Ohio University’s professional theater company is moving from its home near Columbus to Athens, with its first performances in southeast Ohio set to take place this summer.
Tantrum Theater, a professional theater currently located in Dublin, was founded in 2015 to serve as a training ground for OU students in the School of Theater. Now, for its fourth year of performances, the theater will relocate to Athens to improve student involvement opportunities and conserve money spent on housing.
Tantrum Theater employs a combination of current theater students and professional actors, designers, directors and choreographers for its productions.
Rachel Cornish, the founding producing director of Tantrum Theater, said that cohort of experienced artists working on the shows will differentiate Tantrum Theater productions from those by other theater companies in the area.
“We’re bringing in professional artists to augment the student work that’s already being done on the show,” Cornish said. “Things will look different because we’re working with seasoned artists who have been working in the field for many years.”
Cornish said the company was originally established in Dublin because of the city’s growing arts scene and large population. Now, the theater is relocating to Athens in part because of the expenses associated with producing in Dublin. It will also better serve those living and learning in the area by improving student access to the theater and by operating throughout the academic year rather than only in the summer.
One of the challenges associated with the move Cornish looks forward to tackling is catering productions to a southeast Ohio audience.
“We’re going to have to work really hard to get members of the community to come to the shows, which means we’re going to have to find something of real value for them,” she said. “We’re going to have to make ourselves really useful to the community here, because the population is smaller than in Columbus. We’re going to have to work hard, and that’s great, because we’re ready to do it.”
Michael Lincoln, a professor in the OU School of Theater, recently stepped into the role of artistic director for Tantrum Theater. As artistic director, he’ll work alongside others to make decisions for the company regarding programming to determine what will best serve students and others involved.
Alongside Cornish, Lincoln was also part of the leadership team that made the decision to move the company to Athens. He recently did a sabbatical study on universities that house professional theaters and said he was most supportive of the relocation because he believes Tantrum Theater can better serve OU students by being located on campus.
“Merely by being a student here, every student is going to interact with professionals,” Lincoln said. “I was very much in favor of moving Tantrum to campus.”
Bethany Greenman, a junior studying playwriting, worked as a dramaturg for a Tantrum Theater production last summer. She’s excited about the company’s relocation to Athens and the guest artists and directors it will bring with it.
Greeman also thinks students will be more eager and able to participate in Tantrum Theater productions now that it will be located nearby.
“I think there was definitely a barrier in terms of time and commitment in the summer, so I think with having it local during the school year, people will be happy to be involved,” she said.