Skip Navigation

College News

Theatre and dance students express and inspire with upcoming virtual performances

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Apr 13, 2021

College of Lake County (CLC) theatre and dance departments are thrilled to announce two upcoming virtual performances in April. The creative theatre productions in Play On will feature two plays written and directed entirely by students. Fear No Art will showcase a variety of artistic disciplines including music, dance, poetry and visual arts. Both of these events have given CLC students a platform to passionately share their artistic voices through their unique talents.

Jess (Hanna Bothmann) hands Cyrus (Owen Skarbalus) an important part of his family history in "Masking Reality."

Performance dates and times:

  • Play On: April 23 & 24 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Play On: April 25 at 2 p.m.
  • Fear No Art: April 23 & 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Register for a free link to your performance:

Photo: Jess (Hanna Bothmann) hands Cyrus (Owen Skarbalus) an important part of his family history in "Masking Reality."

“Play On” highlights two original plays written by students who are using theatre to have their voices heard with their impassioned messages.

Cyrus (Owen Skarbalus) introduces himself to Ruth (Leila Manthi) in "Masking Reality."“We have created something beautiful on and off our zoom camera,” said Leila Manth, one of the playwrights of ‘Masking Reality.’ “Play On has provided a much-needed space for us to make sense of the world and what happens within it. There is a sense of vulnerability and rawness in our pieces and performances that is hard to recreate.”

Photo: Cyrus (Owen Skarbalus) introduces himself to Ruth (Leila Manthi) in "Masking Reality."

Theatre Department chair Craig Rich is impressed how collaborative and upbeat the students have been despite isolation and the restraints of performing virtually. They have found the positive and together formed a very moving production statement:

The last year has tested us all, but we are committed to working together to create positive change and to move our school, our society, and our world forward. As we rebuild, we don’t want to go back to the way things were. We want something better. With our voices united, we will take action and create the change we want to see. Let’s move forward—better—together!

Ursin (Jesus Garcia) is a grizzly bear and Deena (Cooper Field Sampson) a red fox in "Ursin Ascending."Both of these plays will premiere with an abundance of enthusiasm and pride. The idea for students to write their own plays came about last fall. Students worked diligently over winter break and continues through this semester. Rich is especially proud of the students in these productions as they are not only the playwrights, but also directors, designers and stage managers which includes two women directors, a field where women are often underrepresented.

Photo: Ursin (Jesus Garcia) is a grizzly bear and Deena (Cooper Field Sampson) a red fox in "Ursin Ascending."

Directed by Dance Department chair Dr. Valerie Alpert, Fear No Art gives students and community members a chance to express their talents in a festival of different disciplines. All the performers choose their own way to express themselves which could comprise dance, music, poetry, visual arts and much more.

CLC alumna Christine Chernoff describes the annual Fear No Art Festival as an opportunity to see what the artists at CLC and in the community are doing.

“The arts allow us to escape,” Chernoff said. “They can heal and bring us together. This is important always, and especially in this last year when we have had to maintain physical distance. As an artist, graduate of CLC’s dance program and a community member, I look forward to Fear No Art each year knowing I will be inspired by the variety and talent this show brings.” 

The overall theme for Fear No Art seems to be coming together and sharing your truth through expression. Working solo during the pandemic may have created a more personal and authentic expression from these performers, but it is important to note they were still connecting via zoom, mentoring and always letting one another know they are never alone in the process.

“John F. Kennedy once said, ‘art is not a form of propaganda, it's a form of truth’ and haven't we all had our share of the former during the pandemic,” said performer Jill McCrae. “CLC, through the tireless efforts of Dr. Valerie Alpert, have once again kept this essential platform accessible to our local community giving a voice of the heart a place for truth to shine.”

This year’s Fear No Art has pushed students to learn different elements associated with performing via zoom and not in-person. It has made them more versatile and equipped them with a new set of skills that will serve them in their future endeavors. Another positive to being virtual was past students and community members who live in different parts of world had the opportunity to participate and reconnect. After the performance, the artists will have a Q & A to enlighten the audience with any questions they may have and share their experience.

“I would like the community to know that the arts program at CLC helps students thrive outside their comfort zones just as much as it does inside their comfort zones, said student Helen Murphy. “It helps solidify the skills students come in feeling confident about while at the same time strengthening the skills students may not be as comfortable with. I think this is special to find in any art program and CLC’s arts program definitely encompasses this.”

The arts at CLC have a place for anyone who wants one, it is a welcoming, friendly create way to find your passions without fear. Whether you are a student, community member or patron, CLC offers multiple opportunities to express yourself.

Student Kurt Meinhardt shared his thoughts about how he was supported while writing one of the plays to be performed, “It was a beautiful process I felt consistently supported along the way. I think that is what CLC is great at: supporting the students. Because we all know without support, we feel like we can’t do nearly as much, but with their support we can feel like we can do anything we set our hearts and minds to.”

To register for a virtual performance visit:

About College of Lake County: 

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.