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U.Va. Students To Stage Original Production Revealing The Hopes And Dreams Of Entering Class

August 31, 1999 -- Spectrum Theatre will portray some of the many personalities, backgrounds and perspectives of students entering the University of Virginia during a special production titled "Voices of the Class" Sept. 9-11 at 8 p.m. in Cabell Hall Auditorium.

Members of Spectrum Theatre, a student organization created to foster an understanding of diversity, will incorporate approximately 50 admission essays of incoming students into an ensemble work that will include narration, skits, monlogues and musical numbers. Throughout the production nine actors will constantly change their roles, costumes and characters to reflect the varied experiences of the entering class.

Spectrum Theatre students have total creative control over selecting and editing the essays to portray, as well as casting and staging the production. They’ve spent approximately two months examining more than 130 application essays recommended by U.Va.’s Office of Admission.

The essay-writers gave permission for their works to be considered. However, the essays to be presented will not use the students’ names.

In choosing which works to present, Spectrum Theatre students selected those writings that best answer the question, "Who are You?", according to Kevin Neher, the group’s co-founder.

"We have two main goals in the production," said Neher, a third-year student majoring in government and economics. "We believe the production will reveal how the words students chose while applying to U.Va. reflect their voices. We also see the production as a way of introducing those voices to the University community."

The presentation will "allow all kinds of voices to be heard," said Steven Shepard, a third-year student in the government honors program and Spectrum Theatre co-founder. The two students formed the organization in 1998 to create works that would involve and challenge the U.Va. community. Last year it staged a multiracial version of Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet" that was set in the turbulent civil rights era in America.

The organization receives support from the Dean of Students Office, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Parents Program of the Alumni Association.

Tickets for "Voices of the Class" cost $3 and will be available at Newcomb Hall Box Office starting this weekend. Beginning Sept. 6 they will also be sold on the Lawn.

For more information about the production, contact Kevin Neher at (804) 245-8865 or via kvn2a@virginia.edu. Steve Shepard can be reached at (804) 982-6444 or via sms2j@virginia.edu.

Contact: Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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