The Fluid State of the Drama Department

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Theater Stage

Coming out of a year where most of UD Theater was done online, many are hoping to see a return to live shows. Currently, that hope is on track to being fulfilled this semester. 

This year’s fall Mainstage will be performed outdoors in the Orpheion Amphitheatre near the facilities building, which will be renovated over the course of this semester with outdoor lights, sounds and sets. 

Senior drama majors plan to present their Senior Studio performances in the Drama Building this semester. The seniors will direct a total of four different plays to be performed after the mainstage’s run towards the end of the year.

Until the Senior Studios begin showing, part of the Drama Building will be used as a scene shop where the sets for the theater productions can be constructed. All classes and rehearsals that were taking place in the Drama Building are being relocated to the loft in upstairs Haggar. 

Although rumors spread about a potential plan to transform the Haggar loft into a new theater, at this time, that plan no longer seems like it will be actualized.

Other UD Drama Department locations are on the move as well. The basement of Jerome Hall is being converted into the new location for the costume shop, which had to be moved from its old location in Catherine Hall due to the size of this year’s freshman class requiring the space for lodging.  

The Margaret Johnson Theater remains closed, but not without the possibility of reopening. While the plan to bring the building back to a point where it could be used as a scene shop again has been changed, it is still possible that after renovations the MJT could open again as soon as next fall.

Additionally, the Drama Department has recently hired a new Technical Director and Designer named Mark Kirk. Before coming to the University of Dallas, he worked at Wayland Baptist University in West Texas as the Director of their theater program.

When asked during an interview what areas of expertise he comes with, Kirk said, “If you were to ask me, ‘are you a designer who teaches or a teacher who designs?’[I would say] yes!” While he is not yet a professor of any classes, he is diligently helping with the mainstage production and guiding the student designers of the Senior Studios.

Overall, the University of Dallas Drama Department is currently being presented with many challenges and opportunities for growth and change. 

 “What I would describe our entire physical structure right now in terms of what we need, our shops and rehearsal spaces, is fluid. I think that’s the fairest assessment of where we’re at,”  Associate Professor of the Drama Department Kyle Lemieux said. 

The wealth of possible changes paints a refreshing and bright picture for the future of the Drama Department here at UD.

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