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Our mission

We strive for excellence in theatrical production, guiding ourselves and our audience to insight into and empathy for God's world through authentic and compassionate stories of diverse human experience.

By articulating dramatic narratives through the lens of our Christian faith, the Calvin Theatre Company seeks to aid our audience in developing insight into and empathy for individuals and cultures different from our own. The theatre provides us space and time to welcome the stranger into our midst and to recognize ourselves in their stories.

Frequently Asked Questions

Calvin Theatre Company (CTC)

  • What is CTC?

    CTC stands for “Calvin Theatre Company.” It is both a 2-credit class (class meets on Thursday afternoons from 4:00 to 5:40pm) and a fully-functioning theatre company.

    CTC produces three shows per year--one during the fall semester, and two during the spring semester.

    Students are involved in every aspect of production from performing onstage to working backstage in stage management, sound board or light board operation, helping to build and paint the set, constructing costumes, and more.

  • Do I have to be in CTC to be in the shows?

    Auditions are open to all Calvin students, but preference may be given to those enrolled in the Calvin Theatre Company class (THTR 120). We call ourselves a “company” because we produce theatre together while we emphasize the process and the people involved. Each production needs performers, technicians, and crew, and all of them are encouraged to join CTC.

  • Do I have to have done theatre in high school to join the company?

    No! Even if you’ve never even seen a stage play, you’re still invited to be part of the company. University and high school theatre are very different, so even if you were involved in every single production in high school, know that your experience at Calvin will be new and unique.

The audition process

  • What’s the audition like?

    We’re looking for devoted, passionate, and creative students to be involved in CTC. The audition is simple: you arrive at the audition room, fill out the audition paperwork, and present a prepared monologue of your choice (up to one minute in length) to the director. Once everyone has presented their monologue, the director will then ask everyone to read from the show's script. Do not be intimidated! Auditions are a time to do your best, have fun, and take risks. Just have fun with it!

  • In high school, I performed in every production. Will I get cast in college?

    Directors look for performers who have prepared for their audition (reading the play, memorizing their monologue, etc.), are willing to work hard and take direction, and fit the type of roles available in the particular production being cast. 

    But it’s important to remember that CTC is a production company, not just a performance company. Performing is one of the many aspects of what we do. If you are not cast, you’ll have the opportunity to learn another discipline in theatre. We want company members to be multi-faceted and be able to do a wide variety of things.

Technical theatre

  • I’m not interested in acting. Are there other opportunities for me?

    Yes! In fact, the majority of opportunities in CTC are not performance responsibilities. Students can be part of many different crews: building scenery, hanging lights, costume construction, scenic painting, publicity, house management, running crew (working backstage during the performances), running the sound or light board, stage management and assistant stage management.

    We hope that every student in CTC will have opportunities to get experience in several different areas of theatre. There are plenty of opportunities for everyone!

  • I want to work in the scene or costume shop for my crew assignment, but I know I don’t have any skills for this. Will they teach me?

    Yes! Our professional theatre staff members are patient teachers, and part of their responsibility is to teach students theatre-related skills. Don’t know how to sew on a button? You’ll learn! Don’t know how to run a router or a table saw or focus an ellipsoidal reflector spotlight? You’ll learn that, too! (And you’ll even learn what it means!)

Academic requirements

  • What is the class all about? What do you do?

    We do a lot of things! Each semester of the CTC class (THTR 120) focuses on a different area of theatre training--performance, directing, technical theatre and design, stage combat, and more! Directors and designers talk about their process and their concepts for the productions. Guest artists discuss their work and give you opportunities to ask questions. Theatre practitioners lead workshops on voice and movement. We have fun, too—both the Christmas party and the end of year celebration are a traditions we’ve had for years!

  • Is it hard to be involved in CTC and university-level academics at the same time?

    Possibly—it depends on your area(s) of study and what your academic schedule looks like. But, experience in theatrical work provides skills and creates discipline. People who work professionally in theatre have a reputation for being punctual, hard working, and creative problem-solvers. You will learn how to manage your time better. Some CTC members continue to be involved in CTC, make excellent grades, and even work a part-time job. It can be done.

    We do set limits on rehearsal time, so you are not in rehearsal too much each week. But theatre work—whether you’re onstage or offstage—requires commitment and time. If you are cast in a production, expect to rehearse for a couple hours every weeknight and potentially some Saturdays from the week following auditions to opening night. (This depends on the production and your role, of course. It also varies according to director. The rehearsal schedule will be available for you to review during auditions for each production.)

    If you are in a crew, you will work at least twenty hours on your crew work, in addition to helping with strike after the production is over. If you are in a running crew, you will be expected to be at each dress rehearsal and each performance for the entire run of the show.

Plays and venues

  • What kind of productions do you do?

    We do all types--from plays, musicals, classical theatre, modern works, to theatre for youth, you’ll experience a myriad of genres during your time in Calvin Theatre Company!

  • How do you choose your shows?

    We believe that the best plays are ones about which the directors are passionate, tell an engaging story, and provide our students opportunities to learn something new or stretch their skills. The CTC staff reviews scripts near the end of each academic year for the following season. In order for a piece to be chosen, all staff have to agree that it would be an appropriate selection for a season and our company.

  • Where is the Gezon Auditorium and Lab Theater?

    Both are located in the Spoelhof Center, although the Lab Theater is under the chapel.

  • I keep hearing all these acronyms—like "SM"," ASM", "TD"—what do they mean?

    Acronyms are everywhere at Calvin University…and in the theatre! Here are definitions of the few acronyms, as well as some theatre vocabulary we use a lot around here with which you should be familiar:

    AD: Assistant Director or Assistant Designer works with the director or designer on the production; responsibilities vary depending on director/designer.

    ASM: Assistant Stage Manager assists with stage management responsibilities.

    Crew View: Opportunity for crew members to watch the show, usually held the week before opening, just before the first technical rehearsal.

    First Tech: The first technical rehearsal, with lighting, sound, scenery, special effects, and full running crew, that is often stopped by the stage manager to correct technical issues. A “Wet Tech” refers to a technical rehearsal with performers. “Dry Tech” refers to a technical rehearsal without performers.

    Dramaturge:  The literary expert of the theatre who aids in research on the history and background of the play and participates in the creation of the production. In addition, the dramaturge is the audience's best friend because they write introductory notes to the play and perhaps produces a lobby display to help the patrons understand the background and process of the production.

    TD: Technical Director manages all the technical (lighting, scenery, and sound) aspects of the production.

    Sitz Probe: A seated, not staged, musical rehearsal where the singers and orchestra or pit rehearse together for the first time.

    SM: Stage manager provides organizational, logistical, and technical support to the director during the rehearsal process and is responsible for the running of each performance. In CTC, Stage Managers are students.

    Strike: to remove a set piece or from the stage. ("Strike that chair.") To "strike the show" is to disassemble the entirety of the set, return all equipment to storage and leave the venue as it was before the show was set up. May be used as a noun to refer to the event at which the show is struck. All CTC members are required to be at each strike, which occurs after the final performance of a production. (Depending on the individual show schedule, this may happen immediately following curtain call, the following day, or over the course of a few days.)

    If you hear other non-theatre acronyms at Calvin and wonder what they mean, visit this link.

  • What can I gain by being involved in CTC?

    Being involved in theatre can teach you a variety of different personal and professional skills, even if you have no intention of working in theatre after graduation. Public speaking, cooperation, time management, and creative problem solving are just a few transferrable skills you'll learn during your time in CTC.

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