College students blend social media, theater

DAVIDSON – Fidgeting with a smartphone in a theater is typically taboo, but a new play written and produced by Davidson College students encourages the audience to do just that.

“Spark Source” explores the social implications of technology and social media. The play focuses on how the creation of a social media network called “Spark Source” links four characters together through online interactions.

Upon buying a ticket, audience members will receive a password granting them access to the production’s social media network. The audience will be encouraged to post questions, confessions, opinions or thoughts on the network. .

The four characters will also post to the forum before and during the play, breaching the boundary between stage and audience. Characters are played by Bill Reilly, Christine Noah, Virginia Darcey and Chris Blanchard.

Theater majors Christian Hatch, Quincy Newkirk, Christine Noah and Allen Rigby wrote “Spark Source” over the summer.

“We want to encourage people to think about how technology and social media affects their lives,” Newkirk said. “’Spark Source’ highlights the range of consequences and benefits of an individual’s actions behind a digital screen.”

The students developed the idea of producing the play when their “Contemporary Performance” theater class took a trip to New York City last spring and attended highly interactive theater that involved the audience, Newkirk said.

Rigby described producing the play as the most comprehensive experience he’s had at Davidson College. “Taking what I’ve learned about traditional theater processes and applying it to a more collaborative model has opened my mind to more possibilities of theater creation,” Rigby said.


Want to go?
See “Spark Source” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 and 28 and 2 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Warehouse Performing Arts Center, 9216 Westmoreland Road, Cornelius. Tickets cost $10 for general admission and $5 for students. Tickets are available at