Butler University Theater: Setting Indianapolis Theater on Fire

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Butler University’s Theater department is one of Indianapolis’ most thought provoking innovative theaters showcasing the talent of college students. Butler University is one of the most recognized and respected names in higher education among central Indiana colleges and universities. It is no wonder then that the programs in their Jordan College of Fine Arts stand apart as well. Butler University Theater is no exception. With a mission to expose its students to international theater techniques while teaching them about the business of theater through a rigorous course of study, this theater program is setting the Indianapolis performing arts scene on fire.

In this four year Bachelors degree program, students will spend time learning about every possible area of theater from acting classes to scenic design to dramatic literature to mask making seminars and more. Though Butler University’s Theater department might be a bit small, the intimacy of such a tightly bonded group of artists can not be matched elsewhere. Because the department refuses to over load itself with students, class sizes are small and students build real relationships with their professors who are working professionals in the Indianapolis theater world.

The theater department at Butler University stresses the importance of inter-departmental collaboration. It has partnered many times with one of the best Indianapolis dance schools, Butler Ballet, to bring cutting edge pieces of theater to life. Students of Butler University Theater are encouraged to think outside the box as they produce their own work from year to year.

Butler Theater thinks outside the box as it presents its season of plays to Indianapolis society. From Chekhov to Beckett to Shakespeare to Churchill, the performances on Butler University’s Theater main stage  from year to year bring a wide variety of classic and contemporary plays to life. To give students a spice of real life, each of the theater’s four main stage shows receive reviews in NUVO Newsweekly and The Indianapolis Star, giving valuable feedback to participants about the outcome of their artistic process.

And to give students even more opportunities to perform, the theater also does one or two site specific performance pieces throughout the city of Indianapolis. Each piece is performed in various cultural hot spots that are nontraditional theater spaces throughout the Circle City. It never surprising to see Butler Theater students warming up for a show at places like President Benjamin Harrison’s Home, the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s gardens, the historic Oldfields-Lilly House, or even in the streets of Massachusetts Avenue.

In addition, students have a chance to connect with Indianapolis professionals. The professors at Butler University have worked to maintain a close working relationship with area theaters such at the Indiana Repertory Theater and the Phoenix Theater. Not only are students required to see a certain number of shows from each of their seasons, many complete internships, special seminars, and regular classes under the instruction of adjunct professors from these professional Indianapolis companies.

Butler University Theater’s Clowes Memorial Hall is one of two Indianapolis sites chosen by the Broadway Across America company to hosts their productions, the other being the Murat Theatre, now known as the Old National Center. Broadway Across America is a national theatrical company whose mission it is to train, entertain and inspire young actors to greater heights of expression on stage. It’s a win/win situation for Butler drama students and for Broadway Across America as well.

Butler Theater students have a multitude of opportunities to work in the Indianapolis arts community. Because of the contacts they make while at Butler, many have gone on to intern or to work part or full time for companies such as the Heartland Film Festival, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and Beef and Boards Dinner Theater.

In addition to connecting its students to the Indianapolis arts scene, Butler University’s Theater department catapults its students beyond Indy and the Hoosier State. You will find niches of Butler University alums from Los Angales to Chicago to New York, all placing their stamp on the face of theater in those cities.

So the next time you are looking for a new experience for not a lot of money, see what Butler University Theater has to offer. Mainstage tickets are at most $15, and student produced plays are always free.

Butler University Theater
1600 Sunset Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46208

Past Performances and Reviews

Butler University Theatre Presents Caucasian Chalk Circle Oct. 6-11
Butler University Theatre Presents The Merchant of Venice
Butler University Theatre Presents Woyzeck
Review: Salvaged Layers, by Butler Univeristy and Ball State
The Cherry Orchard at Butler Univesity Theatre



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Indianapolis Theatres and Performing Arts Venues

Athenaeum Theatre | Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre | Buck Creek Playhouse | Clowes Memorial Hall | Columbia Club | Hedback Theatre | Hilbert Circle Theatre | Indiana Repertory Theatre | Indianapolis Civic Theatre | IndyFringe Building | Irving Theater | Ruth Lilly Performance Hall | Madame Walker Theatre | Old National Centre (Murat) | The Palladium | Phoenix Theatre | Scottish Rite Cathedral | Theatre on the Square | Warren Performing Arts Center | Indianapolis Theatre Companies | More Greater Indianapolis Theatres

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