Production Workshop (PW) is Brown's only completely student-run theater. We like to say that a lot not just because it sounds cool, but also because it's true. Production Workshop focuses on producing theater (and other art) that would not have the opportunity to be produced in other venues on campus, and giving students the opportunity to learn about theater by producing it – all of it – by themselves.
What do you mean by "completely student run?"
By “completely student run” we mean exactly that. Our shows are staffed and acted completely by Brown students. Our shows are decided by Brown students. We decide our own equipment purchasing, take care of building issues, and generally do everything else that a real world theater outside of Brown would have to do, except pay rent.
How many shows does PW produce per year?
In our downstairs space, PW produces 3 full shows in the fall and 3 in the spring semester, as well as one during commencement. Additionally, we generally have a one-week project such as 3c2c or Week in the Space once per semester. (See the propose tab for more info on these oppourtunity.) In the upstairs space, tons of smaller productions go on all the time. PW goes from show to show with zero “dark time” in between, so there's always something happening.
What types of shows does PW do?
PW produces all kinds of shows, including but not limited to:
- “Standard repertoire” straight plays (e.g. The Father, Invention of Love, Crimes of the Hear)
- Work by current playwrights (e.g. The Skriker, Laramie Project)
- Both politically relevant and politically irrelevant material Musical theatre (e.g. The Best Brown Musical Ever, Cannibal, A Raisin In the Sun)
- Experimental genre-combining projects (e.g. The Magellan Project, 11 Apocalypses)
- Dance-theater (e.g. Balloon, Interbeing)
- New work by student playwrights (e.g. The Great Work, Karaoke Kid, If You're Lucky)
- Sound design installations (e.g. Garden)
- Whatever you can dream up that sounds interesting
Where is PW?
PW is located in T.F. Green Hall in the southeast corner of campus at 7 Young Orchard Ave, across from Perkins, and next to Orwig Music Library.
Who is PW / How do I join PW?
PW is you. By this, we mean that PW is not a group that requires “membership” like a club or other on-campus organizations. We don't have a membership list (though we do have a mailing list), so you can't join like you might join other groups. Instead, just read the section on getting involved and jump right in.
We do have a board which is a group of people that meets every week to keep things running smoothly. However, being on the board is not at all important if you just want to work on shows – in fact, board members sometimes find themselves too busy working on logistics of planning things and such to actually work on as many shows as non-board members.
How do I join the PW board?
If you're already involved in theatre but want to take it to the next step and help run a theatre from the inside out, the PW board might be for you. If you're interested in applying to be on the board, contact one of the board members, or just start showing up at meetings – they're always open and you can certainly contribute without being an official voting board member.
When does PW meet?
PW has its weekly open meetings generally on Sundays at 10 am in the upspace. Occasionally the meeting will be moved to a different time if it looks like a large percentage of the board will be unavailable during the 1pm time slot (e.g. when tech days for multiple shows line up on a Sunday it might be moved to 11pm). Check the web site or ask a board member to verify the time for a particular week.
How does PW compare to departmental shows?
This is a question that you'll have to experience for yourself to truly understand. But in brief:
- We're student run – the dpeartment has a lot of faculty involvement.
- Our rehearsal periods are a bit shorter so it can be a smaller commitment, though we rehearse just as many hours a day.
- We tend to be more likely to do zany and creative stuff.
- You don't have to choose between one or the other – most people who are involved in theater have been a part of shows produced by both (as well as MF, Shakespeare on the Green, and the other fine groups at Brown)
- We also have better far more donuts at our meetings.
What makes working at PW different than departmental shows for actors?
- PW shows usually rehearse for 3-4 weeks, and then have 1 week of tech/performances. Mainstage tends to have multiple weekends of performances as well as a couple of extra weeks of rehearsal.
- Mainstage directors are often professionals who have a lot of experience, which can be valuable for your training. PW directors, being other students, often have a more collaborative outlook which might make for a more fun process and can be equally valuable for your development as an actor.
- PW often produces new work by other Brown students. Aside from Brownbrokers, this is extremely rare on mainstage. It can be exciting to be the first to perform a new role.
What makes working at PW different than departmental shows for designers/technicians?
- If you're interested in lighting, scenic, or costume design on mainstage, 4 out of their 6 shows are designed by the faculty, so at best you'll get to be an assistant designer who may or may not have a lot of artistic say in the process. At PW, you'll get to do the whole deal.
- Mainstage has higher budgets in general than PW, so it can be nice sometimes to work there. However, working under the more limited budget at PW encourages you to be more creative in thinking about materials or design and can be more fun. Besides, if you plan to do theater after graduation, it's good to be used to small budgets!
- At PW, working on a production team made up completely of other students can be a lot of fun and is generally very collaborative. Working with the faculty teams on mainstage can also be fun, but in a different way.
- Most designers and technicians at Brown do spend some time working on mainstage and some time working at PW. The two aren't at all mutually exclusive, and you learn different things working in the different environments.
How do I get involved as a freshman?
If you're a freshman, we're just as excited to have you working with us as anyone else. In fact, we're probably more excited, since freshmen bring new ideas and excitement along with them, and we generally like meeting new people. So don't feel nervous – just drop by a meeting or send one of us a note and jump right in. Also be sure to sign up for our mailing list to hear about what's going on.
What if I have no experience in tech/design/stage management but want to learn?>That's totally fine! There are many staff positions that you can undertake with no experience at all, and PW is also willing to help you find mentors who have done your job before if you're at all nervous. Additionally, if you'd like to learn about a design craft, we're happy to set you up as another designer's assistant or apprentice so you can learn the process without being held responsible for the entire result. After assisting another designer once or twice you'll probably feel confident to do a full design alone, and maybe even take on an apprentice of your own. If you're interested in apprenticing or assisting, just send off an email to email@example.com and let us know. Additionally, anyone is always welcome to come help hang lights, build the set, strike shows, etc. Designers and tech directors are always happy to have help and will teach you what you need to know.
How do I propose a show/direct?
Check out the proposal process page.
I have this great idea for a project but I don't have the money.. give me money.. ?
OK, so that isn't really a question, except for the gratuitous question mark. But nonetheless, we do give grants out to people doing artistic stuff around campus.
What is the upstairs space?
The upstairs space, often referred to as the upspace, is our smaller blackbox theater upstairs in TF Green. We hold our weekly meetings there, and make it available for anyone on campus who wants to have an event, concert, show, etc. For more information, check out the upspace page.
I'm a prospective student. Should I come to Brown for theatre?
YES! If you have any questions about PW or theatre in general at Brown, one of the board would probably be glad to talk with you or meet up if you're coming to visit. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who can I contact for more info?
If you have a general PW related question, feel free to email email@example.com. Whichever board member is currently the “email person” will get it and answer you as soon as they can.
If you have a more specific question, check out the contact info page to figure out who you might want to talk to. We're all pretty friendly and happy to get emails or phone calls (at reasonable hours).