One of the most beautiful aspects of theater is its ability to connect people of all backgrounds and experiences. Such art provides clarity for wandering artistic souls and allows audiences to gain new perspectives about the world and themselves. Theater cultivates individuals with creative minds and incredible passions for self-expression and truth, and Furman University’s theater program is certainly no exception! Being involved in the theater myself, I was fortunate to sit down with another of Furman’s current freshman stars, Emily Lackey, to give readers an inside look at FU’s theater program and some of their future productions!


As You Like It: New Voices 

Right now, Furman’s theater group is focused on their upcoming production of As You Like It, is a new adaptation of William Shakespeare’s original play put on in musical form and— one that you will not want to miss! Opening on Wednesday, Oct. 13, the show will run through the 23rd with tickets soon now available for purchase!

When asked about As You Like It and what her favorite thing about the musical was, Emily Lackey answered, “As You Like It is a very funny and beautiful story about love and identity. This is my first time being in a Shakespearean show, and it being a musical helps to understand the story and characters for both the audience and the performers. My favorite thing about this musical is how much I get to dance! As my past directors and choreographers will tell you, I am not a dancer, but I am very excited for the opportunity to be a little bit more involved with choreography than what I am used to!”

Emily also stated that her favorite thing about Furman’s theater program is “how everyone is so accepting and willing to answer (her) questions.” She explains her love for the idea that while “not everyone is a theater major, people are excited and passionate about theater.” I could not agree more with this message! Not planning to major in theater, she appreciates that “anyone can participate and not just majors or performers.” Before she had decided to attend Furman University, Lackey already “knew that theater would be important (to her) in college.” She elaborates, “it came down to a few schools and I eventually chose Furman, for many reasons, but one of them was their theater department. It seemed to have a very accepting environment and I liked that they didn't just do musicals or mainstream plays.”

While As You Like It is Lackey’s first Shakespearean production, she has been involved with many other plays. Thinking of her past theater pursuits, Lackey told a story of her earliest experiences. “I started theater when I was in the fifth grade. I played the barrister munchkin in my local high school’s Wizard of Oz. Ironically, I was taller than both Dorothy and Glinda, but that was my first time in a ‘real’ musical. Before that, I had done little programs with my church choir. From there, I started doing youth theater with the community theater in my area!”                    

Emily also encouraged students to attend the “New Works Festival,” which will be held in November. The New Works Festival revolves around “a collection of plays written by Furman students and alumni” that will be performed by Furman students. Lackey will also be an assistant stage manager in The Unfortunate Case of the Corpse Bride, a production written by Alysha Matthews and directed by Dennis Cheeks, during this time.

Emily is an advocate for any looking to join theater at Furman. She says that “theater is accessible to anyone. Whether you enjoy performing, tech, costumes or managing, there is pretty much something for everyone in theater. It is also very inspiring to be in something bigger than yourself and to be a part of such a great community.” I echo these sentiments and I am so thrilled to see theater’s impact on myself and my fellow students! 

Other upcoming FU theater performances to look out for include Admissions by Joshua Harmon, On the Verge by Eric Overmyer, and more! Diverse, exciting, and powerful – the Theater Arts Department at Furman University has work for everyone to enjoy and explore!


Final Thoughts

Through theater, I have found that some of the shortest and simplest moments, like partaking in a small performance or listening to a musical for the first time, can have the most impact on who we are and who we will become. Theater transforms and enhances one's identity through the process of reflection and self-discovery. With so much to learn, we dive into the pool of theater and follow where meaning and interest take us. I encourage everyone to follow the values and possibilities within theater. There are truly endless opportunities to learn from the stage! So whether it be partaking in an actual production or simply attending a show, take advantage of Furman’s theater program and all it has to offer — who knows, you may be a star in the making!