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Theater Concentration Begins Hiring Faculty

The new Theater, Dance, and Media concentration has started the process of hiring faculty members, said Martin Puchner, the English professor who spearheaded the effort to create the concentration, during a panel event Wednesday.

Students, faculty, and members of Harvard’s arts and theater community met for a panel discussion on the new concentration, discussing the growth of the program, the role of technical theater training, and the concentration’s relationship with other theater organizations on campus.

Forum on the Future of Theater at Harvard
Chair of the Committee on Dramatics Prof. Martin Puchner, left, and graduate students Tarryn Li-min Chun, center, and Elizabeth M. Phillips, right, attended an open forum on the future of theater at Harvard in April.

Puchner said during the event that various academic departments across the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will hire new professors to teach in the concentration, and the committee will hire lecturers.

“We are going to have 4 or 5 people coming next year to offer courses, and we will continue to do that and to grow that and maybe turn some of these, what’s right now visiting positions into longer-term positions,” Puchner said.

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Those involved in running the program—including employees from the Office for the Arts and the American Repertory Theater and the president of the undergraduate theater umbrella organization, Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club—answered questions from prospective concentrators at the panel.

First announced in October 2014, a concentration in Theatre, Dance, and Media was officially approved by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences earlier this month. A standing committee will be created on July 1 to run the concentration, and students will be able to declare in the concentration starting next fall.

The panel also discussed the new program’s relationship with the already-established theater community on campus. One of the requirements of the concentration is participation in four productions, two of which must be affiliated with the concentration.

The Future of Theater at Harvard Forum
Attendees of an open forum on the future of theater at Harvard congregate after the official discussion on Wednesday evening.

Though both concentrators and non-concentrators will be able to participate in the Theater, Dance, and Media productions, Magdalene M.  Zier ’16, the president of HRDC, said there are some concerns about sharing resources between the ever-higher number of on-campus productions.

“I think there are some practicalities to be worked out in terms of shared resources and just general logistics to make sure that HRDC and the concentration don’t get relegated to opposite ends of the campus, but that we continue to work together to make theater even better and more exciting on campus.”

Prospective concentrators at the event said they are looking forward to seeing how the Theater, Dance, and Media program will develop in the coming years.

“With a concentration comes more support from the University to put on more shows, so more opportunities there as well,” said Derek P. Speedy ’18.

—Staff writer Andrew M. Duehren can be reached at andy.duehren@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @aduehren

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