Campus Theater

U of C theater strikes the right balance between accessibility and professionalism

By Joe Riina-Ferrie

Theater is alive and growing at the U of C. The school is not yet the place of rising Broadway stars, but it is heading in the right direction.

By far the largest theater organization on campus is University Theater (UT). Almost all student theater is through the UT program, but that does not mean theater on campus is limited. There are shows of all kinds, aimed at all levels of experience and designed to teach and improve all aspects of theater production. You can get involved regardless of your experience level and whether you are interested in lighting, playwriting, acting, directing, sound, sets, or some combination of any of these.

The works that UT undertakes show every weekend throughout the second half of the quarter and range from ancient classics to original student works. They are worth seeing not just to see your friends on stage and support student art—they can also be seriously good theater.

The University also boasts the country’s second-oldest student improv group, Off-Off Campus, which is entering its 23rd year. The troupe’s members take improv comedy seriously and practice together for hours each week before performing sketch and improv comedy on Fridays in University Church.

Finally, there is the recently established Theater and Performance Studies major, which offers several levels of acting classes. Learn about theater performance, act, and get credit while doing it.

Getting involved in theater is easy at the U of C. If you just want to watch, you can do that, too, not only at UT shows but at Court Theatre (5555 South Ellis Avenue, (773) 702-7005), a highly esteemed professional company right on campus. The resources are in place for you to take theater as seriously as you like—in any aspect of production that interests you. And unlike at a big theater school, the community is small enough that resources aren’t spread too thin while still large enough to bring talent to any production.