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Students Showcase Work At Annual Florida Theatre Conference Festival

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As Kate Osbron was about to direct her first play, she couldn’t sit down.

She stood in the back full of anxiety and nerves while the actors got ready to take the stage.

The cast and director of “The Wedding Story” (from left to right: Jeremy Cutter, Kate Osbron, Alex Christophy, and Leanne Bonello) smile after performing at the Florida Theatre Conference Festival. This was the first time Osbron directed a play. (Photo courtesy of Kate Osbron)
The cast and director of “The Wedding Story” (from left to right: Jeremy Cutter, Kate Osbron, Alex Christophy, and Leanne Bonello) smile after performing at the Florida Theatre Conference Festival. The FTC provides students from all over the state to audition, attend workshops and showcase their work. (Photo courtesy of Kate Osbron)

Osbron presented her play, “The Wedding Story,” to a crowd of about 60 on Nov. 12. The show was part of the Florida Theatre Conference Festival, an annual event that gives students from all over Florida the opportunity to audition, attend workshops and showcase their work.

From Nov. 11-14, about 3,000 students from all over Florida gathered at Santa Fe College for the conference.

Santa Fe has hosted the FTC, now in its 60th year, for the past 5 years. The school gave the festival access to three theaters and specialized performing arts workspaces, according to the FTC website.

“We are the largest state regional festival in the southeast,” said Terry Klenk, host of the festival and secretary/treasurer of the FTC.

Osbron’s 10-minute play was about how fairytales place so much pressure on today’s society.

“You think that all this stuff is going to happen in your life … and when you grow up, you become incredibly disappointed because your expectations are so high from reading these fairytales,” said Osbron, an acting scholarship student at Santa Fe.

Her cast consisted of a bride, a groom and a storyteller.

Leanne Bonello, a Santa Fe sociology student who played the bride, said getting involved with “The Wedding Story” was the first time she had heard of the FTC. She said acting in front of people for the first time was a valuable experience.

“I got to explore a whole side of the school that I had never been to before, and met incredible people,” Bonello, 19, wrote in an email.

She said this experience was a great warm-up for when she becomes a Character Performer in the Spring as part of the Disney College Program, where she’ll act on a daily basis.

“My long-term goal is to stay with Disney,” Bonello said. “I plan on applying for a full-time job as a Character Performer after my program.”

Osbron said the theater was very intimate, and the audience was very close to the stage. In her play, she used minimal props, using only a black curtain behind the actors and special effects for colored lighting.

This was Osbron’s second year participating in the FTC. She said the opportunities available draw a large crowd of participants from around the state. Colleges from all over the country come to the conference to view the talent of thousands of students.

“(The FTC) was awesome,” she said. “It was a really eye-opening experience to see all that directors do.”

Osbron said she hopes to direct more plays in the future. She said she is going to take every note that she has from this play and continue to learn from her experience after directing a play at the FTC.

“As an actor or a performer in general, there’s no stopping point,” Osbron said. “You just keep learning no matter what position (actor or director) you’re in.”

About Kristine Janata

Kristine is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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