It was a year of terrifying…

… and shocking occurrences. From the jaw-dropping events described unflinchingly in the paragraphs below, to the unexpected (even supernatural) activities that transpired on that dark night…

Not really; I’m just using the strategy I’ve learned from internet marketing. How to get people to click on headlines? Suggest that a gripping tale of crisis, disaster, and fear is to follow, and you’ve got your reader hooked.

Here’s the real story: it was a year of successes for OutRegis! and for OutRighteous! (the months-old, sketch-writing beating heart of everything about OutRegis! that’s NOT improv).

The nearly 6-year-old, student-run, faculty-advised ensemble, under the tireless and talented leadership of Regis College communication major Hailey Barr (and many other excellent undergraduates, including but not limited to Becca Veys and Jeff Angeloty) welcomed lots of new members in the fall; contributed an excellent workshop/dialogue to the fall Diversity conference and to the spring Rocky Mountain Communication conference; produced a flash mob performance; held weekly “open rehearsals” for the community in addition to weekly “members-only” workshops; collaborated with the Active Minds art exhibit to promote awareness of mental health issues and– just this past Friday– put on an original, hour-long SRO show, “Are You Crazy?” on the topic of mental health in Walker’s Pub for an appreciative audience of around 60–most of whom stayed for the facilitated dialogue. And, OutRegis! is not done: I understand we’re looking at possibly more surprises before the end of the year.

With a dedicated rehearsal space, a true black-box theatre (with lighting, configurable seating, a sound booth, a backstage, dressing rooms, a prop shop and build and storage spaces) Regis might support not only a fantastic student ensemble like OutRegis! (willing to work hard, with no resources and no space–and able to make something out of nothing) –but might also foster a strong theatre club producing everything from Shakespeare to Shaw to Churchill to new work.

With solid training provided in acting and directing methods–and an educational foundation including theatre history, global theatre, community-based theatre, playwriting, lighting and set design, production arts and rehearsal methods–Regis would be affording a serious study of theatre not only as literature, but as the lively, many-dimensional art that it is– one that has been vital both in helping us to understand our lives, and in criticizing and challenging unjust power structures– throughout human civilization.

With experienced faculty and staff to work together to support theatre in the curriculum, Regis could create a mission-centered community resource, a draw for parents and alumni, an incubator for the screenwriters, playwrights, directors and producers of creative performances of the future.

However, it doesn’t seem likely that this sort of recognition or support plays a part in Regis’ strategic plan; it hasn’t in the past, and there’s no indication that it will in the future. Therefore, OutRegis! work is even more important. It’s the only group, active throughout the academic year, that fosters all of the following: dedicated and active membership; collaboration, creativity, originality, and courageous performances and dialogues responsive to the community, and which values serious play, joy and laughter, perhaps– rightly– above all.

A quick history of OutRegis!’ student leadership: Founding student member Kimber Kirwin was instrumental in getting OutRegis! on its feet. In 2010, Angela Mercier took over the presidency and made the group a solid Regis club, whipping it into shape with regular rehearsals and workshops, high expectations, and baked goods. When Angela graduated, Jennie Babcock took her place, running the club with a mix of firm gentleness, outbursts of glee, and determination. As Jennie exited Stage Right (she still has one foot onstage) Hailey took over–and has brought the group to the next level in terms of foregrounding the importance of developing skills; solidifying semesterly programming, and bringing forth the potential of the sketch/dialogue mission. Congratulations to all of you, members of this very fine group.

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