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FreshBaked Theatre Co.

Power of Performing

As the lights came up at Alumni Auditorium, a small cast of Widener students gave their final bows and then walked up to the edge of the stage and took a seat.

Out in the audience, a crowd of excited children went from clapping and cheering to raising their hands high into the air. Some strained on their tippy toes eagerly waiting to ask a question about the performance.

One of the actresses, Rebecca “Becky” Gomezrueda a biomedical engineering major, soaked it all in. She explained how performing for children in one of Widener’s two theater companies has been a hugely rewarding experience.

“It’s really fun for me. I genuinely just really enjoy it,” Gomezrueda said. “Like after a show, I can’t stop smiling.”

While Widener does not have a theater major, the university’s two theater companies give students the opportunity to take part in several diverse productions throughout the academic year.

The FreshBaked Theatre Company is for audiences of all ages, and they often put on children’s shows for area Chester youth. The Lone Brick Theatre Company is dedicated to producing nontraditional theater. The company recently performed at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.

But within these companies there is also a lot of creative freedom, explained Tyler Palma a dual major in mechanical engineering and physics. For example, students often write and produce their own shows.

“Overall, Widener is very student focused,” said Palma. “Widener is here, professors are here, and faculty is here for the students and to assist them in ultimately what they want to make their college experience.”

Ariel Diehl, a nursing major, added the theater program helps to serve as a stress reliever from her day-to-day academic studies. It also has improved her leadership and teamwork skills.

“There is definitely a chemistry that happens and you learn to feed off each other’s energy,” Diehl said about acting on stage with her castmates. “At the end of the day, it’s enriching because it is such a unique experience.”

Widener prides itself on providing a learning environment that encourages self-confidence and exploration. Gomezrueda especially appreciates the university’s willingness to provide an outlet not only for her academic endeavors, but also her love of the arts.

“I don’t have to choose between the part of me that wants to do science, work in a lab, and build things, and the part of me that loves to act, dance, and sing,” said Gomezrueda. “I don’t have to make a choice and that’s really special.”