Georgia Southern Theatre student Benjamin Roberts recognized by the Black Theatre Network
Benjamin Roberts, a Georgia Southern University senior with a double major in theater and computer science, was named the second place Young Actor at the 2023 Black Theatre Network (BTN) Conference held this summer in St. Louis, Missouri.
Roberts was one of five young Black actors from across the country selected to attend the conference. Students had to submit auditions that included monologues, both comedic and dramatic, written by Black playwrights. Finalists were invited to workshops to hone their monologues and then resubmit.
While at the conference, Roberts attended performances, workshops and meetings, and attended a session with a Tony-winning producer Rashad Chambers.
There, Roberts gained industry knowledge on what agents are looking for in an actor, how to build relationships with an agent, how to find the right agent for you, things to avoid when searching for an agent and information on what it takes to be a producer.
“We were able to network with many professional Black actors, directors, playwrights, producers and agents,” said Roberts. “This year BTN was able to partner with Walt Disney which also gave us a meeting with them to give us insight on the auditioning processes at Disney, and allowed us to showcase our talent for their representatives. One of the judges from the competition was a casting director for Disney.”
Roberts and the other finalists also watched a one-man show,“Fly.” The production highlights the social justice, spiritual and political challenges of being Black and conscious in America.
“It was an amazing production which motivated us for the competition that followed the next day,” Roberts noted.
The conference also allowed the students to find acting opportunities post-graduation.
“The greatest thing about my experience with BTN was how they treated us, and the lengths they went to help showcase young and upcoming Black talent,” said Roberts. “They allowed us to be heard and be unapologetically Black. It was a space by us and for us, while providing great resources and opportunities to help us on our journey.”
The BTN is composed of artists, educators, scholars, students and theater-lovers who are dedicated to the exploration and preservation of the theatrical visions of the African Diaspora. For 35 years, the BTN has collected, processed and distributed information that supports the professional and personal development of its membership. For more information, visit https://blacktheatrenetwork.org/about.
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