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The International Theatre Program

by Sara Kowalski, Class of 2017, Humanities Fellow

Interested in theater?

Students seeking a major or minor in theater from the Department of English do so in conjunction with Rochester’s very own International Theatre Program, which is a great opportunity for emerging thespians! That being said, students can get involved with Rochester’s theater program and its productions without majoring or minoring in it at all.

Students acting in a play
L to R: Ian Von Fange ’17, Bill McDonough ’20, Sara Crane ’20, and Tinaye Panache Hofisi ’20 in ‘Buried Child’


Students can get involved by taking courses ranging from Stage Lighting and Sound to Voice and Movement for Actors. During these courses, most of the learning process will be hands-on. Students learn by helping to put on a real, professional production for one of the program’s four annual shows. Students can learn everything from play-writing to stage design, from acting to directing!

By getting involved in a production, you will make many close friends, network with professionals, and learn from the best. Anyone can get involved even if you have little to no experience when you start. You can also participate with backstage and technical theatre.

Students performing in a practice room
‘Circle Mirror Transformation’ production


If you come to Rochester, during Orientation you will be introduced to Todd (not a person—the Todd Union building which houses the theater program) and the various theatrical groups on campus, like The Opposite of People (TOOP), In Between the Lines (IBTL), and the ROC Players.

But even more amazingly, you will have the opportunity to participate in a 24-hour Play Festival! This is an exciting, feverish 24-hour period in which you can design your own one-act play with other first-year students and with guidance from upperclassmen. At the end of the production, you will share your creations with your peers in the incoming class. It is a great way to make friends, have fun, and immerse yourself in the theater culture here.

Another way to immerse yourself in theater culture on campus is to sign up to live in the Drama House. The Drama House is a multi-faceted space on campus. Not only is it a place for seventeen or so students to live at a time, it is also a theater for TOOP’s plays, a popular open mic spot, a workshop space, and a performance venue for one of the ensembles of No Jackets Required, Rock Band. And when it comes to the imagination of the members of IBTL, the space can truly become anything at all! Drama House is the campus hub for the arts. Students who don’t live in Drama House can be part of the community by becoming associate members, and anyone at all can sign up for Drama House’s biweekly newsletter for the arts. Check out Drama House on Facebook and Instagram.

And finally, I definitely recommend checking out the International Theatre Program’s page for prospective students, which has more information about the theater culture at Rochester.

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