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Illustration of a spotlight

Waiting in the wings

Student theatre troupes bring old favorites and contemporary works to life on Loyola's stage

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”

You’ve probably heard this quote from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. And for many students and faculty at Loyola, the world really is a stage...

Students on stage in a living room set in the late 50s or 60s

Housed in the DeChiaro College Center, the heart of Loyola's theatre department is McManus Theatre. Student productions take place in Loyola’s Black Box Theatre, also located in DeChiaro College Center.

Three students wearing old-fashioned clothes and talking on stage Three students singing on stage in front of a starry backdrop

Students from any major or minor are more than welcome to participate in any show, but the theatre majors and minors really drive the department. They serve as student directors, stage managers, stage crew, work studies, and, of course, as actors. And while faculty and staff have participated in the past, in recent years, the casts have been solely comprised of students.

Illustration of happy and sad theatre masks

Productions take time to come together. Before any work can start, the set and lighting designs must be created. Once that’s done, the stage craft and work study students begin to build the set and design and fix the lighting.

Meanwhile, the cast goes through rehearsal, learning their lines, blocking—and, when the production is a musical, their choreography and music. A ton of work goes into each show, with the cast and crew putting their hearts, souls, and sweat into a production.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing these passionate and talented Greyhounds sing, dance, and delivery a soliloquy, you’re in luck! There are a few different theatre troupes that operate out of Loyola. The main troupe is the Evergreen Players; the Spotlight Players and the Poisoned Cup Players also produce shows throughout the year.

There are typically five productions each academic year, which span genres, styles, and centuries. Past productions have included better-known plays by Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare and musicals like Cabaret, as well as diverse works by contemporary playwrights such as Sarah Ruhl and Martin McDonagh and a number of one-act plays directed by students. While all of the performances are well attended, the musicals are historically the most popular.

Shows are often chosen for the season's production schedule to complement a university initiative. For example, when the first-year class read Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park as its Common Text, the play was also performed by the Evergreen Players that fall, inviting the Loyola community to engage further in conversations about race and community while also inviting the community into the world of live theatre.

For more information about upcoming performances, including ticket sales, visit the theatre department’s website or follow Loyola Fine Arts on Instagram.

Involving students in productions is the best way to teach empathy, and to encourage students to engage in deep, critical thinking about complex issues of self, society, and the world.

Natka Bianchini, Ph.D., associate professor of fine arts – theatre