What student theatre organizations operate within the School of Theatre and Dance?
Stratford Players, the student theatre producing organization
This organization produces shows in the Studio Theatre and sponsors a number of other activities such as guest artist appearances, workshops, and 24-hour theatre experiences.
JMU Student Chapter of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT)
One of the relatively few student chapters of the USITT in the USA, this organization coordinates design/tech activities and enjoys financial support from the School for students to attend the annual conference of the USITT, where many have successfully procured summer employment at theatres around the country.
Alpha Psi Omega (APO), JMU's chapter of the national honorary theatre society
This organization creates social, educational, and community service opportunities for theatre students.
Is it possible to study abroad?
Yes, students in the Theatre Major often choose to study abroad either in the summer or during the regular academic year. The Office of International Programs offers a number of study abroad opportunities. About one-third of theatre concentrators study abroad, most in London, where JMU has its own student housing and programs that run every semester and summer.
Are there an improvisational theatre opportunities?
Yes. The most noted one is the student group New & Improv.’d, “JMU’s Comedic Improvisation Troupe.” A number of Theatre students are members. The troupe performs regularly at Taylor Down Under and holds auditions in the fall.
Do you provide summer work for your students?
JMU students may audition for the Children’s Playshop summer season. On occasion the School has office or shop assistance work available during the summer as well. We also highly encourage our students to audition and interview for work at other theatres for the summer. JMU students attend and are successful at SETC, NETC, StrawHat, UPTA auditions and interviews, and many graduate from JMU with professional credits on their resumes, gaining valuable real-world experience while they are still in school. Tech/Design students often attend the annual conference of the USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) and from there and other conferences have landed summer work at theatres and performance companies such as the Santa Fe Opera, Cirque du Soleil, Wolf Trap, Glimmerglass Opera, Weston Playhouse, Ringling Brothers, New York City Ballet, Blue Man Group, Long Wharf Theatre, Papermill Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Perry Mansfield, and others. Among the summer theatre venues where JMU students have recently performed are: Adirondack Theatre Festival, NY; Busch Gardens, VA; Central Piedmont Summer Theatre, NC; Cortland Repertory Theatre, NY; Cumberland County Playhouse, TN; Flat Rock Playhouse, NC; Granbury Opera House, TX; Gretna Theatre, PA; Highlands Playhouse, NC; Horn in the West, NC; The Lost Colony, NC; Mac-Haydn Theatre, NY; Maples Repertory Theatre, MO; Papermill Theatre Company, NH; Peachtree State Summer Theatre, GA; Shawnee Playhouse, PA; Texas Family Musicals, TX; Texas Musical Drama, TX; Theatre Barn, MN; Theatre West Virginia, WV; Theatre by the Sea, RI; Toby’s Dinner Theatre, MD; Trumpet in the Land, OH; Way Off Broadway, IA; Weathervane Playhouse, OH; Western Playhouse, MO.
Are your graduates successful?
Although there are (of course) no guarantees, JMU graduates have appeared and worked on Broadway, national and international tours, regional theatres from coast to coast and around the world. JMU grads are currently appearing, or have recently appeared on Broadway, and in national and international tours of: Annie,Avenue Q, Book of Mormon, Catch Me if You Can, Dog Fight, Far from Heaven, Jersey Boys, Lion King, Mamma Mia, Million Dollar Quartet, Rock of Ages, War Horse, Beauty and the Beast, A Chorus Line, Drowsy Chaperone, Fame, The Full Monty, Grease, Jersey Boys, Joseph and the… Dreamcoat, Les Miserables, The Producers, Riverdance, Shrek, Spiderman, and Urinetown, among others, and are successful off-Broadway, in regional theatre (Wooly Mammoth, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arena Stage, The Actors Studio, The Shakespeare Theatre (DC), The Barter Theatre, Berkley Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Cincinnati Shakespeare, Second City, Charleston Stage Company, Imagination Stage, Forum Theatre, Keegan Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, Paper Mill Playhouse, Signature Theatre, Virginia Repertory Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre etc.), and in TV and film (Lincoln, The Candidate, Law and Order: SVU, Law and Order: CI, Mercy, Blue Bloods, Bored to Death, Saturday Night Live, As the World Turns, The Guiding Light, Chuck, Alpha Planet,Last Comic Standing, Mona Lisa Smile, Gods and Generals, A.N.T. Farm, etc.). Technical, Design, and Stage Management graduateshave designed and obtained positions at Longacre Theatre (Broadway), The Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Wolf Trap, The Walnut Street Theatre, Weston Playhouse, The Kennedy Center, The Folger Theatre, Cirque du Soleil, Arena Stage, Glimmerglass Opera, Round House Theatre, La MaMa ETC, Perry-Mansfield, Studio Theatre, The Joyce Theatre, Richmond Ballet, and many others. JMU Theatre and Dance alumni have gone on to graduate degree work at such schools as Yale, NYU, Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern, California State University, Pace, Southern Illinois University, Hollins, etc. JMU students have also won a number of awards at KCACTF and USITT festivals in acting, directing, playwriting, criticism, lighting, sound, costumes, and stage management.