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For the "static" pages in the CRLT Players sub-site

In 2009-2010, the CRLT Players Theatre Program expanded its repertoire and introduced innovative theatrical styles to existing sketches. For example, multi-media and musical elements were introduced into First Class, which was performed at a dinner honoring U-M's Thurnau Professors and as a plenary session at a national archival education and research institute. The Kiss, a new one-act play focused on the topic of sexual harassment and created at the request of the Provost, premiered this year. Audiences included the Academic Program Group (U-M Deans and Provost), the Engineering Diversity and Outreach Council, and the Provost's Campus Leadership Program for department chairs and associate deans. Trigger Vignettes - customized, short scenes created in response to specific needs in a department, school, or college - became a staple method of the program, with different sets of vignettes created for the School of Nursing, postdocs in chemistry, and the University of Michigan - Dearborn.

In the 2009-2010 academic year, the CRLT Players performed 43 times on campus for approximately 2,228 audience members. In addition to its on-campus performances, the CRLT Players performed at the following campuses and conferences in 2009-2010: Read more »

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In 2010-2011 the CRLT Theatre Program expanded its multi-media performance approach with new productions and innovations to existing sketches. The creation of Institutional Change: The Musical, a full-length musical, enabled the Players to use music and song to address issues relevant to a broad academic audience. The production examines the inner workings of a fictional academic department through a series of narratives that depict university culture and climate. The characters, ranging from a student to the department chair, struggle to find purpose in a rapidly changing environment without compromising their current positions. The musical premiered in a professional theater at Auburn University before 150 faculty, chairs, deans, staff, and students. Additional performances took place at Marshall University and at U-M. Other innovations included the development of trigger vignettes - short scenes created in response to specific needs in an academic unit - for the School of Social Work and the Provost's Campus Leadership Program, and the customization of "First Class" and "The Fence" for a Chinese audience as part of the Michigan Faculty Development Seminar. Initially viewed as a pragmatic, technical concern, the need for translation led to a creative use of multimedia - music, graphics, and animation - to present subtitles as an integral part of the dramatic production. Read more »

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In 2012-2013, the Theatre Program developed a number of new sketches. In partnership with LSA and ADVANCE, the Players premiered Navigating Departmental Politics and No Offense. The first uses the context of a faculty search to explore the ways that preferred interaction style, rank, and identity affect one's ability to meaningfully participate in departmental discussions and decision-making. The second investigates the charged relationship that can develop between graduate advisors and their advisees in lab settings, considering the ways that the accumulation of differential treatment can create educational environments of marked disadvantage for some students. New work development was rounded out this year by the creation of 7 into 15. This audience-driven piece of interactive theatre features 7 short plays performed in just 15 minutes, each of which offers a different entry point into thinking about graduate student climate and how it might be improved. Read more »

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Through the facilitation process, Players performances allow participants to identify subtle challenges and develop plans for moving toward better practices. Our performances always begin by posing a challenge or problem that does not have an easy solution. As a result, sketches prompt critical engagement by asking, "What might you do?" in a given situation, rather than saying, "Here's what you should/should not do."

Much of the learning occurs after the sketch. Using the principles that inform all of CRLT's work, we invite audience members to engage actively with the material, whether by stepping into a scene to try to change a dynamic, watching actors replay a scene making changes based on audience recommendations, or engaging in a discussion with peers after questioning the characters about their experience in a scene. In these ways, over the course of a program, audiences experience the movement from problem to solution, from questions to strategies.

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