for Hermann’s theater corps
Brenna Jones is on a mission to spread the glories of acting throughout the Hermann region.
Currently, Jones is helping organize auditions for the Half Act Theater Company, a local youth theater troupe based in Hermann. Half Act has hosted Educational Theater Summer Camps in the Hermann area for the past five years.
“We’re starting a year early,” Jones told the Advertiser-Courier, referring to preparations for How to Build a Paracosm. A paracosm means the imaginary world of a child. Jones is the troupe’s head of creative operations.
Scriptwriting is in-house and themes are important in the development of production ideas. There is hope to involve local children more in the production, scripts, etc. in 2023, Jones said.
How to Build a Paracosm will be “the biggest show we’ve ever done,” she said, adding that there will be music and dancing. “Our goal is 30” to attract for the auditions, she said.
“It morphed into an educational theater company,” Jones said of Half Act’s origins. The aim of the group is to help students gain self-confidence while learning the basic principles of action and movement.
A mix of people affiliated with the Showboat Theater and others interested in the local arts contributed greatly to the development of the troupe.
“People don’t realize how important this building is and how much life it brings to the community,” said Jones of the Showboat. “There’s so much creative potential here… This place is a gem.”
The auditions will last three hours. Half Act plans to hold its next camp from May 23 to June 4 at the theater, with day-long activities. A secondary hope is to generate growth and performances in other theaters in the region.
Jones is assisted by a dedicated group, including Half Act co-founder Anna Borgerding, director Kampbell Hemeyer, her brother Colin Jones, costume designer Caitlin Pottebaum, stage manager Ginny Borgerding and student internship program coordinator Justice Kiderlen. Grant Bucher works with the musicians. Pottebaum has a background in fashion design and his brother Colin specializes in sound.
Arts education has been important to Brenna for many years, and enjoyment is something she seeks to share with others. She was exposed to the arts in college.
“It’s our way of giving back,” Jones said of Half Act.
The troupe continues to take all precautions in the face of the pandemic, which remains a concern for artists. Safety is a primary concern for them, and all are ready to adapt to any given situation.
Jones performs primarily at the Showboat, but is otherwise primarily involved in theater while attending Washington University in St. Louis. She also does a lot of art in the studio. Artist Hermann Catherine Mahoney served as inspiration.