Albany Park Theater Project visited The College of Wooster in Ohio as artists in residence for a long weekend in Fall 2013. As part of the College’s fall forum, “Facing Race,” APTP youth ensemble members performed select works from APTP’s repertoire for an audience of 300 students and faculty.
For most APTPians, the visit was also an eye-opening first experience of college: they toured the campus, stayed in dorms, sat in on classes, met professors – and even had dinner at the home of the President of the College, Grant Cornwell, now a self-proclaimed APTP fan:
I found the students in APTP to be impressive and inspiring. Their performance brought perspectives and issues into play for our fall series ‘Facing Race’ in ways that were compellingly honest and real. I am proud of the relationship that is developing between APTP and The College of Wooster and hope it continues to grow.
The relationship between APTP and Wooster has been developing for nearly 15 years. It began in 2001, when Maggie Popadiak – now APTP’s associate director, but then a high school senior and APTP teen artist – became the first in her family to go to college. Maggie discovered and applied to Wooster through APTP’s college counseling program. Wooster was her first choice – and offered her scholarships and financial aid that covered nearly 100% of her costs.
After graduating from Wooster, Maggie returned to APTP as a staff member. Today, Maggie is a director of APTP’s original plays and also a leader of its college counseling program. Last year, Maggie had the joy of helping Stephanie Castrejon (APTP, Class of 2012) become the first in her family to go to college…at The College of Wooster! The two reunited on campus, as Maggie directed and Stephanie acted in APTP’s performance.
Wooster’s campus paper, The Wooster Voice, wrote about the impact of APTP’s visit on the campus community:
“Even before the show started, I sensed that this was not a typical night out at the theater. The normal divide between the actors and the audience was broken. Actors spread throughout the rows and introduced themselves to audience members…Removing that boundary before the play even started made the intimate tone of the stories even more poignant….This was not a chance to escape into a fictional and harmless world. Instead, the audience had to confront issues that they may not have personal experience with, but that nonetheless impact them as members of American society.”
— Laura Merrell // The Wooster Voice
As for Maggie Popadiak, she was proud to direct on the main stage of her college theater and to share her professional work with her college mentors. Most of all, she was proud to share her college with the APTP teens she now mentors herself. To see just how proud Maggie’s alma mater is of her, watch this video from the Wooster web site.: