UGA Department of Theatre and Film Studies celebrates its 80th Anniversary Season in 2012-2013

University Theatre, now in its 80th season, announces its 2012-2013 lineup, which includes former United States Poet Laureate Rita Dove's The Darker Face of the Earth, the musical The Fantasticks by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, a new version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth featuring the use of interactive media, and much more.

UGA has one of the oldest theatre programs in the country, and the tradition of live theatre is vital and thriving,” said David Saltz, head of the department of theatre and film studies. The Fine Arts lobby will be home to a year-long display of the history of University Theatre, highlighting material from the Edward C. Crouse Collection and the University Theatre Collection at UGA’s Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library that illuminates the early years of University Theatre and the department of theatre and film studies.

University Theatre’s roots reach back to 1893, when UGA students formed the Thalian Dramatic Club, one of the oldest college dramatic clubs in the country. Proceeds from the shows for most of its first twenty years went to various charitable causes, most consistently to UGA’s Athletic Association. In 1926, a second dramatic club, the Blackfriars, was formed at UGA, and there was an immediate rivalry between the two groups. In 1931, the two clubs merged under the leadership of journalism professor Edward C. Crouse to become the Thalian-Blackfriars, the official theatrical club of the University of Georgia with its own playhouse in Seney-Stovall Memorial Theatre. By 1932, the new “University Theatre” was offering its first season ticket campaign and played to packed houses. In 1939, the department of dramatic art (today’s department of theatre and film studies) was created with Crouse as its first department head.

According to Saltz, “this year’s season embodies everything the University Theatre has stood for over the past 80 years, combining timeless classics by Shakespeare and Chekhov, long-time crowd-pleasers like The Fantasticks, recent plays by some of today’s greatest living writers, and even a world-premiere by a member of our own faculty. The seven shows are all enthralling in their own different way, and collectively offer a microcosm of theatre at the dawn of the 21st century.”

The 2012-13 season begins with In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) in the Cellar Theatre, a comedy by Tony-Award winning playwright Sarah Ruhl that Saltz describes as “fascinating, deeply compassionate, and very funny.” Rita Dove’s combination of the Oedipus myth with the reality of slavery, The Darker Face of the Earth, is University Theatre’s contribution to UGA’s fall arts festival in November. Spring semester begins with The Fantasticks at Seney-Stovall Theatre and ends with a multimedia production of Macbeth on the Fine Arts stage.

The season consists of four mainstage productions on the Fine Arts stage, and three Studio Series presentations that offer live theatre in a vibrant, stripped-down format. Tickets for mainstage productions are $16, and $12 for UGA students. Studio Series tickets are $12, and $7 for UGA students. Subscriptions, which save 25% off of the single ticket prices, are on sale now through the Performing Arts Center. For tickets and subscriptions, call 706-542-4400, call toll free at 888-289-8497, or order online.