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Jan. 13: Carnegie Mellon School of Drama Students Explore Boundaries of Theatre in "PLAYGROUND" Festival


Eric Sloss

Carnegie Mellon School of Drama Students Explore
Boundaries of Theatre in “PLAYGROUND” Festival

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama’s student directors, designers, actors, technicians and playwrights will work in partnership on more than 60 productions to present their own work in “PLAYGROUND: A Festival of Independent Student Work,” created, prepared and rehearsed in a single week.

Advised by faculty and staff from the School of Drama, the festival will take place Jan. 29–31 in and around the Purnell Center for the Performing Arts on the university’s campus.

“PLAYGROUND is an amazing opportunity for our students to test their wings. The work is truly ‘owned’ by them and the passion they bring to the work is unlike anything else that happens within the School of Drama or the university,” said Dick Block, associate head of the School of Drama and PLAYGOUND coordinator.

Events include dramatic, dance and musical performances, mixed media projects, cabarets, films, installations, murals, song cycles and lightshows. PLAYGROUND’s rotating schedule allows audiences to sample a show for 15, 30 or 45 minutes at almost any time over the three-day festival. One hundred five proposals were submitted but only 61 performances, 10 installation projects and two performance art pieces were accepted. Students have the week off from classes to develop the productions.

Now in its sixth year, PLAYGROUND provides an outlet for the creative expression of independent student-produced work. The festival provides an opportunity for students in the School of Drama to innovate, collaborate and commit to experiences in theater-making as diverse as their own passions and preoccupations. Many students take on the unexpected — playwrights, directors and designers perform; actors write and direct. Drama students also collaborate with students from other schools within the university such as the School of Music, the School of Art and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as students from other universities including New York University, University of Michigan, the Hartt School of Music and UCLA.

PLAYGROUND opens to the public at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 29 and continues throughout the day on Friday, Jan. 30 and Saturday, Jan. 31. All performances are free. For tickets and for the festival schedule, call the School of Drama Box Office at 412-268-2407 or visit