Did you know that the SIU Department of Theater offers students an amazing blend of academic work, production experience and creative thinking that prepares them for a life in theater along with gateway degrees into the entire entertainment industry?

In order to fulfill such a dual mission of excellence in education and practice, the faculty, staff and students of the Department of Theater operate not only as members of an academic unit, but also as the administrators, artists and technicians for two fully-functioning Theater production companies: The SIU Theater and the McLeod Summer Playhouse. Together, these companies provide year-round research and creative activity opportunities in which 100 percent of theater students and faculty collaborate multiple times each year.

Our companies also fulfill a service mission for the department as they provide the university and the community a wonderful opportunity to view year-round live theater. The department produces eight to 10 productions each year, all of which show the vibrant quality of education, research and creative collaboration that occurs on a daily basis at SIUC. Each year, an average of 11,000 patrons experience the thrill of live theater at an SIUC theater or MSP production.

As you can imagine, this unique combination of scholarship and practice means a very active schedule for anyone involved in theater at SIUC. Besides the detailed planning that goes into the selection of plays for SIUC theater and McLeod Summer Playhouse, each individual production requires pre-production collaboration and design; casting, rehearsal and construction; and technical/dress rehearsals and performance. The entire process can take months of planning and work, and at any given time, the department is simultaneously working on three to six productions at various stages in that process.

The SIUC theater’s most recent production of “Spring Awakening” represented more than 3,900 hours of participation from undergraduate student performers and technicians, as well as the time, research and creative work invested by faculty and graduate-student designers, directors and technicians who lead the process. During the academic year, our faculty and staff ensure that we enhance student education and training through this production work that requires careful planning, constant collaboration, and a passionate dedication to investigation of and experimentation in the art of theater.

We invite you to attend the Department of Theater’s productions and experience the results of its investigation, experimentation and creation.

Following a taut thriller, "Boy Gets Girl," which runs Oct. 26-29, in the intimate Christian H. Moe Laboratory Theater, the department offers an encore presentation of last season’s successful, family-oriented holiday season production, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," on Nov. 30 through Dec. 3 in the McLeod Theater. And, in January, be sure to watch for the spring semester productions and the announcement of McLeod Summer Playhouse’s 2018 exciting summer season.

We hope you will take advantage of these live-theater performances provided by SIUC’s Theater Department right here in our Southern Illinois community.

Meera Komarraju is dean of the College of Liberal Arts at SIU.

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