productions we call Mainstage we assemble and perform in the E.
E. Bach Theatre. Great effort is expended to closely
control the experience for our audience, making our presentations there quite
formal in intent, and for these productions we make full use of
the facilities offered by the design and equipment of that theatre.
we want to use these mainstage productions to provide experience in relatively
elaborate mountings, we usually end up with a sizable budget at risk.
This, of course, demands a certain degree of popular appeal
for the presentations we schedule there, since our University Theatre program
is primarily box-office driven. Also, therefore, the
number of seats we need to fill becomes important as do the number
of performances. The productions normally are
scheduled for two-weekend runs; weekend performances are far easier to sell than
mid-week performances. We usually schedule a
minimum of six or seven performances, with some audience-successful productions
receiving as many as ten. An invited-audience preview
serves as a final dress rehearsal.
a number of performances for our productions is of value to cast and running crew
as well as box-office income, since it allows for the development of a settled
performance pattern over several presentations. It
also allows for the comparison of several different audience responses to
essentially the same material—amazing creature, the audience, a real
shape-shifter from night to night.
Mainstage productions are often tied to other institutional interests such as
Homecoming, Fellows events, University Core classes, high school groups, and such
like. This circumstance gives them a somewhat greater
visibility and more notoriety, but it also increases the pressure for artistic
and popular success. The needs for alumni approbation,
or major donor appeasement, or intellectual discussion for course content always
lurk behind our Mainstage work. But these are constituencies
of the institution we are committed to serve while carrying on an internship program
for your interests, and so the tensions must be embraced.
The visual aspects, (scenery and costume), of the Mainstage productions is usually
created by the theatre faculty scenographer. The lighting and sound designs are
created by invited professional designers who produce work at major professional
theatres in the Seattle area. This is an intentional characteristic of the program
which provides opportunity for our students to work with professional designers
other than those on the theatre faculty, and to expose the invited designers to
the theatre program at Seattle Pacific University. Student designers are not excluded
from Mainstage design positions. Students who have excelled in design classes
and are ready for the task of creating work for a Mainstage production are often
selected to design one of the aspects of the production under the tutelage of
a faculty member.
Studio Theatre and Backstage Production