Season PosterThe Stephens College Summer Theatre Institute (STI) will kick off its 2019 season on Friday, May 24, 2019, with “There Are No Rules,” an evening of long-form improv. The show is the first of five fully-staged shows performed in six weeks by Stephens B.F.A. theatre arts and musical theatre students who are between their first and second years of intensive training.

During STI, an intensive, six-week program on the Stephens campus, students work with talented guest artists and directors to produce shows in improv, combat, devised theatre, Commedia Del’Arte and musical theatre.

"I am quite excited about the 2019 Summer Theatre Institute season, as we are unveiling a new Shakespeare and Stage Combat show that is sure to be thrilling,” said Trent Rash, the executive director of Summer Theatre Institute and an assistant professor at Stephens. “In addition, we have guest artists coming from all parts of the United States — Portland, Chicago and Washington, D.C., to name a few — to share their expertise with our wonderful students.”

All shows, which are free and open to the public, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. in the Warehouse Theatre, with the exception of “And All That Jazz,” which will be held in the Macklanburg Playhouse.


2019 Shows 

“There Are No Rules”

An Evening of Long-Form Improv | Rated PG

Friday, May 24

Come for a night of laughs, spontaneity, and mayhem as performers take you on an unpredictable journey where "there are no rules."...

Guest Artist Director: Elizabeth Marsala, a writer, actor and Stephens College alumna based in Chicago.


“O, For a Muse of Fire”

An Evening of Shakespeare and Stage Combat | Rated PG-13

Friday, May 31

Students are pitted against each other as they bring some of Shakespeare’s most iconic fights to life (safely, of course). Stage combat is a specialized technique in theatre designed to create the illusion of physical combat without causing harm to the performers — but it doesn’t make it any less thrilling to behold. It’s going to be a night of adversaries, action and adventure that you truly won’t want to miss!

Guest Artist Directors: Dr. Kate Busselle, a violence and intimacy designer and adjunct Stephens instructor, and Jeannie Woods, an actor, stage director, producer, theatre historian and professor emerita of theatre at Western Illinois University.


“This Moment, Precious, Fleeting, Catch it, Frame it”

An Evening of Devised Theatre | Rated PG-13

Friday, June 7

In this performance, students will perform a devised theatre piece, meaning they are developing the show from the ground up. With the guidance of their director, actors explore different stories and movements throughout the rehearsal process that, over time, come together to make one piece that is “covered with the fingerprints of each and every participant.” These pieces are born out of the heart and soul of the performers, and it is that spirit that draws the audience in. It’s going to be a night of power, passion and soul that will simply take your breath away.

Guest Artist Director: Nick Jonczak, a theatre creator and activist based in Philadelphia.


“A Faction of Fools”

An Evening of Commedia Dell’Arte | Family Friendly

Friday, June 14

This is guaranteed to be a night of foolery and fancy that will keep you cackling till the end. Come say hello to all of our friends from Commedia Dell’Arte (a classic form of Italian masked theatre) as they take us on various journeys through their absurd world. This show is family friendly, and whether you’re 5 or 50, you are in for a hilariously good time. So come take a break, laugh and partake in the simple joys of slapstick with us at “A Faction of Fools”!

Guest Artist Director: Anthony Fuemmeler, a mask maker, puppeteer and director based in Portland, Oregon.


“And All That Jazz”

An Evening of Musical Theatre | Family Friendly

Monday, June 24

Get ready to be “razzle dazzled” as students perform show tunes from the hit Broadway shows “Anything Goes,” “Songs for a New World” and “Chicago” as well as stand-alone jazz and tap pieces choreographed by Lisa Geger, the company dance instructor. This is going to be a night of song, dance and spectacle that is sure to get a “kick out of you.”

Director: Trent Rash, a Stephens College faculty member.

Guest Choreographer: Nicole Ruark, a performer and choreographer based in New York who is a resident artist with the prestigious Broadway Theatre Project.


More Info

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