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Taylor Dyleski

Senior, production management
College of Liberal Arts

Taylor Dyleski is a senior majoring in production management and is the president of the student organization, AU Players. This year, the group is celebrating "100 Years of Playing" with the AU Players Alumni and Friends weekend, Feb. 28-March 2. Dyleski spent last summer researching the history of Auburn University Theatre and the AU Players and compiling photos and documents for an exhibit that is currently on display at the Telfair B. Peet Theatre. He is stage manager for the spring show, "9 to 5: The Musical" which opens this week.

1. What has been your favorite production experience at Auburn?

During the past four years I have worked on more than 20 productions. Currently, I'm stage managing "9 to 5: The Musical" and so far it has been a challenge! It is a huge show with many moving parts, and I am responsible for ensuring all 60 individuals are in the right place at the right time. Working a show of this caliber is daunting, but so rewarding because several members of the cast and crew are fellow seniors who I have worked and grown with since 2010. As long as everything goes as planned, I feel like this will end up being my favorite production.

2. What is the AU Players?

AU Players is a student organization that was founded in 1913 by 15 male students and Professor Wannamaker of the English department. AU Players was originally named the "Auburn Footlights," which was changed following WWI. Prior to 1958, when the theatre department was created, AU Players produced performances for the community. Since the creation of the theatre department though, members of AU Players perform, design and direct in all departmental shows. AU Players works alongside the department in any way possible. Since 1919, with its core group of students devoted to their love of theatre, the AU Players has continuously provided Auburn University with live theatre.

3. This year, the Department of Theatre is commemorating "100 Years of Playing." How are you celebrating?

My fellow officers and I, with the support of the College of Liberal Arts, are hosting a reunion the weekend of our 100th anniversary performance. We have invited all of the current AU Players and alumni. We are calling it our AU Players Alumni and Friends weekend. We plan to bring alumni from the past 50 years, past faculty and current students together for a weekend of reminiscing and camaraderie. The weekend will feature performances by the Mosaic Theatre Company and Radio Flyer Theatre, a historic walking tour via the theatre's perspective, performances of "9 to 5: The Musical," and our concluding cornerstone event.

4. What have been the most interesting things you've found in researching the theatre's last 100 years?

As large as Auburn University is now and as many departments as there are spread around our campus, I found it most interesting how small Auburn used to be. AU Players has taken part in so many important events at Auburn and called so many iconic buildings on campus its home. Not many know that the theatre's home was once the University Chapel for more than 50 years and that prior to the chapel, AU Players called the attic of Samford Hall their theatre. Some of the best stories I have read are in the 1920s Orange and Blue articles (predecessor of the Plainsman). The one article that stands out the most was a review of a performance of "The Monkey's Paw." The reporter wrote about how the performance had to be stopped every quarter hour for the tolling of the bell and how the bell tower was used as a dressing room. It is these ties to Auburn that I think make AU Players a special organization.

5. What are your plans for after graduation?

I will be graduating in December 2014, and my plan is to attend graduate school studying arts administration or nonprofit management to further my theatre career.

Feb. 17, 2014