In the fall of 2012, a number of faculty, students and others who practice, study and enjoy theatre on our (theatreless) campus came together to share resources, ideas, support and to cooperatively advocate for sustainable support and designated performance facilities at Regis. We feel, for example that even an intimate, black box teaching/learning/performance/dialogue space (which includes a functional backstage area; lighting and sound equipment, etc.) should be imperative at an institution that foregrounds leadership, innovation, commmunity, service, education and the whole person. We advocate, as well, for a movement studio/classroom, a rehearsal studio/classroom, and support for classes in visual communication and design that support student mastery of arts relevant to the world’s vital cultural and entertainment industries.
We now make and show work where we can—for instance, off campus, in standard classrooms among desks and other impediments, in meeting rooms, and in other “found spaces.” We perform in the cafeteria, in the pub, on the common, in classrooms and in conference rooms. Our shows are poorly-lit and, while staged to the extent possible, are also un-designed.
We believe that theatre has an important place on a liberal arts campus; that we learn, from it, how to be human… by performing history, relationships, community and democracy; by raising into view questions, issues and concerns of relevance to all, and by inviting critical thinking. We are multidisicplinary: our members are theatre professionals, teachers, and students from communication, fine arts, peace and justice, English, economics and other academic departments. What unites us is our love for—and belief in—the power and potential of theatre.
JANNA L. GOODWIN is the founder/convener of the Regis Performance Alliance.
She created and advised (2008-2015) OutRegis!, a campus student group of writers and performers who used collaborative, storytelling methods, edgy sketch comedy and facilitated dialogue to make visible experiences of difference that are difficult to acknowledge or discuss.
Her Ph.D. and M.A. are from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where her doctoral work concerned the application of performance in a correctional institution, making an argument that performance changes people, and demonstrating ways in which this is so. She’s written about creating the conditions under which productive postshow conversations are more likely to occur (“productive” meaning transformative) and has taught courses focusing on how humor functions in society, in interpersonal relationships, and in life. Her B.A., from Hampshire College, is in Film and Music. She is an alumna of the National Shakespeare Conservatory and was a co-founder of the Ko Festival of Performance at Amherst.