Theatre Program

Theatre Performances

Our annual performance seasons typically include five departmental and two student productions. When we select the four shows of our main academic season, our goal is to offer both audience appeal and educational value. At least one musical and one classical script are always included. Our summer season provides at least one light-hearted show appropriate for that time of year. Every year, our students produce a children's play. Most years, there is an evening of student-directed one act plays. Many years, student-directed extra projects appear on one of our stages.

Our productions are staged in one of two fine theatre spaces (a 700-seat proscenium and a 100-seat black box) and are supported by a rehearsal and dance studio, complete scene and costume shops, and top-notch lighting and audio equipment.


Dorothy Stickney, an accomplished actress and Dickinson native, flourished on Broadway from the early 1930s until the mid-’70s. She originated roles in such plays as "The Front Page" and "On Borrowed Time." And, of course, Dorothy was the first to play Vinnie Day in "Life with Father," the longest running straight play in Broadway history. Written by her husband, Howard Lindsay, and his collaborator, Russel Crouse, the role won Dorothy the New York Drama League award. Later, Dorothy appeared in "Life with Mother," a well-received sequel to the earlier play. She also enjoyed successes on stage with Mary Martin and Charles Boyer in "Kind Sir" and opposite Marlon Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire." In 1963, Miss Stickney received North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award for Outstanding Achievement by a North Dakota native. Her last Broadway performance was as Berthe in "Pippin." She contributed significantly to the initial remodeling of the gymnasium space that became the auditorium. She also left a sizable scholarship endowment to DSU Theatre.

Seating 735, Dorothy Stickney Auditorium is our primary performance venue. The proscenium is 40 feet wide and 16 feet high. The stage depth is 30 feet from apron edge to cyclorama, 17 feet from curtain line to cyclorama. A Yamaha sound system is controlled from the booth at the rear of the house.

There are 150 light circuits throughout the auditorium (60 front of house, 40 on a first electric, 40 on a second electric, and 10 in pockets). These patch to 44 2K dimmers and two 6K dimmers and are controlled by a Colortran computer light board in the booth at the rear of the house. Grid is 25 feet above the stage. The electrics and a Wanger Cloud are on motor-driven winches. All else is dead hung. There are no traps.
Theatre Facilities

Seating anywhere from 50 to 100, depending on the specific arrangement, the Backstage Theatre can be set up as a theatre in the round, a thrust stage, or a mini proscenium. The playing space is usually about 250 square feet. The ceiling height is 12 feet. A portable sound system and a 25 dimmer per circuit grid is controlled by a Colortran light console. The ceiling is crisscrossed with pipes for light instruments.

The studio loft serves for acting, dance, directing, and creative dramatics classes. It also is a handy rehearsal space, since its dimensions are roughly the same as those of Dorothy Stickney Auditorium's stage.

The shop holds a table saw, band saw, radial arm saw, drill press, air compressor, and a variety of smaller power tools and hand tools. Paint storage is also in the shop. However, paint mixing and cleanup are done at the shop sink in the backstage area. There is some backstage storage for platforms and flats. We also have on-site storage for valuable furniture and a warehouse for less frequently used set pieces. The electrical room has gel storage and cutting areas, instrument repair materials, and storage for extra instruments, cables, and sound equipment.

We store a large number of costumes and props from various periods in the attic above our stage spaces. We also have a costume shop set up for costume construction with layout tables, a serger, and several sewing machines. We have two makeup rooms and three dressing rooms. A bathroom is adjacent.

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