RIT Players was formed officially in Fall, 1995, when the club’s charter was approved by Student Government. In the previous Spring quarter (1994-95), the Liberal Arts College production of “The Pajama Game” had mentioned a group calling itself “RIT Players.”
The very first production was: RIT Players Present: “Short Plays for Tight Spaces,” on Parents
Weekend, October 20 & 21, 1995. (Ingle Aud) This program was planned as a year-long
series, “A Removable Impromptu Theatre Guild Project: Eleven Plays in Rolling Repertory.” The next installment, “Random Acts of Theatre,” took place in February 1996; it featured nine short performance pieces, all directed and acted by students.
The first full-length theatre production on campus under RIT Players’ & College of Liberal Arts’ co-sponsorship was Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” Jan 23 – Feb 2, 1997.
Director: Peter Ferran.
Set Design: Craig Josephson, Marla Schweppe.
Costumes: Elizabeth LeBlanc (student).
Apprentice Directors: Matthew Bernius, Kevin Eckles, Paul Jordan (students).
This was a “traveling show,” performed over two weeks in the RIT Cafeteria, Fireside Lounge, Shumway Dining Hall, and the off-campus Media Play in Southtown Plaza. The set was carted into the playing space by company members and assembled before the audience’s eyes; the stage manager called “Ready;” a small musical ensemble played; the play began. It continued to feature musical performance throughout, along with visible set and lighting changes, and the actors always in the audience’s view.
The first full-length production directed by a student was Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Feb 4-7, 1999 (the 5th year of Players’ existence). Director was Gretchen Gast, a senior Photo major under supervision of Peter Farren.
Currently, the RIT Players produces at least two major productions each academic school year, two 24 Hour Shows and a Night of One Acts.
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