KCACTF – Hawaii Bound!

This morning 10 of our VU Theatre Majors boarded a plane and set off to Honolulu, Hawaii to participate in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival!  This is the 48th Annual Region VIII Festival and includes Universities from Arizona, Central and Southern California, Guam, Hawaii, Southern Nevada, and Utah.

Thanks to our patron’s generous donations through our Pass-the-Hat initiative we were able to raise over $8,000 and use that money to pay for the student’s registration fees, hotel accommodations, and our five performer’s plane tickets.

This year Austin Nunn, Brock Joseph, and Hannah DeBoer were nominated to participate in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions. They will be performing in three rounds of auditions with their partners Pierre Ekladios and Nahtori Johnson for a chance to receive an incredible educational scholarship. These scholarships provide recognition, honor, and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education. The Irene Ryan Foundation awards 8 regional awards and two national scholarships annually. There are two scholarships of $3,500 each for the winners at the national festival in Washington, D.C.

Brock Joseph and Nahtori Johnson were also invited to perform a scene from our production of Life Without Parole for KCACTF’s Evening of Invited Scenes. Their scene will be one of only 15 performing in this special event.

Throughout the week our students will participate in a wide variety workshops ranging from performance to design and directing. Special guest lectures are held and College productions from throughout the region are performed.

We couldn’t be happier for our students attending and ask you to join us as we pray for safe travels and a sound return.

For more information on the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival click Here.


The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale

A Romance Drama that takes the chill off of unwarranted jealousy and evil schemes

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Susan K. Berkompas

In terms of strength of character, unity of plot, and audience satisfaction, The Winter’s Tale may be the best of Shakespeare’s later romances. While still presenting the danger and power of evil in the world, its happy ending sets it apart from the earlier histories and tragedies. Warm up to this tale of true love and the healing of a repentant heart. | Suitable for teens and older

Friday, February 27 …………….. 8:00 pm (Open Forum)

Saturday, February 28 …………. 8:00 pm

Sunday, March 1 ………………… 2:00 pm

Thursday, March 5 ………………. 8:00 pm

Friday, March 6 ………………….. 8:00 pm

Saturday, March 7 ………………. 2:00 and 8:00 pm

Sunday, March 8 ………………… 2:00 pm

Visit or call the theatre box office at 714.668.6145 to purchase tickets. Ticket prices are $14 for general admission and $12 for seniors, children, and groups. All performances at the Vanguard University Lyceum Theater.


What it Means to be on Popular Demand

What’s it really like to be on Vanguard’s Popular Demand?

We Asked several of the members and here is what they said.


1. How would you define Popular Demand?

“I would define Popular Demand as an improv/sketch comedy group where a bunch of friends basically get to play around and make up really fun ideas for shows for our fellow students.” – Winter Bassett, Popular Demand performer, senior.

2. What do you love most about the team?

“I love the process of preparing sketches. It is fun to see how one person can bring in one idea and then through everyone else’s feedback, and feeding off of each other, it can morph into something complete. I also enjoy getting to perform with my friends!” – Johanna Jacobsen, Popular Demand performer, junior.

3. How’s your outreach been?

“Great! I have been a part of this team since it started my Freshman year here and it has been so cool to see it grow on campus. I love seeing new faces in the audience of people who have not come before!” – Kate Frampton, Popular Demand member and Team Leader, junior.

4. Any future plans for the group?

We hope to continue to grow and transition into more sketches rather than improv” – Kate Frampton

5. Are there any upcoming shows?

“We have some really fun things planned this semester! Nothing has been set in stone yet.” – Austin Nunn, Popular Demand performer, senior.


Popular Demand is Vanguard’s Theatre Department’s on campus sketch improv team. Four of the members are theatre majors and the other four members are from a diverse amount of departments across campus. Their work typically consists of a mix between improv games and sketches though according to team leader Kate Frampton they are aiming to make the shift to more consistent sketch work rather than improv games. There are plenty of shows to come up this semester, but the seats fill up FAST, so make sure to grab your friends and head out for some laughs ASAP.

bravo worship

Spotlight: Theatre Chapel BRAVO

A quick spotlight on the Department’s weekly Theatre Chapel, Bravo!


With college classes taking up mornings and afternoons, and rehearsals/performances being held in the evenings there isn’t much time outside of that to have a social life. Your friends become other Theatre majors because those are the people you see daily, work with, and trust.  The Theatre Department is in itself its own little community and Bravo is a place where this community can come together to support one another and praise God.  For one hour every Monday students are able take a step back from the hustle and bustle of a regular performance filled day and join their classmates in Bible study, student testimonies and worship. The first Monday of every month is a full hour of worship. It’s by far the perfect way to start a new month. The following weeks adjust depending on the needs of the students.

Our former Theatre Manager, Bill Hughes, began Bravo over five years ago and it’s been amazing to see how much this program has grown.

Here’s what Bill had to say about Bravo:

“The Theatre Department always encouraged spiritual development activities for the Theatre majors, but they would ebb and flow depending upon the initiative of the students. After earning my bachelor’s degree through the VU Religion Department in 2009, I asked Sue if I could make it more structured and and be the representative from the Department who would be responsible to keep it functioning.

Since it was always the result of student generated activity, my leadership philosophy was to encourage that to continue and equip them with whatever they needed to keep that type of activity going. Therein lies the success. They keep it going. They minister to each other. They seem to know what they need from each other. I would just facilitate.

So, there have always been student leaders. And that is a great thing. It creates an opportunity for the leaders to exercise their gifts and it creates an environment for the group to be self-owned. It is their group.

They would say I did more, but what I always tried to do was know the pulse that was flowing through the group and guide them in it. The ‘Spiritual Sexuality’ topic is a good example. I sensed it. I brought it up. And they jumped on it. I think it was really really helping a huge issue for them. But again, they were doing all of the work. I would get the discussions going and then they would take off. It was great!

They don’t need another talking head. They need intimate open time with each other, to build relationships. We always made it a point to make sure that God’s Spirit was welcome and present. And over and over again He showed up and took over the meetings. It was always a wonderful awesome beautiful experience to be in His presence together with them.”

Now, not only do we have half of the Theatre Department joining weekly, we have students from other majors sitting in as well. College can be a stressful place. Without community one could become lost.  For many Theatre students Bravo has become a safe area to open up and speak what’s in their heart, as well as a time to refocus on why we’re here: to serve and praise our Lord.


Theatre Arts Alumna Bretlyn Schmitt `15 Named Woman of the Year

by Tom Titus

There exists, right here in our own backyard, a wealth of theatrical talent. This newspaper has celebrated it for the past four decades, honoring, at the close of each year, two individuals who have excelled in their specialties, beginning with David Emmes and Doris Allen in 1974.

On this, the 42nd such occasion, the spotlight falls on a writer/actor who’s also a magician and a recent college graduate who has created some exceptional choreography during her time at a local university.

They are two people who charmed audiences at the Huntington Beach Playhouse and Vanguard University, respectively, during the past year — Scott Ratner and Bretlyn Schmitt, the Daily Pilot’s man and woman of the year in theater for 2015.

Read full article here


ACTC’s Winter Wonderland Christmas Cabaret

American Coast Theatre Company’s

A Winter Wonderland Christmas Cabaret

After you see the musical Christmas is Here Again, come back to see ACTC’s old variety style cabaret, A Winter Wonderland Christmas Cabaret! It is sure to invite, delight, and excite! Picture the backdrop of a gorgeous winter wonderland ice pond surrounded by beautiful snow flocked trees that glisten with twinkle lights. This 90-minute song and dance show will highlight scared and popular Christmas folk tunes with six of the most talented professionals in Orange County. Afterwards, homemade hot chocolate and cider will be served with fresh Christmas desserts and a meet-and-greet with the actors.

Monday, December 7 – 7:30 pm

Tuesday, December 8 – 7:30 pm

Wednesday, December 9 – 7:30 pm

Sunday, December 13 – 7:30 pm

Thursday, December 17 – 7:30 pm

Friday, December 18 – 7:30 pm

Saturday, December 19 – 2:30 pm & 7:30 pm

Sunday, December 20 – 2:30 pm & 7:30 pm

Monday, December 21 – 7:30 pm

Tuesday, December 22 – 7:30 pm

Wednesday, December 23 – 7:30 pm

Tickets per person for show; beverage & dessert: $25

Visit or call the theatre box office at 714.619.6424 to purchase tickets

Christmas is here again1

Christmas Is Here Again


A Brand New Musical journey into a fantastical discovery of Christmas hopes and dreams



Christmas Is Here Again is a frolicsome adventure for the entire family. This musical tale follows the exciting escapades of a young orphan girl, Sophiana, and unlikely band of adventurers as they search the frozen north to find Santa’s magical toy sack that was stolen by a sinister scoundrel. Sophiana teams up with a feisty elf, an ambitious young reindeer, and an uncanny fox and polar bear duo, who all discover their potential for compassion, loyalty and the importance of never losing hope.

Suited for ages 6 and older

Thursday, December 3 – 8pm*

Friday, December 4 – 8pm

Saturday, December 5 – 2pm

Saturday, December 5 – 8pm

Sunday, December 6 – 2pm

Thursday, December 10 – 8pm

Friday, December 11 – 8pm

Saturday, December 12 – 2pm

Saturday, December 12 – 8pm

Sunday, December 13 – 2pm

Monday, December 14, 8pm

Tuesday, December 15, 8pm

Wednesday, December 16, 8pm

*Open Forum 

Visit or call the theatre box office at 714.668.6145 to purchase tickets. Ticket prices are $17 for general admission and $14 for seniors, children, and groups. All performances at the Vanguard University Lyceum Theater.

Student Attitudes and Professionalism

Kayla Jackson

You’ve bought tickets to our shows and sat in our audience, but WHO are our Vanguard University Theater students? Let us introduce you -

Kayla Jackson
Theater Performance/Directing major
Department of Theater Student Representative
Hometown: Medford, OR

You’ve seen her on the Lyceum Theater stage for - The Gift of the Magi/The Little Match Girl, Legally Blonde, The Musical, and Ah, Wilderness.

When I came to Vanguard for my first semester, I had not even seen a show here. A lot of my classmates had seen a few shows before coming, but I was all the way up in Oregon and unable to make it down. Oddly enough, I never worried about whether or not this school would have a good program as God put this school on my heart 5 years prior. What I expected was a group of tough, talented actors and actresses that would tower over me until I reached their level.

This was not the case.

When I finally came here, I honestly did not expect to come into a program that was filled with so many down-to-Earth people. In my first week of school, I attended a workshop by the juniors and senior students (without the help of the professors) to help with audition prep. I’ll always believe that I got into my first show at Vanguard because of how much time and effort these students poured into me.

I had also heard horror stories (at other colleges, not at Vanguard) of college students being incredibly feisty and rude at auditions. I’d heard of people hiding each other’s dance shoes,staring people down and even calling them names to their face. I didn’t think it could be so bad at my little college, but I was expecting SOME tension. How much was there?

How much has there been since I’ve been attending here (3 years now)?

I don’t know how I ended up in such a peaceful place like Vanguard, but I can proudly say that audition day here is a day of encouragement and uplifting words. Is there more than one person who wants a lead? Yes. Do they still cheer for each other? They do.I will never understand how I have ended up so blessed and in a supportive community like Vanguard, but I don’t need to understand the blessing to be thankful and enjoy it.


Codependency in Theatre

austin nunnYou’ve bought tickets to our shows and sat in our audience, but WHO are our Vanguard University Theater students? Let us introduce you -

Austin Mark Nunn
Theater Performance/Directing major
Department of Theater Student Representative
Hometown: Grass Valley, California

You’ve seen him on the Lyceum Theater stage for – Oedipus Rex,
Legally Blonde, The Beat Goes On (both times), and
Kiss me, Kate!


Codependency in the theatre I love being a theatre major. Everyday is a new experience and an opportunity to learn. Choosing this degree is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I always loved theatre growing up. I loved the ideas of a bunch of hard working people working together to create a spectacle. Since being at Vanguard I have been blessed to be in multiple productions as well as work heavily on productions. One thing I have learned from performing is that an audience can make or break a show. As an actor my goal is to give my best to my audience every single performance. Within the first 10 minutes of a show the cast can tell what kind of audience they will have. I like to think there are three basic types of audiences. The first being the fascinated audience, then we have the amused audience, and the unfortunate bored out of their mind audience.

The fascinated audience. There is nothing more enjoyable as a cast member then this kind of audience. When an audience laughs or giggles or applauds it fuels the energy of the actors and makes the show fun not only for the audience but for the crew and the cast as well. I can remember the first time I performed in The Beat Goes On and our audience was amazing. We had gotten to the song right before the intermission and the crowd was already on our side. We start the song ‘Dancing in the Street” and the crowd starts getting into it. Next thing we know they are cheering and applauding mid song. I can honestly say I have never had such an exhilarating experience performing as that one. The crowd fueled us which gave us extra power to make the number the best it could be.

The second audience is the amused audience. This crowd will laugh and giggle on occasion but not consistently. They often seem to feel as though they have to have a good time so they will clap or chuckle almost out of pity or guilt. They came to have a good time and will force it no matter what. Now I’m not saying that they all force it or they aren’t having a good time but rather they are there and present and that’s about it. They love the show and think it’s great but yet they don’t show it. The audience isn’t bad but is doesn’t help give the cast the extra kick they might need. The cast will still perform to the best of their ability but the higher the audience energy the stronger the cast adrenaline will be.

Lastly we have the bored out of their mind audience. This audience is something special. They stare and glare and sometimes even boo. Just kidding. But sometimes as an actor it feels like it. If you have ever seen one of those classic cartoons where someone performs and then everyone throws tomatoes at them to get them off the stage, then you can sympathy with actors in this scenario. When an audience doesn’t feel or like a show it can bring low energy to the cast. When you deliver a line and you feel like you can hear crickets in the background there is nothing that you wanna do more than to crawl in a hole and hide. Sometimes you wanna look at the audience and apologize for the pain you are causing them. But yet it is your job as an actor to make it the same every time. Sh how do you do this when the audience wants to throw knives at you? Well I have two ways to fix the agonizing death that has come upon you from the audience. The first is to look at it as a challenge. Your audience is a harsh critic and they don’t want to leave so the game is to give them the best performance you can in order to change their mind, enjoy himself a little more, and dare I say it, smile. If this doesn’t work there’s a different way to try to keep the cast energy up. When I can’t get excitement for the audience I play off of my other cast mates. I try and discover new things about our characters’ relationship and also discover new ways that my character can respond. One show I was in the audience stared at us the whole time. Never smiling, never clapping, and they looked bored out of their minds. So I started searching out different possibilities for my character on stage. Some of the changes I made stayed for the rest of the run of the show. Even though this audience wasn’t the best, the cast pulled through to make sure that the show was brought to justice.

In the end I would give a suggestion to you as an audience member. If you see a show give yourself the benefits of smiling. Enjoy yourself and let it show. Trust me, your cast will thank you and the show you see will be a fantastic one.


A Look inside “Life Without Parole”

warren doody


Warren J. Doody is Professor of English at Vanguard University, where he has taught for the last sixteen years. The writer of numerous plays, screenplays, and short stories, he has won multiple awards for his work. Life Without Parole premiered at Vanguard University in 2008, and the production was selected as a showcase for the KCACTF Region VIII festival. In 2014, the play made its New York City debut at Manhattan Repertory Theater and as part of the New York International Fringe Festival. Other recent productions include the West Coast premieres of at American Coast Theatre Company and Development at Vanguard University.

Note from the Playwright: 

In May 2001, Dr. Elizabeth Dermody Leonard approached me about the possibility of turning her research on battered women who kill into a stage play. It took me a year to do the requisite research and an additional six months to write the play itself. In doing so, I changed the names of the women involved, created characters who are composites, and recontextualized the dialogue and research to fit the parameters of the stage. In March 2003, “Life Without Parole” was staged for the first time as part of Vanguard University’s Domestic Violence Awareness Seminar. Since then, it has been staged all over the country and in Canada; at battered women’s shelters, at conferences, in numerous theatres, and, most importantly, three times at the California Institution for Women at Chino, in front of the very women whose words inspired its creation. The play has also been profiled on NPR, selected as a finalist for the 2009 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and included in the recent documentary, “Thespians,” produced by Tiger Lily Media. My adaptation of the play received the Gold Medal Award at Worldfest-Houston Film Festival in 2005. The play continues to build momentum, but, ultimately, it has stayed true to my original three-fold goal: to give voice to the “Convicted Survivors” that Dr. Leonard represents in her work; to give voice to those women who do not live through the last violent assault; and to provide a red flag for those currently faced with the silent epidemic of domestic abuse.