Academic Theatre at WPI has provided many opportunities for students over the last three decades. The Humanities and Arts Drama/Theatre program teaches 21st century skills by making our students entrepreneurs, participants, team players, and by expecting them to be informed, creative young adults.
We have established a schedule of performances in B and D terms that works with academic and project deadlines and that has created credit-earning, hands-on learning opportunities for undergraduates. We have been happy to have Masque co-produce these productions with us.
We have supplemented production budgets and created an academic staff of work study and other students to support our academic performances. The Squad manages and supports every production in the Little Theatre, our HUA Drama/Theatre dedicated performance space. We have obtained funding for a PLA to advise students in course work and projects including the HUA requirement Inquiry Seminars and Inquiry Practicums, in the 1/6th ISP series, and occasionally in IQP or MQP. We have acquired work study funding for a Resource Librarian in our offices. We have expanded the 1/6th ISP for performance activities in A and C term Masque productions, which usually are co-sponsored by Drama/Theatre.
We have worked with Alpha Psi Omega to enhance the performance schedule by supporting the annual 24 Hour Show produced late in B term, and we have provided funding for special projects and other exceptional costs for the A and C Masque productions. The academic and professional staff have gladly served as advisors both formal and informally of those groups. It is an honor to serve student groups as advisors.
Since the Little Theatre opened in 2005 it has provided new and unique opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to produce a wide variety of theatre in the flexible, intimate environment of this dedicated space. Yet for mainly pragmatic reasons of time, money, resources, and the wonderfully ever-changing undergraduate population, we still have many hopes and dreams for the work of Drama/Theatre in the Little Theatre.
The Little Theatre is expensive to keep running at peak efficiency: the lights, audio, special effects, live feed, control booth equipment, and many other elements that carry expendable components must be constantly maintained and supplied by Drama/Theatre. In terms of production costs, Masque usually pays for what it uses in A and C terms [although not for most expendables]. We share some production expenses for the B term major production and for New Voices. Drama/Theatre indirectly funds elements of the Alpha Psi Omega 24 Hour show by granting full use of the Little Theatre and affiliated resources to the honor fraternity. The Alpha Psi Omega Rho Kappa cast at WPI is on charter through the HUA Department Drama/Theatre division.
Sincere thanks to the following for their commitment to and support of academic theatre at WPI: Kristin Boudreau, Head, Department of Humanities and Arts; Karen Oates, Dean of Arts and Sciences; and the Provosts, Presidents, and professors who have faithfully supported and attended the Drama/Theatre productions over the years.
Professor of Drama/Theatre
Director of Theatre, WPI
March 23, 2017