The adventure is now…
At EMU, theater invigorates every corner of campus, from medieval Christmas plays staged in the snow to experimental pieces mounted on golf carts, from major Broadway musicals in an 880-seat house to student-written plays flowering in our intimate studio theater.
What’s special about our program?
Professors who believe the art of theater transforms people and stirs them to action.
Rich productions of a challenging body of works. Here Shakespeare flourishes alongside original student works. Incisive political dramas flower in hand with wild farces.
Diverse courses in exciting classroom and laboratory environments.
Student artists… the core of EMU Theater. Regional winners of Kennedy Center/American College Theater festival honors in fields ranging from acting to sound design, students regularly direct and design departmental offerings, exploring their gifts further as playwrights, actors, and technicians.
Our small, connected campus means there’s room for everyone at every level. We’re committed to developing, employing and sharing each student’s artistic skills and gifts.
The mission of EMU Theater
We seek to produce works of excellence within the context of a liberal arts environment dedicated to the Anabaptist faith tradition. We understand our roles as Christian theater artists to center themselves on an obedient, faithful and joyful search within our relationships with God and one another. We believe that these relationships call for us to turn our gaze toward work that emboldens and enlivens the human mind and spirit.
The student voice should be given a venue in which young artists may speak with clarion voice to the issues most dear to them. The classroom should instruct, but also question and challenge both instructor and student alike. Exploration and experimentation, though sometimes fumbling toward greatness and clarity, should mount the stage with purpose at a superb university. We believe EMU to be just such a place.
A Christian theater
Building off the Mennonite dedication to a faith that engages our world, EMU Theatre strives to place increasingly varied performance texts under the lens of its stages.
It is thus our aim to present work that reflects the timeless values and provocative questions of classical texts as well as productions that engage the modern condition and its often roiling seas. Some of these plays, such as Women of Lockerbie or Drippings from the Honeycomb, a staging of Psalms, will speak directly to the university’s faith core.
Other works, such as Metamorphoses or Tartuffe, host questions and celebrations around facets of our faith such as peace building or justice. And some works – productions of Ti-Jean and His Brothers, Love’s Labors Lost or Dancing at Lughnasa – find their place on our stages due to their excellence and importance within the performance canon.
All theater at EMU, we believe, is Christian theater
: driven by faith, graced by God and invigorated by both prayer and the convivial exploration of dedicated Christian artists working together.
Talkbacks and round tables
“Talkbacks” and round tables provide student actors and directors with an opportunity for a face-to-face breakdown of their work. They discuss the theology behind their performance or direction, the meaning audience members take from it, and much more. The cast and crew of the J.B., the program’s December 2011 production, staged a special performance for area youth groups and hosted a talkback with youth leaders afterward.