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MORE THAN ACTING

By Regina Velázque

“What are the elements of theater that are most sparking for you right now?” asks Danielle King, producer and director of organizational culture for the Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF), sitting in a circle of 20 students in the CenterStage at the ’62 Center. The students answer:

“Directing, a bit of technology.”

“Writing and acting.”

“Performing and casting.”

“Writing, and now—maybe producing?”

Those responses are exactly what Ann Marie Dorr has been hoping for. As the program director for the Williams College-WTF Summer Intensive Training Program, Dorr wants her students to get a taste of possible careers in theater besides acting. Introducing them to someone like King is all part of the plan.

“There’s no one path to doing what you want to do,” King tells them.

The students—10 from Williams and 10 from other colleges—are gathered for a newly imagined summer program where they learn by attending workshops and seminars, observing work done behind the scenes, meeting industry professionals and steeping themselves in the WTF culture. In addition to the strictly 40 hours of work they do within the program, they have the opportunity to participate in any facet of theater that piques their interest, whether it be helping audience members find their seats or stitching in the costume shop. Since late June, they have been focusing on the three main shows that WTF produced this season, dissecting the issues and technical challenges of each in a classroom setting.

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All the world is a stage. Recently, it seems that instead of learning to avoid what theatre exposes, such as aggression and slandering others, the show becomes reality. The stage helps us to examine such attempts, not to copy them. Theatre is meant to preserve universal values. What we find on the stage is a manual for the betterment of humanity with hope that change is possible. When you are on the stage, the character is not you. Instead, you are merely the messenger. Do not be afraid to use the stage to demonstrate all aspects of humanity. This is how we inspire others to imagine a kinder, better, and more just future for all. This can be your mission. Now, step into it.

We offer classes on theory and practice, and will be putting together new theatre productions — including:

THEA 101: The Art of Playing: An Introduction to Theatre and Performance, Prof. Shanti Pillai
THEA 103: Acting: Fundamentals, Prof. Omar Sangare
THEA 229: Modern Drama, Prof. James Pethica
THEA 283: The Actor-Creator: Introduction to Physical Theatre Tools, Prof. Emmanuelle Delpech
THEA 315: Inhabited Theatrical Environments: Scenic Design for Performance, Prof. Barbara Samuels
THEA 397: Independent Study: Theatre, Prof. Omar Sangare
THEA 401: Senior Seminar: Practicing Theory, Prof. Rob Baker-White
THEA 493: Senior Thesis: Theatre, Prof. Omar Sangare

Fall 2022
Theatre: A Love Story
by Caridad Svich
Directed by Emmanuelle Delpech

Spring 2023
The Shakuntala Project
Directed by Shanti Pillai
Dramaturgy by Amy Holzapfel

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2021/2022 Season brochure

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The department works to create many varieties and levels of student involvement, including traditional classroom interactions; advanced work in acting, design, directing, and scholarship; and mentored relationships with faculty and guest artists.

The Department of Theatre at Williams combines artistic practice with scholarly inquiry, inspiring students to engage simultaneously in craft and context, creativity and critical thinking. Believing that students learn by doing, we strive to create situations where the unique talents of each can coexist with mentorship and expert artistic guidance. Students who follow appropriate course sequences, and who demonstrate sufficient ability in their work, are encouraged to engage in projects that require a high level of responsibility and skill development.

The department works to create many varieties and levels of student involvement, including traditional classroom interactions; advanced work in acting, design, directing, and scholarship; and mentored relationships with faculty and guest artists. Students create and learn alongside accomplished theatre artists. Many are also granted opportunities to explore their own visions and to exercise their own developing skills through independent projects and self-produced performance.

Taking chances and risking failure intensify learning. In our department we create a safe forum in which students are free to experiment and critically examine the results. Although students will be equipped to proceed to graduate and professional schools in theatre, the major is primarily directed toward those interested in studying theatre as an interpretive and communicative tool, and finally as an artistic phenomenon.