Theatre department travels to Shaw Festival

Faculty and students from the Lycoming College Theatre Department recently traveled to the Shaw Festival in Canada. The department has been making an annual trek to the theatre festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, the second largest repertory theatre company in North America, since 2002.

Twelve students were accompanied by Dr. N. J. Stanley, professor of theatre, and Tiffany Towns, assistant professor of theatre, for a weekend of shows. The crew saw four productions: George Bernard Shaw’s “The Misalliance,” Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter,” Terrence McNally’s “Ragtime” and William Inge’s “Come Back, Little Sheba.”

When not attending performances, the group had the opportunity to tour the festival’s scene shop and backstage of the main theatre, including the costume shop, wardrobe areas and rehearsal space. They also spent time sight-seeing and shopping around Niagara-on-the-Lake.

A costume sale provided the company an opportunity to purchase costumes for Nov. 14-17 production of “The Threepenny Opera.” “With these items in our stock, we can look at how a professional company builds and labels costumes, and we can study their methods for creating beautiful and lasting pieces,” said Towns.

“I’ve gone to Canada for the last three years with the theatre department and it has always been a blast,” said Molly Collier ’13. “It makes you even closer with the other theatre students going, and it’s important to have a close-knit group because a lot of the art of theatre is being able to trust the people with whom you work.”

The annual trip is part of the theatre department’s “See It Live!” program, through which students and faculty travel once a year to the Shaw Festival and New York City, as well as schools and professional theatres within a 100-mile radius of campus several times a year, to expose students to as much live theatre as possible.

The Shaw Festival is named for George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright, novelist and critic who lived from 1856 to 1950. He is the author of 63 full-length plays. The festival was started in 1962 in order to showcase his work and that of other playwrights around the world who wrote in the era of Shaw’s lifetime.

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