primary objective of the production program is, of course, to provide Theatre
majors and others with a convenient and accessible resident and professional-style
internship experience. In practical terms, even
though Seattle is rich in theatre production companies, not everyone could be
placed in them, and even if such placement were possible the broad range of needful
experiences would not be available in that context. Production
companies are not in the education business, after all, nor would they allow interns
the responsibilities offered by our program. In a
similar vein, the work of University Theatre affords laboratory application
of concepts and techniques described and initiated in the lecture and studio
courses offered by the Department
of Theatre (and even other departments such as Communication
Underscoring the legitimacy of this concept is the fact that most involvement
in the production program is credit bearing, and is evaluated for success
by an instructor in similar ways as other course enrollments.
Your effort for a University Theatre production is not an “extra”
curricular activity but is acknowledged as “curricular”, and therefore
subject to academic scrutiny and evaluation as is your other course work.
productions also embrace and enhance the general education concerns
of the university’s curriculum. Involvement
in the program bears general education credit through the Theatre practica numbers,
this credit granted because such activity is deemed valuable for the non-major
in terms of developing creativity and fostering understanding of the ways in which
the arts communicate. Also, as indicated above, the
productions are often employed by the University
Core and other campus general education courses as a featured part of course
content, supplementing already established content.
from instruction in technical skills of theatrical production, the University
Theatre program is designed to hone leadership, organizational, and
group skills in its participants. The communal
nature of the acts involved in assembling a performance demands careful ordering
of priorities, in both the tasks to be accomplished and also in the relationship
of one’s own task to another person’s task; accomplishing your task
in a timely, ordered manner and knowing where your job leaves off and another’s
begins are skills which cross into many of life’s obligations.
Working with a group, the giving and taking of corporate decision
making, is another skill taught by communal artistry as demanded by theatre production.
Setting a group goal and working together to accomplish that goal excellently
are among the greatest joys of the production setting, and a much different experience
than, say, the group reading and shared discussion of a play script.
The communal activity is of tremendous significance, and is clearly one
of the major attractions for those of us who produce theatre. Theatre is more
about selflessness than it is about self.
curricular purpose of the University Theatre program is that of exposing
the campus (and ourselves) to a wide range of theatrical literature, including
the new scripts we create. For us, the coming to grips
with a script’s ideas, structure, and style—and applying generalization
from that experience to scripts of similar structure and style—allows for
a much more intimate understanding of entire blocks of play scripts than might
otherwise be available through passive reading. And
for our audiences, saturated with television’s easy situation comedy and
romantic melodrama, providing insight into alternate possibilities for dramatic
art is an academic imperative: not so much the teaching of facts but the opening
of possibilities is the obligation of all education.