J-Term is an awesome Middlebury tradition that allows students to enjoy a alternate form of study for a month. That alternate form of study can be just one class that meets almost every day, an internship, an independent study, or one of the numerous opportunities available for students during this really special time of the academic year. During my time at Middlebury I have used my J-Term’s to attend the American College Theatre Festival. Each year Middlebury sends roughly 8 acting nominees, a few costume designers, and usually 1 or 2 playwrites to compete in this festival.
Those that attend spend the entirety of our J-Term working hard on our material so that it is audition ready on the first day of competition. Audition type performances are tough because there are a lot of feelings when one enters an audition room. The room is unfamiliar, you know you’re trying to make a good impression, you hope the scene goes well, and you have only three minutes to show them your stuff. Kind of terrifying, but ultimately kind of fun.
No matter whether we win or lose, ACTF is always a joy to be a part of. You get to spend your J-Term working with very talented people, doing scenes tirelessly, and always finding room to improve. You get the opportunity to travel with members of your department and all compete against each other, and then as people get moved on and others don’t, support each other with fervor.
The first time I went I was a freshman. I was so excited to be working so seriously with older members of the department and having the opportunity to have such serious acting conversations with the faculty. I loved spending time with the older majors and I got to know them and thus got to know the department. I felt welcomed, excited and part of this big thing with my new theatre family. I hope in some ways as a senior on this trip I can provide a similar experience for the underclassmen with us today.
So cross your fingers that a Middlebury student will win!