At IWU there are countless ways to be involved in theatre other than in class and on stage. Below are descriptions of the many groups formed and governed by students with faculty mentor-ship. These organizations promote creativity, leadership and foster actors, directors, playwrights, designers, dancers and comedians. You can learn even more about the Fine Arts student organizations here.
Masquers is the student service organization for the School of Theatre Arts. Masquers is involved in several fundraising activities through out the year including concession sales, recycling drives and are responsible for the yearly school t-shirt sales. The funds raised are used to host the Holiday Celebration in December, (a wonderful evening of food and entertainment for the School of Theatre Arts students and faculty.) and an annual toy and clothing drive for a family in need living in the local area. Staff sponsor is Kelly Ullom. Learn more.
The Phoenix Theatre is a small black box theatre located in The Memorial Center. Each year the Phoenix board of directors hears proposals for a production season. Typically 1-15 pieces are produced each year ranging from Shakespeare, musical theatre, performance art and original plays. The possibilities are endless. This is a great place for freshmen to spread their wings. Current Facilities Manager is Tuxford Turner. Armie Thompson is the staff advisor.
Music Theatre Society
lllinois Wesleyan University's Music Theatre Society takes its roots from the City Center Encores! series in New York and the Reprise series in Los Angeles, which produces lost or rarely produced musicals in a concert setting. With just over a week of rehearsals, actors perform with the script in hand backed by a full orchestra Concert production .The group was founded by David Ruben (IWU BFA Music Theatre Graduate 2009) and Diane Teng (IWU BA Theatre Arts Graduate 2009) in 2007. Previous Music Theatre Society productions have included: Reefer Madness! The Musical, Do Re Mi, Tenderloin, Funny Girl, Big: The Musical and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Another great opportunity for freshmen to perform. Faculty sponsor is Scott Susong. Learn more.
Wesleyan's improv comedy troupe, Jm7*, started in 1995 and has been performing ever since. With a range of 6-9 members, JM7* does all forms of improv and performs every 3-4 weeks. JM7* teaches open improv classes intermittently throughout the year for anyone interested in learning more about the art. Alums form this group have gone on to pursue careers in film and television and work with improv groups such as Second City and The Groundlings. This is an auditioned group. Faculty sponsor is Scott Susong.
Each year the students have an opportunity to attend cabaret Boot camp. Students discover the world of cabaret singing by working with faculty to choose appropriate songs, write patter for their selections and mic holding techniques. Performing a song in an intimate environment differs greatly from performing a role in a musical or play. Learning cabaret singing skills assist students with making a personal connection with an audience through the interpretation of song and lyric. This event is open to any classification.
Shringara Theatre Company
Shringara (n.) The sanskrit word for love and acceptance of all. The Shringara Theatre Company is IWU's newest multi-cultural theatre company. Started by IWU's Rachel Grimes, Allie Torres, and Chantericka Tucker, we work towards putting on productions that depict multicultural characters and stories, as well as creating a for multicultural actors and directors can share their views. We hope to bring world theatre to the public eye and share diverse cultures through our craft. Past productions include A Piece Of My Heart by Shirley Lauro, The Wedding Band by Alice Childress, Myth: Spiritual Language Through monologue, scene, and dance and The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket by Peter Parnell. All classifications of students may audition. Faculty sponsor is Chris Connelly.
Grab your Hot pants, Unitards, and Liza wigs, Quickies! Sketch Comedy is coming to town! We've got some new members added to our team, an animal act, atomic power, and more glitter than you can possibly imagine. Quickies! Is an entire night full of hilarity, folly and merriment where we do 60 skits in 60 minutes. Trust us, you haven't laughed this hard since Mitt Romney won the IL primary. This is an auditioned group open to all classifications.
Student Choreographed Dance Concert
Each January the student choreographed dance concert warms the campus with pieces choreographed and danced by students. The pieces range from contemporary and jazz to hip hop, tap and other devised styles. It is a highlight of the semester and valued and appreciated by the student body. Faculty mentors oversee casting and rehearsals and the concert is performed in the Hansen Student Center. The dance concert is open to all classifications. Faculty sponsor is Sheri Marley.
Cohesion Dance Company
Cohesion Dance Company is a student directed dance company. They meet regularly throughout the year to explore dance and choreograph and create dance theatre. The group presents a concert in the Spring semester. This group is open to the entire student body, so School of Theatre Arts students can also make friendships and connections with dance lovers across academic lines. Faculty sponsor is Jessica Riss-Waltrip. Learn more.
Theatre Bible Study
This group meets once a week for an hour for Bible study and fellowship. The group follows themed studies such as "Bad Girls From the Bible." It is great to know that there are other Christians in the School of Theatre Arts. This is a wonderful support group for prayer requests and a place to feel at home away from home with a group of like spirited students.
Christine Moore, BFA Theatre '95
"Illinois Wesleyan University's School of Theatre Arts creates a tight knit, family-like atmosphere that nurtures amazing relationships. Two of my best friends in the world were classmates of mine at IWU. I will forever be grateful for the time we spent together on and off campus."