Traveling theater troupe opens auditions

By Moriah Gilbert | 3/29/15 8:43pm

GVL/Archive Bard to Go (2012)

Grand Valley State University’s Shakespeare Festival traveling troupe Bard To Go (BTG) is calling all students with high energy, focus and passion for theater life. Auditions for the 2015 season begin March 31.

BTG primarily tours Michigan high schools and middle schools as an educational outreach program.

"It is so important to Grand Valley because we become the face of Grand Valley to the schools," said Alli Metz, BTG director holding the auditions.

Metz enjoys representing the university because it connects GVSU to the schools in a positive way.

"There was a show we were performing and the kids were so thrilled to have us there," Metz said. "The actors really took it to heart that this was a memorable occasion those kids would remember.

“You never know when that's going to be the experience that changes them.”

For auditions, BTG is looking for actors that can do everything, and not just acting, because on tour they will also be working on technical duties or preparing the set.

"I'm especially looking for hard workers, team-orientated and a willingness to learn," Metz said.

Senior Chad Rodgers took on the challenge of BTG last year and learned a lot about adjusting his performances to many different crowds.

"You can't treat a bunch of high school students the way you treat a bunch of elementary students; it just doesn't work," Rodgers said.

BTG gave Rodgers confidence in not just his abilities as an actor, but also working close with a tight-knit group of extremely talented actors.

"Since BTG is written by GVSU for GVSU, as the first actors to perform the play, we got to help create the major aspects of it," Rodgers said.

Those involved – such Karen Libman, director of BTG last year – are supportive of artistic freedom among the cast members.

"It's not very often you get the opportunity to tour a production you're in, but BTG is structured to make that a reality," Rodgers said. "We all grew closer, laughed harder and acted better as a result of that trip."

The troupe is set to provide the full theater experience for those who are involved.

"It's the perfect mixture of Shakespeare and modern language that gives people a full understanding to the context that's going on," Rodgers said.

Actors interested in the BTG auditions have to sign up at the Louis Armstrong Theatre Box Office for a time. Preparations for the audition include reading 16 lines of Shakespeare and a minute-long contemporary monologue.

Auditions will occur on March 31 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and callbacks will take place on April 1. For more information, contact Jack Lane at

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