The Renegade Theatre Experiment (RTE), a nonprofit group founded by six SCU theater grads in 2002, started when a group of friends wanted to find a way to keep their passion for theater alive-and still eat.”It was great to be able to share this thing that we all love to do, this passion for the theater, and also keep our day jobs,” said Stebbins.
Casual weekly meetings turned into scripts and storylines, which then turned into sets and rehearsals. Their first real crowd-bar hoppers at San Jose’s Fuel 44-took part in RTE’s signature “audience casting” experiment, where the audience chooses which actors play which parts in Avery Crozier’s play,”Eat the Runt.”The show was a hit, and Fuel 44’s sales boosted instantly.”After that,we all just kind of looked at each other and said,’we should do this,”‘ remembers Stebbins.
And so the after-work, on-weekends, lunch-hour affair of Renegade Theatre Experiment was born. Artistic Director Sean Murphy ’97 says RTE’s members are most proud of their commitment to pursue nonconventional, edgy pieces that aim to bring in new artists and new audiences.”Hear Me Roar,” performed last year at SCU’s Fess Parker Theatre, dealt with women’s self image and eating disorders.
By day, Stebbins works in business management and human resources, a gig that aligns nicely with her “second full-time job” as managing director of RTE. The group’s chief financial officer is a vice president at Comerica, and Murphy holds a creative position at Agil.
The troop is currently performing “Macbeth,” and they are in talks to perform “Eat the Runt” as the spotlight series at San Jose’s City Lights Theatre, run by Tom Gough ’87.
Stebbins is also coming up on her five-year reunion at Santa Clara. With success and growth on the horizon for her and the other “synergistic minds” of RTE, she will be able to brag that she is, indeed, using her theater degree.