Catawba theater students get training in Germany

Published 12:02 am Thursday, May 19, 2016

SALISBURY — As the spring semester recently came to a close, students throughout Catawba’s Theatre Arts department were buzzing with news of summer jobs and plans. For four lucky students and one faculty member, there was definite cause for excitement after learning they were selected to attend the International Performing Arts Institute in Kiefersfelden, Germany, July 3-24.

This past fall, assistant professor of Theatre Arts Joe Hernandez arranged for his previous mentor and vocal teacher, the world-renowned Dr. Maryann Kyle, to teach a master class on musical theater belting. Following the workshop, Kyle hosted auditions for the elite European institute, which auditions over 1,000 prospective students annually from all over the world. Of those who audition each year, only 50 students are invited to attend the institute.

This specialized program in the heart of Europe offers students German classes, one-on-one voice training, performance development, acting, dance, repertoire coaching, a wide variety of master classes, performance opportunities and the coveted chance to audition for Stage Entertainment – the leading casting company for European Broadway international tours.

The four Catawba College musical theater students attending the institute’s musical theater program this summer include: Madeline Auchter of Houston, Texas; Gloria Kelly of Valrico, Florida; Lauren Stacks of Winston-Salem; and Randy Stull of Frederick, Maryland.

Junior Madeline Auchter responded to the news of her acceptance by saying, “I have never been to Germany, and I am so excited to see what this summer holds for me! I’ve been experimenting with my belt range this year, and I can’t wait to really hone that skill this summer! I see a lot of growth in my future.”

“I’m so very excited to be in a different country making connections that can further me in the craft that I adore,” says freshman Gloria Kelly.

Randy Stull, a freshman and Hobgood scholar, is excited to represent Catawba with his peers in Europe. He believes that opportunities such as this one do not come along very often and says that he is “extremely eager to see what career opportunities come from this trip!”

“I cannot wait! Combining elite theatrical training with European travel is a dream come true!” junior Lauren Stacks notes.

Hernandez will be accompanying the students and one teaching fellow on their travels. “Attending IPAI is a once in a lifetime opportunity. For myself, being able to study and teach alongside one of my mentors, as well as having my students attend, is something that I won’t soon forget,” says Hernandez about their upcoming adventure.

This incredible opportunity was made possible by the Catawba College theater department’s Young Artist Development Fund, which is specifically set aside to bring in erudite guest artists to teach seminars on specialized artistic subjects. This system has exposed the students of Catawba’s theater program to a vast array of artists and techniques including commedia dell’arte, belting, clowning, Moment Work, one man play writing, and much more. To make a donation to this fund, contact the Catawba Theatre box office at 704-637-4481 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays or visit the Donations page at