Perspectives

Auburn Alumnus returns to play leading role in Auburn University Theatre's production of "Big Fish"

Photo of actor Ben Strickland

Ben Strickland, a ’17 alumnus, is returning to campus to star in the Department of Theatre’s upcoming production of “Big Fish.” Strickland, who has been rehearsing for his role as Edward Bloom, said he is excited to be a part of the production and looks forward to bringing the characters to life with the cast and crew here at Auburn. Of the performance, he said is most looking forward to performing the song “Daffodils” in front of an audience. 

“I think it’s one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever heard,” Strickland said. 

“Big Fish” is a musical about love, loss and adventure, and tells the incredibly tall tale of Edward Bloom, an Alabama traveling salesman with a rather heightened flair for the dramatic.

Strickland graduated with a bachelor in fine arts degree specializing in performance. During his time as an undergrad, he was in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Frankenstein,” “The Foreigner,” and “Assassins.” 

After graduating from Auburn, Strickland accepted an apprenticeship with the Aurora Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. His first production with the Aurora was “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Strickland said that he was “scared to death” going into the first rehearsal. He said he felt at ease once he talked to some of the other cast members and realized many were around the same age as him. “We were all in the same boat!” Strickland said with a sigh of relief. He went on to work in other capacities at the Aurora; as an understudy, a carpenter, a backstage hand, voiced the Devil in the production of “Abigail/1702” as well as assistant director for “MayTag Virgin.” His apprenticeship with the Aurora ended with his last performance of “Mamma Mia,” after which Strickland claims he can “never listen to ABBA again.” He stayed with the Aurora Theatre through November after being cast in their production of “Newsies,” and then shortly following that worked as an understudy for “Nick’s Flamingo Grill” at the Alliance Theatre, home to numerous pre-Broadway shows. 

When asked about some insights from his career thus far, Strickland said, “don’t take for granted the amount of freedom you have while you’re in college and don’t take for granted the amount knowledge you’re being given.” He also talked about how important it is to keep doing the same things repeatedly because these are the fundamentals that you’ll need to be successful. “If you learn them now, they will be second nature by the time you graduate.” Lastly, he advised current students to “enjoy the abilities you have right now to explore and the time you’re given to make mistakes here, because mistakes are the best learning moments.” 

Come see Strickland and the rest of the cast in the production of “Big Fish” opening at the Telfair Peet Theatre on February 14th, running until February 24th. Tickets are available online by visiting  https://theatretickets.auburn.edu 

If you have any ticketing questions or concerns please email theatre@auburn.edu or call the Box Office at 334-844-4154. 

Written by Rachele Deluca
 

Last Updated: February 18, 2019