PRODUCTION AND PERFORMANCE
Our production program is, in many ways, the heart of our department. It is through presentation of our work on stage that we make our most distinctive contribution to the Dickinson community. Our production program is also the equivalent of our "laboratory" where we learn by doing and apply in practical ways the theoretical learning of the traditional classroom. In the sections below you will find useful information about how our programs in production and performance are conceived and executed.
OUR TYPICAL PRODUCTION SEASON
Each season we produce three "major" theatre productions and two mainstage dance concerts. The Fall Dance Concert is customarily choreographed by faculty and visiting professional choreographers. In the spring, the work of student choreographers is featured. One of the theatrical productions each year (usually in the winter) is chosen with the specific interests of our seniors as a primary criteria. The other productions, within a four-year cycle alternate in nature, with the goal of exposing student performers (and our audiences) to as wide a variety of theatrical styles as possible. Musical theatre productions are done in collaboration with our department of music every other year. In years in which we don't produce a major musical, we often include "period" plays and verse plays--especially the work of Shakespeare. Other selections are made striving for a mix of contemporary and classic plays both comedic and dramatic.
PRODUCTION STAFF POSITIONS
Positions on the artistic staff of each production are open to students by application. A call for applications listing the positions available is posted on the departmental Call Board. Interested students should fill out an application (which can be found on the wall inside the Box Office). While preference is often given to students who have taken courses in related areas, there are often opportunities to learn "on the job". All students who have the time, energy and commitment to give to a production are encouraged to investigate these opportunities.
Our Freshman Plays program is a longstanding tradition in our department, and is often the way students begin their involvement in theatre at Dickinson. They are one act plays, presented each year in December, which feature casts comprised exlusively of first-year students. They are directed by students in completion of requirements for their Advanced Directing class. Auditions are held each fall in late September.
Many first-year students also contribute to the Freshman Plays by serving as lighting and sound board operators, assistant stage managers and running crew members. Opportunities to serve in this way are announced and processed through the Mermaid Players. There are also many student produced and directed theatrical productions which are announced through the year, most particularly the season of "Lab Shows" which customarily occupy our studio theatre (the Cubiculo) through the month of April.
THE DANCE THEATRE GROUP
For decades, the Dance Theatre Group (DTG) has been the primary producer of Dance at Dickinson College. The DTG is a co-curricular student organization that works with the Department of Theatre and Dance to produce dance concerts, arrange guest residencies, organize field trips and many other activities. Membership is open to all Dickinson students regardless of major and level of experience. All members of DTG are required to attend weekly "company class" which brings together all members on a regular basis. Early in each semester, auditions are held for Spring and Fall Dance Concerts. Auditions are open to all students.
Dickinson College is a member of the American College Dance Festival Association. Each year, members of our Dance Theatre group travel off-campus for four days of master classes and performances at the regional American College Dance Festival. Students have performed at these festivals in both the adjudicated and informal concert formats. We have attended ACDFA festivals hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Kentucky, Cornell University, North Carolina State University, and Pennsylvania State University and others.
THE MERMAID PLAYERS
Named after a college landmark (a weathervane which sits above our oldest building, Old West) the Mermaid Players are a co-curricular student organization which co-produces a season of theatrical performances with the department of Theatre and Dance. The "MPs" also produce a season of "Lab Shows" each spring and collaborated with the department in selecting and staffing each theatrical production. They are an acitve social organization as well, arranging weekly "Greenroom Lunches" production parties and other social events through the year.
Membership in the Mermaid Players is open to all students who meet the membership criteria. Students earn membership "points" through contributions to the production program,proceeding from participants to provisional members to full members. One of the highlights of the year is the annual Players/DYG banquet at which new members are acknowledged and all members new and old (and the faculty) are "roasted" through a series of traditional skits and "awards".
Auditions for all departmental productions are open to all enrolled Dickinson students regardless of major. Any student willing and able to make the substantial commitment required is welcome to join us in producing excellent theatre and dance.