The Butler Did It

Article excerpt

Dr. John C. Green, associate professor and theater department chair at Butler University, believes that it is important for an undergraduate theater program to be connected in some way with the professional world. In 1999, he embarked on a quest to produce a professional strategic learning partnership with one of Indianapolis' renowned professional theaters, the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre. "After all, that's where most of the students are going to find their careers," Green explains. "The more exposure that students have to professional theaters, the better equipped they are to make career decisions upon graduation." IRT was keen to the idea. The partnership proved so successful that in 2000, the Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis also joined in.

The innovative combined partnership programs enhance the core studies in acting, directing, voice, movement, sets, lighting, costume design, stagecraft, makeup, theater history, play analysis and arts administration at Butler and open many more doors of opportunities. By working with the staff and acting companies on extended projects, viewing productions and taking professional internships and paid employment opportunities, students become involved in the entire operation of these major regional theaters.

Butler Theatre, as the theater department at Butler University is called, is part of the Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University and is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theater. Admission to the technical theater program is by "extended interview," in which a prospective student is given the opportunity to present his or her portfolio of work. Faculty include professor Owen Schaub (theater history and stage lighting), assistant professor Wendy Meaden (costume design and history), assistant professor Madeleine Sobota (scenic and lighting design) and technical director Glen Thoreson.

The 2002-03 season is devoted to five plays by "theater mavericks," including Federico Garcia Lorca and Samuel Beckett.The department is mounting a production of Reverse Psychology by Charles Ludlam this month. In early April, Green will be directing Heiner Muller's Hamletmachine, while Louis Muinzer, a renowned William Butler Yeats scholar from Belfast, Northern Ireland, will be directing Yeats' The Dreaming Of The Bones in the latter half of the month. In addition to the mainstage season, students are also given a chance to direct plays, including a number of site-specific projects located in and around the city of Indianapolis.

Technical theater students at Butler University have a wide variety of courses to chose from, including "Costume Design And Construction," "Stage Lighting," Makeup," "Scenography" and "Stage Directing. …