An Interview with Meridith Roberson

by Delia McDevitt


Meridith Roberson on Her Experience at the Open Jar Institute

First, what is the Open Jar Institute?

The Open Jar Institute is an actor’s training workshop in New York City. It includes high school and college sessions held every summer. Students from all over the United States, London, and Canada audition for spots at this vigorous camp. There are three total sessions, and 60 students are chosen for each session. They also offer a Residency Program for older students. The summer sessions offer a week of intense acting, dancing, and vocal classes. These classes are taught by some of Broadway’s finest performers. In addition, every night the students have the opportunity to attend a Broadway production.

How did the audition process run? Was it nerve­wracking?

The auditions were held at Bethel. The process consisted of learning a dance combination from a broadway show and singing a 32­bar song of your choice. It was extremely nerve­wracking because there were only two other high school students that auditioned. The vast majority of people trying out were at the collegiate level.

How many students were accepted from this area?

Four or five I believe. I was the only high schooler accepted of the 3 who auditioned at Bethel. The other few were in college.

What would a regular day at Open Jar consist of?

I would wake up at 8:45 a.m. and would have to be at the studio down the block for breakfast by 9:45 a.m. All the participants were split up into various color groups based on their age. These color groups were the people that you would rotate to classes with throughout the day. After breakfast, my group would either go to an hour and a half of dance class, acting class, or vocal class. After that we would switch to a different class, and then we would meet back up for lunch. Following lunch, would have our final class of the day. When all the classes were through, we would have a little time to get ready for dinner. I ended my day by seeing a Broadway show. The next day, the routine was repeated. At the end of the week, we left having seen Waitress, The Color Purple, SomethingRotten, and Shuffle Along. I learned so much and had best time of my life.

It sounds like truly spectacular experience. We’re so happy you could represent Paris on your Big Apple journey.

I have one final question. Was New York as awe­inspiring as it’s made out to be?

Mostly. The only thing I didn’t expect or particularly enjoy was the smell and all the trash. I also wouldn’t recommend the city to anyone who is claustrophobic.

Definitely. Thank you Meridith! It was so nice to talk with you. Paris looks forward to hearing about all of your future endeavors. We hope to see your name in lights.

Meridith at the top of the World Trade Center during her week in NYC. 

Meridith at the top of the World Trade Center during her week in NYC.