The program in Theater Arts encourages students to take advantage of the many performance opportunities on campus and off. Engaging an audience in performance is both a direct extension of what is learned in the classroom as well as an elegant expression of the work that takes place in the studio. In addition to the many credit-bearing creative experiences on offer there is also an array of extra-curricular performance opportunities. Our students regularly participate in the many student-governed extra-curricular performing arts groups, frequently get involved in one of the Dramashop Productions where they work alongside Theater Arts Faculty, Staff, and Guest Artists in the mounting of full productions, and often become directly involved in the many research endeavors undertaken by Theater Arts faculty, both on campus and in the field.
Dramashop is a student-run producing organization supervised by elected student officers in concert with members of the Theater Arts Faculty and Staff. Founded over sixty years ago, Dramashop mounts three, credit-bearing productions per year along with a number of unique special events. Full productions include the IAP mainstage production; a mini festival of student written, directed and acted one-act plays; and a Spring mainstage production. Students may participate in Dramashop Productions whether or not they pursue a course of study in Theater Arts, but all productions directed or supervised by the Theater Arts faculty are credit bearing. For more information about Dramashop, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Extra-Curricular Theater and Dance
In addition to Dramashop, extra-curricular theater and dance, not supervised by the faculty, abound at MIT. Since these groups exist independent of the program in Theater Arts, participation in their productions is not credit bearing. The Shakespeare Ensemble is devoted almost exclusively to the production of Shakespeare’s plays; presenting two fully mounted productions during the school year as well as scene nights and master classes for newcomers and existing members alike. Other important extra-curricular organizations include the very active Musical Theater Guild, the MIT Asian Dance Team, the time-honored Gilbert and Sullivan Players, the Ballroom Dance Team, Dance Troupe, the improvisational dance company Movements in Time, and comedy group Roadkill Buffet, among others. The contributions of each are vital components of the diverse theatrical life of the MIT community. All extra-curricular performing arts groups undertake a full schedule of presentations throughout the year. A student-run listing of all theater groups can be found at theater.mit.edu.
Theater Arts Performance Initiatives
Apart from student-governed organizations, but still with the collaboration of our students, the program in Theater Arts fields a number of research oriented performance projects, conferences, workshops, and special events per year. They projects take place both on campus and off and are often credit-bearing, practice-based, research experiences. In many cases these experiences involve direct participation in professional productions. Students have participated in performance projects at the Institute of Contemporary Arts/Boston, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Arts Emerson, American Repertory Theater, Houston Opera, The Cutler Majestic Theater in Boston, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and internationally in Germany, France, Norway, Japan, Peru, the United Kingdom and Hungary. Students are also encouraged to initiate their own independent productions and workshops with the support and mentorship of Theater Arts Faculty and Staff.
In addition, Playwrights-in-Performance annually offers advanced playwriting students the unique opportunity to rehearse and present their original plays under the direction of professional playwright and director. Senior Lecturer Anna Kohler’s semi-staged play-reading series It’s Alive! fosters collaboration between the MIT performance community and both emerging and lesser-known maverick playwrights from around the world with six presentations per year.
Many of our students go on to study theater arts in performance and design in pre-professional graduate schools (including Rhode Island School of Design, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Yale Drama School, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, McGill and Cal Arts) and many have gone on to active professional careers in theater, film and related fields. However, most students pursuing a course of study in Theater Arts at MIT go on to become great scientists, engineers, and technologists who find ways to incorporate the arts centrally in their lives and in their work. We are here to provide our students with an individualized artistic experience in the performing arts and to communicate a deep understanding of the artistic process.