Theatre star is set to succeed
In October, the Berry College Theatre Company competed at the Southeastern Theatre Conference Professional State Audition Screenings. Out of almost 300 auditionees, Berry student Hannah Avery received the highest score.
Anna Filippo, assistant professor of theatre and director of theatre, says the auditions are very competitive. Students must prepare either a 60 second monologue from a play or a 90 second package including a monologue and a song, generally from a musical.
“The package must demonstrate the actor’s ability to pursue the character’s objective, establish an honest connection to the material, and sculpt an arc within the monologue and song,” Dr. Filippo said. “Once the material is selected the students rehearse on their own, then seek individual coaching from the faculty. After, we hold mock audition sessions, closely simulating the conditions of the professional audition screenings.”
Hannah is a senior theatre major and has been in multiple productions at Berry. She has held starring roles in the Tony award-winning musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and the upcoming performance Pulitzer prize-winning play “Proof.” She says that her mentors played a significant role in her success.
“Dr. Filippo was absolutely vital in supporting all of us, coaching with us right up to the audition. Mr. Alford and Ms. Julie Carver were also coaching us prior to the event,” she said. “But there were also some techniques I used from my improv dance class and vocal lessons, so I’d like to include Professor Pecina and Dr. Willis in that as well.”
Hannah and her peers Katie Cooley, Kenny Morgan and Hannah Runner, who also scored in the top 34%, have qualified to audition at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in February. Dozens of professional theatre companies from across the United States will be there to watch the auditions.
Hannah is thankful to have received recognition for her hard work on her technique.
“While acting is competitive, I don’t think it has a place in competition — because all art is completely subjective,” she said. “However, when you pursue education in any art form, you develop techniques to get stuff out of your head and replicate it as best as possible onto your canvas, whatever that may be. And if anything, this is an affirmation that my technique is working.”
Written by junior Shannon Rainey