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Handbook Appendices Forms Theatre Scholarships For Theatre Majors, Minors, and Intendeds University Theatre Handbook Table of Contents Theatre Home


Over the years we have settled on a production season consisting of five “public” prepara­tions plus the touring shows of the SPU University Players.  Each year we also strive to accommodate a number of “invitation-only” class and laboratory productions as they are brought forward and can be fitted around the dates and energy requirements of the remainder of the season.  It is the belief of the faculty that any fewer productions will not adequately satisfy student needs for experience—the number of production preparation opportunities and the needful variety of stylistic exposures—but that any consistently scheduled additions will (given our present personnel and financial limitations) send us all into hiding under our desks.  Actually, under your desk is not a bad place to be when other sanctuary fails.  Who bothers to look?

B.4.a  Production Patterns.  Our seasonal plan acknowledges the fact that theatre can and does exist in all manner of circumstances:

  It can be highly formal in its presentation, carefully controlling the company-to-audience messaging process, or as informal as a group of friends showing off for each other like children at play, creating nothing but delightful interaction.  We are obliged to explre both formal and informal presentations.


  It can be performed nearly anywhere: outdoor amphitheaters, specifically de­signed and well equipped performance spaces, “found” (and usually poorly equipped) spaces, church sanctuaries, gymnasiums, classrooms, even grassy patches.  Most anywhere.  We must be prepared for all venues.

Attempting to extend experience in all these preparations, our production schedule is divided into mainstage, studio, laboratory, and touring formats, the latter primarily through the work of the University Players.

It’s important to note that our program attaches no value to the artistic distinctions between the various types of presentation.  For example. when you are cast in or stage manage a studio production, the artistic requirements of your task are of equal value to similar work you will do on a mainstage production.  Designing and operating the sound plot for a University Players show demands the same creativity and discipline as does the similar assignment for either a studio or mainstage presentation.  The learning you gain from directing and putting together your own material for a laboratory produc­tion, or designing the light plot for a studio production, or costuming a student production, is of equal (and oftentimes greater) value to your development as an artist as is  effort ex­pended on a larger mainstage production.

Distinctions lie, of course, in the scope of the artistic task.  But the size of the role or the length of the script are false measurements of artistic achievement.  As are the number of people in the audience for a given performance, or the aggregate number who see a given production.  Is the production of Cats on Broadway of greater value than The Three Little Kittens in an elementary school?  Of different value, perhaps, but greater?

These are questions for you to wrestle with during the period of your training.  But for our purposes, the University Theatre production program must focus on artistic viability and on educational appropriateness for measurement of success.

Next Section: B4b: Mainstage Productions

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