The Department of Theatre is a member of the University/Resident Theatre Association and operates The Clarence Brown Theatre (CBT), a LORT D Equity theatre. The Head of the Department, Calvin A. MacLean, is also the Artistic Director of the CBT, and the Department and CBT are fully integrated in all aspects of mission and function. The CBT has a professional staff of more than 25 full and part time employees, and offers a full production calendar of new and classical plays, musicals, and international work that are vital to the cultural life of the region. The Department has three venues for productions: the Clarence Brown mainstage (574 seat proscenium/thrust), the Ula Love Dougherty Carousel Theatre (350 seat in-the-round), and the Lab Theatre, (125 seat black box).
The dual mission of the Department/CBT — to train future theatre artists in the context of a professional theatre — comes together each year in the production season. MFA and BA students acquire production experience with a wide range of dramatic material, alongside established professionals and under the guidance of faculty, in all three of our theatrical spaces. Typical seasons in recent years have offered eight or nine shows. Four shows are LORT, and four are more student/training focused. LORT shows feature professional actors, directors, and designers, with graduate and undergraduate students playing featured and/or supporting roles. Non-LORT shows still include professional directors, designers, and actors, but are conceived with greater emphasis upon student opportunities. For a record of CBT production seasons, please go to:
In addition to the CBT season, MFA students may be assigned to studio “rehearsal projects” if and when they are not engaged in CBT productions. Rehearsal Projects are simply staged studio performances. Directed by professionals but not advertised in the Clarence Brown season, the focus of projects is upon the actor’s process, more than upon product. Production design elements are minimized. Actors are able to work more purely upon character, relationship, and story; to take greater risks in their work and growth; to overcome fears and follow impulses; to apply changes in their work. Offered to audiences of the general public in small spaces, the result is often intimate and powerful work that actors find vital to their development.
Also in addition to the CBT season, BA students produce shows through All Campus Theatre (ACT). ACT is student produced, directed, designed, and acted. Funding for ACT productions comes from student fees. Faculty and CBT staff provide selective support and guidance for ACT productions, but these shows are student-driven projects. For more information on how to propose a project, please refer to the links above left for “Student Opportunities” and “Lab Projects and Proposals,” under the link for “Academic Programs.”