Classes are out (for the most part), but many of our students are spending their summer (or part of it) at Hiram. From camps to internships to summer jobs, students have many opportunities for engagement over the summer. From time to time, we will showcase the work these students are doing. See more “snapshots of summer” here.
HIRAM INSTITUTE OF THEATRE: Back in 2007 when she was still a high school senior, Cara Battaglia ’12 hefted home a heap of guidance-counselor-recommended brochures for summer theater programs. Problem was, if the program didn’t cost thousands of dollars, it was in New York City or some other far cry from her rural hometown, Newbury. That’s when Cara did some independent research and uncovered the Hiram Institute of Theatre (HIT) at Hiram College. It was free. And 20 minutes from her house. Jackpot.
Cara’s now entering her senior year at Hiram as a theatre arts major. She’s worked with HIT every one of its five years: year one, she participated in the camp; years two and three, she ran errands and helped the campers rehearse their lines while drawing on her former experience to act as a liaison between the students and the program staff; and these past two years, after proving her worth in the theatre arts department at Hiram, she’s been given several more responsibilities.
“Let’s see,” she says. “The past two summers, I’ve directed skits, helped rehearse, and I’ve even set up my own block schedules for the kids. I think the only thing I haven’t done is the actual choreography.” She pauses. “Wait, I actually did that for the first time today.”
This summer, HIT ran from Wednesday, July 27, to Saturday, July 30. Cara was there all four days, helping the campers prepare for the vaudeville performance they put on at the Renner Theater on Saturday.
Cara puts all this time and energy into HIT because it’s great experience for both the participants and her. HIT educates the students on certain songs and composers and teaches them helpful stretching and breathing exercises which are useful outside of theater. And HIT gives the participants experience working together and auditioning with and for unknown people, instead of classmates they know well.
As for Cara, if you can’t tell within the first two minutes of knowing her how much theater and HIT has influenced her (you can, by the way), she’s kind enough to spell it out.
“HIT was actually my introduction to Hiram,” she says. “And I’m not sure that I can separate my school experience from my experience with the program. I guess what makes HIT nice is that I get to focus all of my energy on things like directing, which I don’t always get to do during school because all my other projects.”