UMW Theatre enjoyed an amazing 2018-19 season, playing to over 6,500 people for 48 performances of four productions in Klein Theatre. Already our students, faculty, and staff are hard at work on the 2019-20 season.
The cast of our first production, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]—a mad romp through the entire canon of the world’s most recognized playwright—returned to school in mid-August to begin rehearsals. Students are hard at work in rehearsal for Lisa Kron and Jeanie Tesori’s gorgeous musical Fun Home (adapted from Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir of the same name) preparing for its November opening. Student actors and stage managers rehearse six days a week to prepare for opening—a demanding and rewarding process that comes to fruition when an audience gathers in Klein Theatre to experience their work.
The Department of Theatre and Dance enjoys loyal and generous audience support from the university and greater Fredericksburg regional area. UMW Theatre is a much-loved cultural resource both on campus and well beyond.
Nearly 800 students participated in theatre productions in Klein Theatre last season by acting, building scenery, stitching costumes, working on lighting or sound, painting, building props, running the performances, or working in stage management, house management, ticketing, or the marketing and communications office. While a great number of these students are theatre majors and musical theatre or arts administration minors, many are students who find their way to duPont Hall with an interest in theatre or significant experience with their high schools. Some students satisfy the experiential learning requirement of the general education through THEA 390: Theatre Practicum. This one-credit graded course allows students to learn a specific area of theatre by assuming a position of responsibility or by contributing to a collaborative team effort in support of a theatre production.
Downstairs in Studio 115, the 35-seat black box theatre, a committee of students programmed 32 performances of 18 different projects, including a First-Year Showcase that highlighted the talents of our newest students. The faculty entrusts students to produce theatre in this fully-outfitted laboratory theatre as a space in which students can put into practice what they learn in their classes.
Participating in theatre productions is an extraordinary opportunity for students to work side-by-side faculty and staff on all facets of bringing the dramatic literature to life. Students hone their time management, leadership, and collaboration skills while also earning proficiencies in the dozens of specialties that each production requires—electrics, carpentry, sewing, painting, theatre crafts, and the many aspects of stage management and arts administration. All of these contribute to students’ readiness to begin a career—whatever that may be—when they graduate from UMW.
The 2019-20 season continues next semester with Adam Gwon’s Ordinary Days—a haunting musical about life, love, and loss (February 12-23)—and closes with one of Shakespeare’s most-loved comedies, Much Ado About Nothing (April 8-19). For more information on these productions, visit FredTix.com.