Concordia University Theatre has established a tradition of producing classical and contemporary works that fulfill Aristotle's greatest charge: "To teach and to entertain." We are dedicated to staging plays and musicals that provoke critical thinking, expand cultural awareness, and inspire empathy within audiences that make up our community in Austin, Central Texas, and beyond.
2020: An Anthology Project
Directed by: Dr. Kelly Carolyn Gordon
In August of 2020, a collaborative ensemble of students was created with the goal of discovering ways to create theatrical performance under pandemic conditions. The ensemble has studied improvisation, Moment Work, Viewpoints, Newspaper Theatre, and other devising methods, as well as radio drama. We have titled the resulting group of projects 2020: An Anthology Project. Though guided by a director, the choice of projects to share with the public is student-driven and based on what the ensemble is most excited to perform. So far, these projects are:
The Suffragist Project
In honor of the 100th anniversary of women in the United States legally exercising their right to vote for the first time, we are creating five short video performances of five important suffragette speeches. The speeches will be posted on social media with the purpose of educating viewers and encouraging them to vote.
Susan B. Anthony: Rachel Schelen
Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Tyler Stark
Carrie Chapman Catt: Grace Nemec
Jean Brooks-Greenleaf: Ruby Ollis
Nellie McClung: Madeline Silvestro
Videographer: Matthew Brooks
Hair and Make-up: Keierra Collins
Murder-ween: An Evening of Spooky, Vintage Radio Plays
Friday, October 30, at 9 pm
The shows will premiere on the official CTX Theatre YouTube channel.
Director: Dr. Kelly Carolyn Gordon
Audio Engineer/Sound Consultant: Smokey Westerfeld
Announcer: Tyler Stark
Host: Preston Galban
Sound: Madeline Silvestro
Keyboard: Nathan Lazenberry
Lipton Lady: Emily Sandler
The Dead Laugh, first presented by the Inner Sanctum Mysteries Show on CBS in 1946.
Spencer: Christian Garza
Judge Thornton, Nathaniel Fomby
Laura Thornton: Rachel Schelen
Margaret Cummings: Keke Collins
Dr. Fletcher: Ana Lara
Police Officer: Madeline Silvestro
The Masque of Red Death, by Edgar Allan Poe and adapted by George Lowthar. Originally presented by CBS Radio Mystery Theatre.
Radio Announcer: Nathan Lazenberry
Milo: Isaiah Mueller
Jack: Preston Galban
Dorine: Ember Marshall
Floss: Kendra Theimer
Magda: Ruby Ollis
A Devised Work: Title and Dates TBD
“In the theatre we reach out and touch the past through literature, history and memory so that we might receive and relive significant and relevant human qualities in the present and then pass them on to future generations.” - Anne Bogart
The events of Spring 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests around the world, have forever changed the course of human history and raised important questions about empathy, freedom, history, leadership and, in our country, what it means to be an American. This year, in a devised theatre project unprecedented by Concordia University Texas theatre, members of our community--students, alumni, faculty, and staff—will collectively create a theatre piece that responds to the events of the past several months.
Collective creation, or devised theatre, is a method of theater-making in which an ensemble creates a performance through collaborative, improvisatory work. The ensemble will explore the historic events of 2020 using images, memories, interviews, and news and social media, with the goal of developing a collaborative work to be performed as a staged reading in Spring 2021.
Take a look back through the main-stage productions of the past few years.
Past guest artists have included costume designer Cecelia Gay; lighting designers, Yi-Tai Chung, Kristin DuBois, Erin Fleming, and Mercedes McCleary; puppeteer, Kevin Long; and set designers, Bren Coombs and Michael Krauss.
2018-19 Guest Artists
Sam Gonzalez (Scenic Designer/Technical Director) is a scenic artist and designer located in Austin, Texas. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Technology from Texas State University, focusing on Scenic Art & Design. She's worked locally in Film & Television as a Production Assistant for The Long Road Home. This past year she has worked as Scenic Artist, Prop Master and Set Designer at TexARTS in Lakeway, Texas.
Jessi Rose (Costumer) received her MFA in Costume Design from The University of Texas at Austin, Certificates in Costume Stitching, Cutting and Draping, Wardrobe, and Assistant Costume Design from Fullerton College, and a BA in Anthropology from Cal State Fullerton. Her recent credits include The Merchant of Venice (UT Austin), The 2018 UTNT Festival (UT Austin), June (RTF Thesis Film, winner of the 2018 HBO APA Visionaries Award), Seven, A Documentary Play (Concordia University), and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Concordia University). She recently served as Costume Assistant for Central City Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly, and is beginning her career in the film and television industry.
Smokey Westerfeld (Lighting Designer/Technician, Spring 2019): Smokey has a love for the entertainment business that spans over 40 years. He served as Production Stage Manager for Houston Music Theatre, and The Magic Mountain Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. He has traveled as Stage Manager with national road-show tours. He was called to report to C.B.S. Network, Television City in Hollywood, and he retired from C.B.S. twenty years later. His staff credits while at C.B.S. vary from Production Lighting/Head Electrician, Property Master, and Audio Engineer. The last 15 years of his tenure were spent in the field of Audio Mixing, both Production, and Post-Production. Smokey is the recipient of six Emmy Awards for his work in Television Audio.
What Does it Look Like to Study Theatre at Concordia University Texas?
The mission of the Department of Theatre at Concordia University Texas is to elicit creativity, critical thinking, cultural awareness and empathy, within an active, collaborative learning environment, in exploration of what it means to be human. Theatre Studies prepares students with valuable skills that can be applied to many different industries.
Students learn about theatre within the context of an excellent liberal arts education. Class sizes are small enough for students to receive individualized attention and training, to work in close collaboration with faculty, guest artists, and other students, and to create opportunities based on their specific interests.
From their first year, our students get hands-on experience in the classroom and in production, leadership, collaboration, critical thinking and artistic skills.
CTX Theatre presents two main-stage productions a year, and the fall play aligns with the Service-Learning Week theme. Participation in production is open to the entire CTX community and can be taken for academic credit.
Curriculum Overview for Theatre Majors
The BA in Theatre Studies at CTX incorporates a wide breadth of subjects, preparing students for a variety of industries.
Theatre students select a tract – Performance or Design/Technology – to meet their interests. Additionally, the BA in Theatre is easily paired with another major, allowing students to further customize their education. Through individualized attention and training, students develop the necessary skills for their specific focus.
Here are some highlighted courses:
Experience of Drama: In this dynamic, experientially-based course,students attend professional theatrical productions throughout Austin to examine the play’s journey from page to stage. Play attendance is supplemented with script and production analysis, lecture, presentations, class-discussions, exclusive talkbacks and meetings with production personnel.
Theatre for Social Change/Applied Theatre: This course zeros in on theatre’s unique power as a tool for social change, and its tremendous potential for application to fields outside of traditional theatre. Students examine the theories and methods of applied theatre throughout the 20th and into the 21st centuries, studying a wide array of international topics, including agit-prop theatre, radical street performance, museum theatre, theatre in prisons, and theatre and service in the church.
Acting - Scene Study and Improvisation: Students at all levels of experience develop acting skills through the disciplines of improvisation and scene study. Improvisation is employed as a means of structuring original ideas to create scenes, as a method of confronting and solving acting problems, as a way to inspire social change and as a means of theatricalizing non-dramatic sources such as folktales.
The BA in Theatre Studies provides tools required for working in the professional theatre as well as a foundation for graduate studies in theatre and film. Furthermore, students who study theatre develop and hone skills transferable to any field:
- Viewing the world from multiple perspectives
- Creative problem-solving
- Effective verbal and non-verbal communication
- Advanced presentation abilities
- Outside-the-box thinking
- Empathy and deep listening
- Efficient time management
- Close reading and analysis
- Project management and organization
- Critical thinking
- Cultural awareness
- Arts Administrator
- Casting Agent
- Drama Therapist
- Events Planner
- Literary Manager
- Project Manager
- Stage Manager
- Theatrical Designer (make-up, costumes, props, set, lighting)
Why does Concordia offer a BA instead of a BFA?
Concordia University Texas offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in theatre instead of a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). A BA requires you to study a wider breadth of subjects, so you'll develop a wider array of skills that can be utilized in more industries.
Who can get involved in CTX Theatre productions?
Auditions and participation in design/tech roles are open to all members of the Concordia University Texas community. No experience is necessary; we will train you!
Students can participate in productions beginning their first semester.
What are auditions like?
Typically, students are asked to perform a memorized, one-minute monologue from the time period and style of the play for which they are auditioning.
When are rehearsals held?
Rehearsals are mainly held in the evenings, and occasionally during the daytime if actor’s schedules permit. We make our best effort to work around actors’ work, athletics and school schedules.
Are theatre internships available?
Austin has a vibrant theatre community that is full of opportunities. Our students have interned at places such as Austin Shakespeare and Zach Theatre. Internship programs are also available farther afield in cities such as New York and London.