The theme of Irish literature is filling the hearts and minds of a few Community College of Philadelphia students and professors as they step out of the classroom and onto the stage.
Some are aspiring actors and actresses still learning and experimenting with the craft, while others see it as a possible gateway to other ventures.
“I have always loved theater and I enjoy transforming into different characters,” says Camille Dempsey-Miller, a sophomore at CCP. “I love exploring this art and try to make the best of myself performing each time.”
Miller is one of many CCP students assisting with a new theater production taking place at The Irish Heritage Theater, a brand new nonprofit company dedicated to presenting and preserving the rich legacy of Irish Theater. Students and professors see the theater as a way to enrich themselves further in the art of acting by learning and working along with professionals of the field.
Miller is no newbie to the set. He has been acting for the past six years and participated in CCP’s last production, Orestes, last November. At the Irish Theater, he will be assisting with building and painting the sets. “Theater production is hard work,” he admits. “But it is fun and worth the challenge.”
The company’s first production, Philadelphia, Here I Come!, revolves around a young man, Gareth O’Donnell, who is fed up with his life in Ballybeg, Ireland. He has his aggravated love for Kathy Doogan, who married a more successful man than he, and a strained relationship that he has with his father.
But when O’Donnell accepts an invitation to Philadelphia, he contemplates his decision. Does he really care about the people and friends he is leaving behind?