The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

To the Rescue

Actors rehearse a scene for Followed by a Bear’s “To the Rescue” show (Photo by Jenny Nessel ’19).

Followed by a Bear prepares new night of scenes

Followed by a Bear, the student-run theater group on campus, prides itself on being a group that pushes its members, and strives to be a learning experience for everyone involved.

The motto for the group is “Anyone can act or direct or write.”

The group started in 2013 with John Reheiner, ’15, and Sequoia Collier-Hezel, ’15. They originally went to a Saint Joseph’s Prep night of scenes, and saw the need on campus for those who were not comfortable being involved in the SJU Theater Company to get involved in theater.

Now, the group has about 100-200 members, which includes alumni and stage crew. For the upcoming show, “To the Rescue,” there are about 30 members and eight directors.

“It [the theme] was just fun, and we just thought that the possibilities were endless. We saw the results through all the submissions we got,” said Michael Rizzo, ’17, president of Followed by a Bear.

The process behind the show relies on teamwork and communication because the company depends on student-written pieces. For this show, there were about 18 submissions, all having to do with the theme around the title, “To the Rescue.”

Colin Mallee, ’17, vice president, and Tom Smith, ’18, treasurer, look at all the script submissions and give notes for improvement.

However, after they give out the scenes to the actors and directors, the executive board focuses on the show itself. Then, the actors and directors are on their own.

“We prefer that people take their own direction for things,” Mallee said. “We’ve had some scripts that we thought would go one way that went another.”

That doesn’t diminish the work of the board, though. The members of the executive board include Rizzo, Mallee, Smith and Morgan Yearick, ’18, secretary and head marketer. They make sure that the work gets done behind the scenes.

Rizzo feels his job is to work with the actors. Mallee deals directly with directors and actors and also makes sure that the tech crew knows what they’re doing, while Smith is in charge of funds and organizes fundraisers to help directors out by acquiring props. Yearick sends out all the emails, takes minutes, and makes sure they stay organized.

What the team is proudest of is the way the club allows everyone to participate.

“The community made me feel so welcomed and important [when I first joined.] This club brings people together,” Yearick said.

Even new writers have an opportunity to get involved. Smith and Mallee often hold “Writer’s Workshops” so that those interested can improve on their script writing.

Many of the members are involved with the SJU Theater Company, like Megan Hennessey, ’18. However, she described Followed by a Bear’s atmosphere as relaxing, and without the pressure that the company brings with it.

“Being able to say that we did this all ourselves is really rewarding. It’s fun to produce our own art,” Hennessey said.

Rizzo feels that Followed by a Bear is different because it’s an educational program that allows students to have new experiences in theater with other individuals who care about theater and the arts.

“I think theater is very academic and intellectual,” Rizzo said. “You have to know what you’re doing from day one. You [also] have to expect from people. There’s a communal thing, and then when you present to the audience, their reactions come back to that. It’s very communal and spiritual.”

Overall, the company seeks to provide a safe environment for those who want to create something.

“It’s all student everything,” Hennessey said. “It’s a very healthy outlet, especially for students that don’t have a good opportunity to take creative writing and screenwriting. It’s very student empowering.”

“To the Rescue,” will be held on March 5, at 7:00pm in the Perch.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hawk News

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. Joseph's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hawk News

Comments (0)

All The Hawk News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *