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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Former, current students meet in Pantagleize plays

The cast and crew of When We Dead Awaken, a recent production at the Pantagleize Theatre in downtown Fort Worth, consisted of past and present TCC students. The theater has a record of including many TCC students in their productions.
The cast and crew of When We Dead Awaken, a recent production at the Pantagleize Theatre in downtown Fort Worth, consisted of past and present TCC students. The theater has a record of including many TCC students in their productions.

By Kelli Henderson/entertainment editor

Ten years after its founding by a board of SE Campus faculty and administrators, the Pantagleize Theatre in Fort Worth is alive and well with an active TCC connection.

Past and present TCC students magically flock to the theater, where TCC relationships have been going strong. Violet and the late Roy O’Valle founded the theater after Violet O’Valle took early retirement as the SE liberal arts divisional dean. The two always wanted to have their own theater, she said.

The cast and crew of When We Dead Awaken, a recent production at the Pantagleize Theatre in downtown Fort Worth, consisted of past and present TCC students. The theater has a record of including many TCC students in their productions.

Pantagleize opened this spring season with the play When We Dead Awaken.

“The reason this production is so interesting is everybody in the crew, everybody acting in it, has been with TCC in one way or another,” Violet O’Valle said. “And that’s just an accident. I didn’t go out and get them.”

Many who join the theater are surprised to find they had peers and teachers in common with cast and crew members. Even the director of When We Dead Awaken, Kami Rogers, did not know about the connection until recently.

“[Pantagleize] is such a welcoming theater. Everyone is so nice and kind, and it’s in central Fort Worth, which is close to all the campuses,” Rogers said. “It’s almost like an obvious partnership in a way.”

Rogers graduated from South Campus in 2006 and went on to Texas Woman’s University. She said she had never known O’Valle while at TCC but had heard her name around campus.

Rogers was the assistant director and technical director for a show in the fall. She auditioned for a show a few years back, which is how she met many in the theater.

“Not the entire cast, but a large majority I’ve done shows with before. I think a lot of them came to audition because I was the director of the show,” she said about When We Dead Awaken. “A lot of us are very close. It was a joy because I felt like we could skip straight to working because we all knew each other already.”

Jason Sikes, assistant stage manager for the show, is a current SE student and thoroughly enjoys working at Pantagleize. He said it helps knowing others in the productions. They face problems together, from memorizing lines and learning where to stand onstage to personal things happening behind the curtain.

“The two definitely complement each other,” he said. “Being a part of a connection with those who have gone to New York and have master’s and made it big but still enjoy doing the local theater, it’s training, camaraderie and life-learning.”

Pert Durapau, director of the SE drama program, said she thinks it is wonderful that so many TCC students have looked to Pantagleize for professional work.

“It’s indicative and reflective that we have such a tremendous and talented group of past and present students performing at a great theater.”

South and SE alumna Heather Alverson said she knew Rogers from TCC and had also worked for her on some of Rogers’ projects at TWU. She said she didn’t doubt the connection one bit because Pantagleize has such a good reputation.

“I think in the theater world, everyone is close-knit. Everyone kind of knows about everybody. It’s been around a while now and [the popularity] doesn’t surprise me at all,” Alverson said.

Pantagleize offers an opportunity for TCC students to invest even if they don’t make it into productions at school, she said.

Students who participate know Pantagleize is there willing to work with them.

The stage is good for people who want to break out of their shell, O’Valle said.

“Theater directors within the college might disagree with me because they want their students in their productions, but I think it’s a good experience,” she said. “They won’t be as closely monitored over here as they are in school.”

The theater provides unique shows and is very welcoming for non-drama majors, O’Valle said.

“We do plays from around the world. We’re always doing something different. We’re very versatile,” she said. “We do open casting, which means that the best part goes to the best actor, regardless of race. We cross racial lines. We cross age lines. So there is a lot of opportunity here.”

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