Department of Theatre Newsletter
In a Memorandum of Understanding signed in December, the CSU Department of Theatre and the 145-year-old State Theatre of Georgia have merged their missions to create a professional theatre company with a focus on artistic excellence and finding jobs for graduates.
"The Georgia Repertory Theatre offers a dynamic new operating model that we expect to have a national impact on the American theatre industry," said Paul Pierce, producing artistic director of the Springer Opera House. The goal of the Georgia Repertory Theatre (GRT) is to be "America's professional teaching theatre," featuring the nation's finest stage talent, teachers and blue chip students and making Columbus a national hotspot for artistic innovation and training."
"Over the years, Columbus has carefully assembled a theatre infrastructure that is virtually unmatched anywhere in the country," said CSU President Chris Markwood. "With the advent of this partnership, I hope we will use these programs and these great facilities to further launch Columbus into the national spotlight."
"Within two blocks, CSU and the Springer collectively own four state-of-the-art theatres, 250,000 square feet of amazing production and education facilities and employ 34 of the nation's finest theatre practitioners," explained CSU Department of Theatre Chair Larry Dooley. "Separately, we are better than average operations. Together, we are among the best in the world. It's time to rally all of these resources together to make history."
Some immediate changes and advances include:
— Combining ticketing systems, which will now allow online sales for CSU productions
— Strategic casting of CSU students in lead roles at The Springer, which compliments ongoing internships and other collaborative efforts
— CSU faculty in design and performance roles at The Springer
— CSU and The Springer are currently investigating bringing prominent professionals to Columbus for work with students and, possibly, featured roles at The Springer
Other notable goals of The Georgia Repertory Theatre's include:
— Make Columbus ground zero for top-ranked theatre and film training in America
— Expand enrollment to make CSU the largest and best theatre department in the South
— Present world premieres of new plays by Georgia playwrights
— Establish formal paths to employment for students in theatre and film
— Provide subsidized tickets for all students in every school in every district
— Provide free performances for all Title I schools in the Muscogee County School District
— Establish a national audience development conference hosted by GRT
— Create student showcases for agents, producers and directors in Atlanta and New York
This is an exciting time for Educational and Professional theatre in Columbus and in the State of Georgia.
Summer Theatre Continues Growth
Columbus Repertory Theatre, the summer theatre company of the Columbus State University's Department of Theatre, set a new record for attendance for their three-show season of The Mystery of Irma Vep, Young Frankenstein and Junie B. Jones, The Musical. 3381 patrons attended the summer performances, a 22.6 Percent increase over last summer's figures.
In the summer of 2014, in the fourth season of the company, Columbus Repertory Theatre drew 2000 patrons for the first time. A goal was set to increase attendance by 10 percent for 2015. Final figures indicated an increase of 35.6 percent, exceeding all expectations. 2016's more modest goal of 5 percent increase was also significantly surpassed in this record setting season. The two-year increase in the summer audience is an amazing 66 percent.
• The mainstage production (Young Frankenstein) averaged more than 100 patrons per night for the second year in a row (104.9).
• The Mystery of Irma Vep set a record for average attendance for a dinner theatre production (44.9).
• Junie B. Jones was the first of our family productions to average more than 100 patrons per performance (134.6)
Faculty and Student Achievements
Assistant Professor of Theatre, David Turner, appeared on Season 3 of the AMC series TURN: Washington's Spies. Professor Turner co-stars in Episode 4 as a colonial cowboy in search of a missing Continental soldier. TURN stars Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot) and Angus McFadden (Braveheart) in the cat and mouse game of espionage during the Revolutionary War. AMC (American Movie Classics) is known for such hit television series as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and Mad Men.
The Department's M.Ed in Theatre and Dance has received full accreditation and a commendation by the National Association of Schools of Theatre. The undergraduate program in theatre was accredited by NAST in 2013.
Phillip Hall and Chiara Bertarioni, two of the Department's design students, received Honorable Mentions this spring for their work in Lighting and Scenic Design, respectively at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Region IV Festival.
Kasie Slay and her partner Desi Evans made the semi-final round of the Irene Ryan Auditions at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Region IV Festival.