From the hills of Denmark to the depths of Bikini Bottom, Grand Canyon University’s Ethington Theatre has shows for all audiences in the 2022-23 academic year.
College of Arts and Media theatre students have a five-week window to prepare for each of the four plays. Theatre professors use that time to ensure that young actors, set designers, lighting technicians, costume designers and hair and makeup designers excel both in the theatre and in their future careers whether it’s in film, television, theatre, commercials or streaming.
This requires a strategically planned-out itinerary of musicals, dramas and comedic performances that accommodate and satisfy both theatre majors and their audiences. The variety of play genres gives theatre professors and directors a chance to provide students with hands-on experiences that show what it takes to pull off various types of productions.
The theatre season begins with a timeless classic: “Hamlet,” directed by faculty member Claude Pensis.
“As an academic theatre, there are a lot of things we take into consideration,” Pensis said. “It’s a matter of what we need to do in order to prepare our students to teach high school, go on to grad school or continue to act, work in design or production, and what the overall student body will enjoy. What we ended up with is a wide variety of plays.”
The audience can anticipate a dramatic and exciting performance highlighted by profound stage production, set design and acting.
“Hamlet is bare bones about human emotion and the consequences of the choices we make,” CAM Assistant Dean of Theatre and Dance and Director Bill Symington said. “We wanted to strip it down to that by creating a sense of drama in the purest way using stark lighting against a black set.”
The Dance and Theatre departments collaborated to provide a seamless transition between the dance shows and theatrical performances.
Dance Director Bekki Price worked with the Advertising and Design program to draft possible performance theme ideas.
“The design program took my ideas to one of their classes and said, ‘This is what the dance program is looking for. Let’s come up with ideas,’” she said.
Those ideas are reflected in the dance show titles: “Flourish,” “Awakening” and “When We Rise.”
Price feels these connected to these words and considers it a great way to honor the concepts of human flourishing and growth, two qualities mentioned in GCU’s new mission statement.
Each academic year consists of two student spotlight concerts, two faculty concerts and a student choreography concert, where students must first pass three levels of dance courses and then proceed to choreograph, direct and produce an Ethington Theatre-level dance performance. The concerts will feature guest residency work as well as pieces choreographed by students themselves.
This year’s lineup:
- “Hamlet”: Sept. 23-25, Sept. 30-Oct. 2
- “Awakening” Student Spotlight dance concert: Oct. 25-26
- An Evening of Worship & Dance: Nov. 8 (tentative)
- “SpongeBob SquarePants, The Musical”: Nov. 11-13 and Nov. 18-20
- “Steel Magnolias”: Dec. 2-10
- “Flourish” Faculty Dance Concert: Dec. 9-11
- “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”: Feb. 3-5 and 10-12
- “Big Fish”: March 24-26, March 31-April 2
- “When We Rise” Faculty Dance Concert: April 21-23
Reserve your Hamlet seats here.
Tickets for first dance show are here.