Theater 101: An Intro to Upstate’s Most Dramatic Department

Alexis Jeter
Staff Writer


Theatre is one of the oldest forms of entertainment. This art form has grown and changed over time, plays became vast in subject matter, and has always been a popular form of storytelling.

There are many jobs in the theatre that people may not know about, such as:

Assistant stage manager


Costume designer


Dance coordinator

Dialect coaches



Fight coordinator

Fly people

Light designer

Make-up artist

Props masters

Set construction

Set designer

Sound designer

Sound/lights board operator

Stage manager


The Shoestring Players take four to five weeks to prepare a play or musical. All of that includes: auditions, casting, a read through, blocking, memorizing lines, building the set, finding costumes, get press release, invite people to the play, and practice for four days with sound and lights.

Before a performance, the actors do theatre games to get energy up, focus on the play, and connect with each other as an ensemble.

Jimm Cox, Lee Neibert, and Rich Robinson direct most of the plays on campus with an exception of a guest director.

The Golden Shoe Awards Ceremony is the theatre version of the Oscars on campus. At the end of the season, actors get nominated for different categories and the winner is awarded for their accomplishment in the theatre. The new season is also revealed at the ceremony.

In theatre, superstitions exist. One of the well-known superstitions is to NEVER say good luck to an actor because it will bring bad luck to the actor. Break a leg is a way of telling them good luck on their performance.

Every theatre must have a ghost. In the HPAC, there is a ghost that is referred to as the HPAC Ghost. The idea of having a ghost in the theatre came from Thespis of 6th BC Athens, who was the first to speak lines as an actor on stage. Thespis has a reputation of causing all sorts of mischief and he is the reason actors are called Thespians.

The word MACBETH is the most avoided word. It is usually called “The Bard’s Play”, alternatively. However, this play is said to be cursed. The theory is that William Shakespeare included actual black magic spells in the incantations of the three witches and if anyone were to be in the play or mention Macbeth within the theatre, they will be cursed. There is a history of actors who died while doing this play. There is a “cure”. One must step outside, spin around three times, spit, curse, and beg to come back into the theatre.