As the last days of spring semester loom closer and closer, artists in the School of Theatre and Dance are diligently creating new pieces of art. One such endeavor by the BurkTech Players opened April 12th. "Logged In" is a collection of three new plays written by Burkhart students and Tech students alike. I was able to speak with Associate Managing Director Allison Roberts about her experience with the performing group.
Tom Laney: So, first things first, why the BurkTech Players? What was the draw for you?
Allison Roberts: I love working with BurkTech because it is an experience you can't get anywhere else. We have the opportunity to work with individuals on the autism spectrum and learn from each other. There's something about learning to communicate with those that think slightly different than you do that really allows you to grow not only as an artist, but as a person, a human being. To be able to work alongside them and get to know them, is something truly amazing.
TL: This semester brought some new challenges as well. The BurkTech Players is producing three new plays written by students from both the Burkhart Center and the School of Theatre and Dance. Add to that, this is your first semester with BurkTech, yes?
AR: My greatest challenge this semester has been learning where I fit into the management side of the organization. I was thrilled to be asked to join, but coming in the second semester has been tricky when figuring out my role. I basically asked those in charge to give me whatever duties they didn't have time to complete. I'm the newest person, the lowest on the totem pole, so to speak, so I will take on any side projects that are needed or wanted, hence the Jazzercise workshop! Needless to say, I was very excited to join. Once it truly hit me that Dori was leaving, and that next year, it would be up to Tom and me to keep this organization going, from a management standpoint, I was terrified! That's a lot of pressure! This organization has come so far and there's the expectation that we're going to successfully continue that growth and potentially make it even better. It's scary... but thrilling.
TL: Scary, huh? So on the scale of greatest fears, managing burgeoning theatre companies is near the top?
AR: My greatest fear for myself... drowning. Or suffocating. Both. Either. You will never EVER see me in a submarine. When my husband told me he booked a cruise for our honeymoon, I almost had a panic attack thinking we would be in a room under water level and there would be no escape if the ship sank! It's a totally rational reaction, right?
TL: Oh yeah, totally. I remember Titanic. You mentioned the Jazzercise Workshop that you organized with BurkTech. What are some ways that you get yourself jazzed? What is your go-to song?
AR: The song that gets me jazzed for the day.... I don't think I can choose just one. I listen to Twenty-One Pilots on my drive to the school most of the time so that's usually my go-to. Either that or "Highly Suspect." Depends on my mood I guess.... Do I feel like rocking out, or do I need something a little more mellow? Do I need the energy or do I have some to burn? Every day is different.
TL: And every day with BurkTech seems to be different as well. There has been so much growth in this organization this year, where would you like to see the BurkTech Players five years from now?
AR: I sincerely hope that five years from now, this organization is still thriving and striving for bigger and better things. I hope the ensemble continues to grow in size and strength, I hope the shows can get bigger, and I hope to reach even more of the Lubbock community with our productions.
TL: I hope so too. Now that the year is almost over, any favorite moments?
AR: I can't choose just one favorite moment. There are many! And most of them involve Spencer Ragland. Every time she gets up in front of the ensemble to give her pep talk and say how much she loves BurkTech, those are my favorite moments, because she truly loves this organization and you can tell how much it means to her and how important it is. That's why we do this.