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Sarah Whitcomb

TTS: Decoded

Hi again! It’s me. Moving forward in these blogs, I’m going to start using some language common to The Theatre School students -- as a conservatory, we have a shared set of vocabulary to describe what we do as theatre students, but for those of you who may be new to this, let me explain! Every quarter, I’ll be de-coding some commonly used phrases here:

​TTS - This is short for The Theatre School. Whether you’re registering for classes, looking for somewhere to collaborate, or just chatting with another student, this is the slang you’ll use.

TTSSGA - We have our own student government! They help us with everything from having therapy dogs to organizing student-driven events that serve our 300+ student community. 

ST*RS - This stands for Support Tomorrow’s Rising Stars. It’s an organization of 4th year BFA and 3rd year MFA students that fundraise money to attend their graduate showcases in LA, Chicago, and NYC. Other funds go toward helping members pay to start their professional careers. They also put on a ton of TTS community programming - the organization has hosted everything from dances to drag shows! See our graduating class of 2017 here.​

Dramaturgy - Pronounced drama - ter - jee. This is a major and field of study within theatre. Sometimes known as “story detectives,” a dramaturg helps the creative team better serve the script and the audiences of the show.

The Reskin - Actually called the Merle Reskin Theatre, this space is a 1000+ seat proscenium stage. We host 3 children’s productions a year in this theatre -- more info to come in upcoming blogs. To see a history of the Merle Reskin, click here. It’s a building ingrained with Chicago culture!

The Fullerton - The Fullerton Stage is another one of our theatre spaces. It’s located in the first floor of our 5 floor building, and it holds 250 audience members in a thrust-style arrangement. This fall, we’ll be producing Into The Woods there! Check out Into The Woods here.

The Healy - This is yet another theatre space -- and it’s my favorite. This large black box has 8 different seating configurations, 5 catwalks, a floor to ceiling window, and an amazing view of the city. As of October 1st, this show is loading in for Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England -- more info here.​

Our Season - Referring to our production season, this statement can reference any of our 30+ shows in more than 6 theatre spaces per year. In addition to having this season databased online (we do everything from Shakespeare to new work!), our fourth floor has an amazing calendar of the season.

Have any questions on these terms? Want to learn more about how we function here? Email  theatreadmissions@depaul.edu for more information or to request terms for next quarter!


New School Year, New Students

Now that the school year is back in full swing, I’m finally settling into my junior year at The Theatre School (TTS).  One of my absolute favorite parts of fall is getting to know the new TTS students!

Our conservatory is really small; we hover around 300-400 students spread over 12 BFA and 3 MFA programs. This means that every year, 90 new students enter a tight-knit, closely-networked group of upperclassmen excited to welcome them into their community.

Being a new student can be overwhelming. I remember feeling completely prepared for college, but arriving in an arts conservatory where you have 10 people in a class and 16 hour days was still a bit of a shock (see photo at right). Two years later, now that I’m well adjusted to the ins and outs of TTS, I’m a co-coordinator of a program called the Goodman Orientation Detail Squad -- better known as the GOD Squad.

This mentorship program takes its roots from the Goodman School of Drama, what The Theatre School was called when it belonged to the Goodman Theatre (back when DePaul hadn’t “picked it up” yet!). The idea is basically to pair upperclassman students with underclassmen in their same major, creating a community of empathy, networking resources, and helping adjustments to TTS. It’s amazing to see how comfortable students feel when they know just one person. As professional and grown-up we like to say we are, everyone can always use a helping hand.

It’s amazing to see where students hail from every year to come study here in Chicago! Every student has a different background, view on theatre, and framework on the world. My favorite part of this program, though, is the yearly reminder of the excitement that comes with entering college.

When I’m knee deep in homework and starting to feel some Fall Blues, it’s the excitement of a new Theatre School class that keeps me motivated. What better way to start the school year than to be surrounded by 90 nervous, excited young artists?

If you’re starting your career at DePaul this fall, remember this: GOD Squad program or not, students like me are ecstatic to help you through your journey. Your transition to Chicago is one of the bumpiest, most amazing, inspiring times of your life. Find your squad and live it up!

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