What: Tamburlaine: Reign in Blood
When: Wednesday through Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 2 and 6:30 p.m.
Where: Loft Theatre
Cost: $6 for CU students, $10 for the public
The University of Colorado’s theatre department is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year by illuminating their presence on the Boulder campus — literally.
As part of its anniversary celebration, the department, which includes both theatre and dance, has installed colorful lights in the windows near the front entrance of their building located on the south side of the Norlin Quad.
“They really compliment the architecture and light up the building at night, creating a new presence on campus at night,” said Markas Henry, assistant professor of theatre. “We’re hoping to get people to pay attention.”
But the lights are just the beginning of a lively new theatre department, Henry said.
The theatre department will be working all year to reinvent its program and increase its presence on campus and throughout the local community.
“We want to energize the department and at the same time increase our visibility in the community and on campus,” Henry said. “The anniversary gave us a great excuse to take action towards making our presence known.”
A visual history of the department opened last week in the Heritage Center, displaying stage sets, costumes, photographs and props from 50 years of performances. The exhibit will be open weekdays through May.
Theatre and dance students are working with the university marching band to present their first-ever halftime shows during the upcoming parents’ weekend and homecoming football games.
Faculty members said they were lucky to get the two biggest home games of the year to show off for students and fans.
“Theatre is such a great discipline for learning about one’s self and learning how the world really works on tight budgets with deadlines,” said Oliver Gerland, associate professor of theatre. “Those are real world skills that our students are taking with them.”
The combined theatre and dance department currently enrolls 280 students.
Theatre senior Maria Elena said the department has given him more than just an education.
“I feel like I get to have a voice and make a statement through the shows we do,” Elena said.
“Our students deserve so much credit,” said Henry said. “They are the ones putting together all of these productions and they work so hard and we want them to be noticed for that.”
But you don’t have to be a theatre major to join the community.
Math junior Alissa Long is taking an introduction to theatre course to fill some basic requirements and she said it’s a great way to get a break from lecture.
“It’s so much fun,” Long said. “But even if you don’t want to take a class students should definitely check out a show.”
Bronson Hilliard, spokesman for the university, said after attending years of productions by CU’s theatre department, he’s certain that students will gain much more than just entertainment from a show.
“I think our theatre program adds an incredible richness of cultures and doing innovative things in theatre and dance to the campus,” Hilliard said.
The department has already kicked off another season of productions with its latest play “Tamburlaine: Reign in Blood,” beginning Wednesday.
“The audience is just as much a part of our community as the performers,” said Gerland, the associate professor. “That’s what this department is about — it’s community and making that connection.”
The fall line up also includes “Ingenious Chambermaid,” in October, “Marisol,” in November and “A Christmas Carol,” in December.
“The production season was based on our typical rotation of themes,” Henry said. “But our big spring musical, which is ‘Rent,’ will be kind of the climax of our celebration.”
Also showing in the spring is a revival of “You Can’t Take it With You,” a comedy that was also performed by the department in 1960.
Though the theatre department has been a part of CU as part of the English literature department since 1919, it did not break off into its own program until 1960.
“This is really a celebration of our distinctness and success over the past 50 years,” Gerland said.