Gadsden State reignites theatre program
Matthew Huffman, middle, a theatre instructor at Gadsden State Community College, teachers a theatre class on the stage of Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center.
Gadsden, Ala. – It’s been at least a decade since Gadsden State Community College staged theatre productions at Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center.
“Until the pandemic, we consistently had wonderful theatrical productions from CharACTers Theatrics and local dance performance companies at Wallace Hall,” said Matthew Huffman, the Wallace Hall director and theatre instructor. “But, Gadsden State has not staged a musical or play since ‘Catfish Moon’ in 2010.”
In November 2019, Huffman moved from Hattiesburg, Miss., to accept the position of theatre and box office manager at Gadsden State.
“I knew I was also going to teach theatre courses, and I really wanted to build a theatre program at a community college,” he said. “I owe my success to a community college, and I’m excited about assisting others in succeeding through education.”
The Gadsden State Theatre Program is offering half and full scholarships for qualified students. Students may be an incoming freshman or returning student who will be enrolled full time for the Fall 2021 Semester as well as the Spring 2022 Semester. Scholarship recipients must maintain a 2.2 GPA, perform four hours of work each week in the Gadsden State Fine Arts Department and assist in recruiting. They must also enroll in a theatre course each semester, including Theatre Appreciation and Acting Techniques. Recipients must also commit to auditioning and participating in all CharACTers and/or Gadsden State theatrical productions.
An audition is required and must include two contrasting monologues. Audition packages should not exceed three minutes. The application deadline is April 16.
“We are excited about building our theatre program so that we can consistently perform for our community and bring quality, talented live theatre to Etowah County,” he said.
Huffman said there are no scheduled performances at this time but, once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, there are plans to perform one Gadsden State production each semester.
“Currently, we are following guidelines that limit the number of audience members we can have in Wallace Hall, and it is difficult for the actors to socially distance themselves,” he said. “Right now, we are filming a Shakespeare spoof in our Theatre 113 class that we hope to share on our social media platforms very soon.”
Huffman has worked as a performer and instructor for several years. In 2009, he graduated from Northeast State Community College in Blountville, Tenn., with an Associate in Science degree. Two years later, he earned a Bachelor of General Studies with a focus in theatre and film acting from East Tennessee State University. In August 2016, Huffman received a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi.
“I have worked as a teaching assistant, a substitute teacher, a drama teacher, an adjunct instructor at USM’s Gulf Park Campus and a private acting instructor,” he said. “I have had a wonderful time working in and pursuing my career in the arts. I’m so excited to be sharing my craft with our theatre students at Gadsden State.”
For more information on the theatre program or to apply for the scholarship, contact Huffman at email@example.com or 256.549.8475.