24-Hour Theatre Project gives students ‘nerve-wracking,’ ‘exciting’ challenge

BW students of all majors were able to hone their theatre chops in a two-day where students wrote, acted and directed their own short plays.


Austin Patterson, The Exponent

(Left to RIght) Lindsey Burke, Bradley Hughes, Bella Issa and Gioianna DiGiorgio perform their play “(Not) Everybody Lives.”

On the evening of Sept. 9, Baldwin Wallace students gathered in the Kleist Center for Art & Drama ready to undertake an exciting challenge: writing, directing, and performing a short play in only 24 hours. 

The 24 Hour Theatre Festival was a two-day event in which students explored theater by collaborating with peers and faculty. Students signed up to either be an actor, director, or playwright, and they spent the festival honing their skills in that particular area. Participation was open to any BW student who was interested in theater — no audition necessary. 

Rachel Gold, a senior acting and directing student, produced this year’s festival with help from assistant producer Hanako Walrath, a senior musical theatre student.  

Gold said that this festival was a great opportunity for students to test their theater skills and meet people involved in the department, while breaking the barriers of class rank and major.  

“Everyone is just an artist putting together a festival,” Gold said. “It’s very low stakes and it’s not a huge time commitment, so I think that opens the door for a lot more people to participate.” 

During their first day, students attended workshops hosted by faculty and other professionals in the industry related to acting, directing, and playwriting. After their busy hours of learning, students stayed overnight in Kleist to get the full 24-hour immersive experience.  

Playwrights wrote their scripts overnight, taking inspiration from the costumes and props that the actors brought with them. The next morning, students met with their assigned groups and began preparing the short plays, bringing their scripts to life. 

After mere hours of rehearsal, the students performed their plays for an audience filled with friends, family, and theater-enjoyers. Actors such as Kaitlin Smith, a sophomore acting and directing student, were excited to share their comedic and dramatic work with the audience. 

“It was a little nerve-wracking because it’s very hard to do so many things in such little time,” Smith said. “It was also very exciting because you’re putting on a show that’s never been done before and … has never been put on in front of an audience.” 

The 24 Hour Theatre Festival is a BW tradition that was created 20 years ago by BW Chair of Theatre and Dance Jeff Herrmann. Inspired by a conference he attended, Herrmann brought the idea of producing theater in 24 hours back to a much smaller BW Theatre and Dance department. 

Herrmann said that as the department has grown larger and gained more students, there is a struggle to offer opportunities for all of its students. The festival is a way to provide an opportunity for any student to participate and perform on the BW stage. 

“We want everybody to feel like they can be part of the Theatre and Dance department,” Herrmann said. “It’s a great way to start out the school year.” 

The 24 Hour Theatre Festival kicked off Baldwin Wallace’s theatrical season by exciting students and audiences alike, offering a glimpse into the learning opportunities and talent housed within BW’s Theatre and Dance department.