After more than a year of planning, the College of Fine Arts is moving forward to create a theatrical presence in Dublin, Ohio with its newly formed theater company Tantrum Theater. The company will perform in the Abbey Theater in the Dublin Community Recreation Center for at least the first three years.
The College of Fine Arts is moving forward with its plans to have a theatrical presence in Dublin, Ohio — about 18 months after it announced the end of its affiliation with the Monomoy Theatre in Chatham, Massachusetts.
For more than a year, OU has been talking with Dublin officials about establishing a theater company that would mix professional and student talent to replace the summer stock program OU had sponsored in the Northeast for nearly 60 years.
The new company, called Tantrum Theater, will perform in the summer of 2016 at the Abbey Theater in the Dublin Community Recreation Center. Dan Dennis, visiting assistant professor of voice and movement, will be the inaugural artistic director. A producing or managing director has yet to be hired.
“The schedule for the Abbey was pretty well booked into the summertime, (but) we’re able to work far enough out in advance now and … (Dublin) has really stepped up to help (groups booked in the Abbey) find alternative performing venues,” Rachel Cornish, director of external relations for the College of Fine Arts, said.
Productions will be rehearsed and built in Athens and performed in Dublin, Cornish said.
At Monomoy, students and professionals worked for 12 weeks to produce eight shows. Housing, meals and stipends were provided for the 37-person company.
In Dublin, 50 positions, ranging from performing to front-of-house duties, are available for students. Tantrum Theater will maintain Monomoy’s professional component by including about 35 professionals in the 2016 season.
Housing will be provided while they are in Columbus, though meals are unlikely to be provided. Stipends for students in Tantrum Theater will range from $100 to $500 per week.
Finding a suitable and affordable location for summer theater had delayed the process.
Cornish said the college is planning for the first three years of the company, calling it its “incubation period” to see what works for the audience and the company.
“It’s understandable that when starting a venture like this, you have to be really careful about investing a lot of money into a space that might not be your permanent home,” Cornish said.
Using the Abbey Theater, Cornish said, will cost between $150,000 to $200,000 for three years.
The name of the theater company is a nod to the name the 2015 class of graduate actors had dubbed itself. Lisa Bol, a 2015 alumna actor who went to Monomoy once, said she “loves” the name.
“I feel honored that they took what we had built in excitement and moved forward with it,” Bol said. “Often, there is a disconnect between the arts and school spirit and being that a 'tantrum' is a group of bobcats, I think it’s kind of the perfect way to (say) all Bobcats are welcome.”
Colin Cardille, a junior studying acting and production, design and technology, said he intends to apply to Tantrum’s inaugural season because of the room for growth that comes with the new company versus the traditional structure of Monomoy.
“It’s just kind of nice to have this fresh start presented to us,” Cardille said.
New Jersey native Kelsey Rodriguez, a junior studying acting, said she is excited to do theater in another Ohio city. She added that the learning experience will go beyond the stage.
“(We can) get a sense of what it will be like outside of the university ... how to create a new, emerging theater,” Rodriguez said.