for the Roanoker Magazine.)

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