Roanoke Student Hosts Popular Late-Night Theatre

Natalie Trolier ’11 Serves as Host and Performer in Downtown Roanoke’s No Shame Theatre

Natalie Trolier '11 is using her studies in an unexpected and unique way. The sophomore English major from Salem has combined her creativity and love of writing to produce original performance pieces for downtown Roanoke's No Shame Theatre, where she has become a regular. In fact, Trolier's talent has earned her the position as host at the popular, late-night venue.

No Shame Theatre, which takes place every Friday at 11p.m. at the Mill Mountain Theatre, is an opportunity for people to perform pieces they have written. The "anything goes" policy allows for almost no limit to what can be performed, which means that in one night you might witness a skit, poetry, music, dance, stand-up comedy and monologues. Trolier discovered No Shame during her senior year at Glenvar High School and, since then, has continuously participated by contributing monologues, memoirs and short skits. Although she tries to write something different every week, Trolier admits that her favorite pieces to perform are monologues. Not only do they help her conquer stage fright and public speaking anxieties, but she also enjoys the feedback she receives about them.

Trolier became host of No Shame in November 2007 after Todd Ristau, the show's creator, asked if she would take over for former host and fan favorite Ben Williams, who graduated from Roanoke in 2007. A host holds their position for a season, which typically lasts five months. Her job is to welcome everyone, go over the rules, give the order for the evening and then wrap up the show at the end.

As host, Trolier gets to meet new people each week and see "what everybody else is bringing to the table and what they come up with." No Shame encourages new talent, and seasoned veterans such as Trolier and Williams "always want people to come and always want to get new stuff." Since No Shame is one of few creative outlets in Roanoke, the theatre has little difficulty attracting new performers. Trolier says that people are still arriving until the very last minute, and they often have to limit the number of pieces performed a night. Regardless of who performs, Trolier is always entertained and looks forward to the varying lineup.

As a performer, Trolier combines her classroom knowledge and love for writing to create new pieces. Although she has been writing short stories since high school, it was not until she took a class at Roanoke with Dr. Bobbye Au that Trolier began to take the process seriously. "Dr. Au really motivated me to keep writing, and I pretty much haven't put a pencil down since," says Trolier. In fact, she carries around a small book so that she can easily write down ideas whenever they strike her. Trolier, a tutor at Roanoke's Writing Center, also was inspired by her boss, Dr. Sandee McGlaun, who requires her tutors to submit work and motivates them to strive for excellence in their writing. Academically, Trolier takes English classes that are more focused on writing so she receives as much practice as possible and purposely has a diverse course load, which she claims allows her to "test broader scales and test my hand at different things."

With all the experience she has gained in and out of the classroom, Trolier hopes to eventually become an author. Other than being a professional writer, Trolier also would like to teach high-school level English and inspire a new generation of shameless performers.