Alumni-led theater group presents interactive theatrical experience

Posted by Hannah Gaschler on 1/20/24 12:13 PM

Victory Swing poster

The local theater community, consisting largely of PHC alumni, will present The Victory Swing, an immersive theatrical experience intended for all ages, on Jan. 19-21 and Feb. 2-4. The Victory Swing is hosted by the Morrison brothers and Rapid Felicities, a social dance company started by PHC alumna Brianna Kelly. The show is directed by PHC alumna Jane White, and other PHC alumni coordinate props and marketing.

Watch the trailer here!

The Victory Swing follows the story of a young couple separated by war in London during Hitler’s Blitzkrieg. The characters’ lines come from letters that were actually written during World War II. “It’s one thing to have a powerful script. It’s another thing to realize that almost all the words in the script aren’t written by a playwright,” alumnus and lead actor Elias Gannage said. “It becomes way more real and way more impactful.” 

The show highlights the fact that the British danced during World War II as a way to prove they weren’t afraid of the Nazis. “That sort of ‘British bulldog spirit’ is a key part of the story and an easy way of combining the serious tone of a World War II story with swing dancing, which is intentionally festive,” Gannage said. 

Audience members have plenty of opportunities to swing dance, and the costumed extras will teach anyone who wants to learn to swing. “We want to create the experience of attending a World War II swing dance," Gannage said. "You get to see the story played out on stage and on the dance floor.”

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The theater community’s first interactive theatrical experience was The Fezziwig Ball, hosted around Christmas of 2022, and it integrated country dancing into the Christmas Carol. The Victory Swing is different because people will dance swing instead of country, so there will be no formal dance instruction. Additionally, The Victory Swing includes more cinematic elements, such as an original soundtrack, sound effects, and lighting effects. 

Even though Rapid Felicities is hosting the experience, many of the extras–including several PHC alumni and children of professors–have also participated in community theater productions of Jupiter Theater Company, founded by PHC alumnus Christian Fernandez. The involvement of PHC alumni in local theater reveals how they have maintained a sense of community after graduation. 

Many of the PHC alumni currently involved in theater participated in Eden Troupe, PHC’s drama group. “I think one of the biggest community builders on campus is Eden Troupe,” Gannage said. He explained that working together as a team to present a successful production brings people together. “What’s unique about Eden Troupe is that there’s no faculty looking over your shoulder the entire time,” Gannage said. “You’re not being coached by an ‘adult.’ Because of that, the responsibility all rests on the students themselves.”

Read about a recent Eden Troupe production

He explained that theater is the only collegiate group that continues after graduation, unlike sports and forensics. “For those that stay in the area, theater is one of the best ways to stay connected with fellow PHC alumni,” he said.

Gannage started participating in Eden Troupe his freshman year, and he has continued working with some of the same people, including Jane White and Aaron and Elisabeth Kamakawiwoole. “If there’s one thing PHC teaches us to love, it’s the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, and stories are a good way of communicating that,” he said. “[Theater] creates this community of people that love to tell stories and love good stories.”

Eden Troupe CTA


 Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.


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