Special Events

Monday, August 28 at 3pm

Intro to the Performing Arts Banner

Intro to the Performing Arts!

First Years and Transfer Students!  Join us!

Discover all that the UR has to offer in the performing arts across the disciplines of Theatre, Music, and Dance!  Join us for Intro to the Performing Arts!

Monday, August 28 at 3pm in the Smith Theatre (Sloan Performing Arts Center)

What: Discover everything you need to know about the Performing Arts at the University of Rochester!  Find out about 24@Todd our 24 Hour Play Festival and meet faculty and students and learn how to get involved.  Followed by a dessert reception!

Tuesday, August 29

24@Todd Banner


24@Todd is a 24-hour play festival during Welcome Week for incoming and transfer students. The festival allows first year and transfer students to get their theatrical feet wet by writing, directing, designing and acting in short plays created in one 24 hour period.  They're mentored by upperclassmen and friendships made during the festival often last a lifetime! 

24@Todd performs Tuesday, August 29 at 7pm in Todd Theatre. 

FREE and UNRESERVED SEATING (ProTip: get there early!  It always sells out!) 

Want to get involved?  Come to the Intro to the Performing Arts Event (see above) or email us!

Sunday, September 17

Polologues poster


Join us for playwright, performer, and activist, Xandra Nur Clark's solo show about polyamory!

Polylogues is an interview-based solo show that investigates real peoples' experiences with nonmonogamy and love in all its forms. By providing anonymity to each interviewee, writer/performer Xandra Nur Clark channels voices and stories that could never be heard if the storytellers' identities were known. The result is a vibrant, intimate community forged on and off the stage through a wide range of perspectives-from a polyamorous senior to a child worried about her open parents, from a resident of a commune to an evangelical swinger, and from the fully committed to the cautiously curious. Polylogues examines what 21st century humans want in relationships, what we're afraid of, and the many ways we are capable c loving beyond what any single one of us can imagine.

More about Xandra Nur Clark.

Sunday, September 17 at 7pm in Todd Theatre Lobby (Todd Union)
Co-sponsored by the UR International Theatre Program, the Institute for the Perofrming Arts, and
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Burgett Center

Tuesday, September 26

Ants to Gods banner

Improv Workshop with Ants to Gods

Join us for an Improv Workshop with Ants to Gods, an all-Black, irreverent improv comedy troupe hailing from Rochester, NY.  Ants to Gods are known for their uncanny ability to find humor in the darkest scenarios. Using your suggestions, Austin, Elijah, and Eno will bring new worlds to life! No subject matter is too heavy or too obtuse for Ants to Gods and their unique, down-to-earth, and incredibly smart sense of humor. (Open to UR students only.)

Tuesday, September 26 at 6pm in the Douglass Leadership House.
Made possible by the UR International Theatre Program,
the Center for Community Engagement, and
the Douglass Leadership House.

Tuesday, October 10

Ants to Gods Banner

Ants to Gods: Public Performance

Join us for a public performance (with talkback) of improv troupe, Ants to Gods, an all-Black, irreverent improv comedy troupe hailing from Rochester, NY.  Ants to Gods are known for their uncanny ability to find humor in the darkest scenarios. Using your suggestions, Austin, Elijah, and Eno will bring new worlds to life! No subject matter is too heavy or too obtuse for Ants to Gods and their unique, down-to-earth, and incredibly smart sense of humor.

Tuesday, October 10 at 6pm in the Todd Theatre Lobby (NOTE new location!).
Made possible by the UR International Theatre Program,
the Center for Community Engagement, and
the Douglass Leadership House.

They Present: Exploring Trans and Nonbinary Representation in Theatre & Literature

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando is often held up as a groundbreaking exploration of gender as it veered from the binary norms of the early 20th century.  What does this story say now? How do you think the novel was received in its time, versus the reception of the play currently? Perhaps, most importantly, why is it important to tell queer stories? How can we center queer people in the telling of these stories and why is that important? Join us for a discussion on nonbinary and transgender performance with Susan B Anthony Institute’s Janet Werther (Queer Performance Researcher/Activist/Lecturer at the Susan B Anthony Institute, RIT, SUNNY New Paltz, UB), and The International Theatre Program’s Sara Bickweat Penner (Senior Lecturer: UR Theatre Program; Resident Intimacy Director; Moderator), Questions generated by students from URITP’s Consent & Performance & Plays In Performance classes.

Tuesday, October 10 at 4.30pm in the Smith Theatre (Sloan Performing Arts Center).

Monday, October 23

Catherine Filloux

Artistry and Activism: award-winning writer, Catherine Filloux, speaks about her work as a playwright, librettist and activist

Award-winning playwright, librettist and activist, Catherine Filloux, talks about her extraordinary career and the strategies she's nurtured, the experience she's gained, and the lessons she's learned combining artistry and activism.  Filloux who, with famed composer Olga Neuwirth, became the first female composer/female librettist collaboration in the history of Vienna Staatsoper, will speak also of the journey to adapt Virginia Woolf's Orlando to the stage, the relationship between composer and librettist, and the burdens, joys, and challenges that interdisciplinary intersectionality brings to artistic collaboration and production.

Catherine Filloux is an award-winning French Algerian American playwright librettist and activist who has been writing about human rights for many decades. Filloux’s new play “How to Eat an Orange” was commissioned by INTAR and will premiere this season at La MaMa in New York City. Her new musical “Welcome to the Big Dipper” (composer Jimmy Roberts, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”) will premiere Off-Broadway next season at the York Theatre in New York City; it is a National Alliance for Musical Theatre finalist and received a workshop at the Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, NY (Hunter Foster, AD). Her opera “Orlando” is the 2022 Grawemeyer Award winner.

Monday, October 23 at 5pm (Humanities Center Conference Room D)

The Humanities Center is located on the second floor of Rush Rhees Library, off the Great Hall.)

Co-sponsored by the the UR International Theatre Program with
the Arthur Satz Department of Music,
the Institute for the Performing Arts, and
the Humanities Center.
Photo credit: Vandy Rassana

Thursday, November 2

Bread & Puppet Header

Bread and Puppet Theatre!

Join us for a trip to SUNY Geneseo to see Bread & Puppet Theatre in their 60th anniversary show, Inflammatory Earthling Rants (with help from Kropotkin).  Registration deadline: October 27 at 5pm

What: Bread and Puppet Theatre's show, Inflammatory Earthling Rants (with help from Kropotkin)

Where: Location of Event: Newton, Hall, SUNY Geneseo | Bus departure/arrival location: Todd Union

When: Thursday, November 2, 2023. 

  • Bus leaves from Todd Union at 7pm
  • Event: 7pm-8:15pm
  • 10pm (estimated bus return to Todd Union, UR River Campus)

How: FREE of charge | Transportation at no cost provided REGISTER NOW!

Event Description:  See the acclaimed and internationally renowned, Bread & Puppet Theater, in a rare Rochester-area appearance of their 60th anniversary show, Inflammatory Earthling Rants (with help from Kropotkin)! FREE with transportation provided (registration required by 10/27). The Bread and Puppet Theater champions a visually rich, street-theater brand of performance art filled with music, dance and slapstick. Believing that theater is a basic necessity like bread, the company frequently brings its work to the streets for  those who may not otherwise go to the theater. Its shows are political and spectacular, with puppets often on stilts, wearing huge masks with expressive faces, singing, dancing and playing music. Recognized throughout the world, Bread and Puppet Theater has won distinction at international theater festivals in Italy, Poland,  Colombia, and Yugoslavia. After the show Bread & Puppet will serve its famous sourdough rye bread with aioli, and Bread & Puppet’s “Cheap Art” – books, posters, postcards, pamphlets and banners from the Bread & Puppet Press – will be for sale.

About Inflammatory Earthling Rants (with help from Kropotkin):

"Earthlings are now aflame and consequently need inflammatory rants, directed against the arsonist: Western Civilization and its incompetent government”, says Bread and Puppet director Peter Schumann. “The habitual pragmatic communication jargon won’t do, so the ranters have to resort to the original language which was tasked to employ the spells, charms, and incantations needed to confront the disaster in order to instigate change – with help from Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid ideology.”

Sponsored by the Institute for the Performing Arts, with the UR International Theatre Program additional support from Wilson Commons Student Activities

Sunday, November 5


Discover puppetry with this free workshop!

Discover puppetry and bringing life to inanimate objects with this free workshop with acclaimed artist, Josh Rice!  Puppetry is the art of animating the inanimate, or giving life to an object that was once lifeless.  It is often non-verbal, and quite physical. Rooted in Japanese traditions, students will learn basic Bunraku-style manipulation techniques through hands-on exploration and non-verbal communication and gesture. This workshop is great training for actors, dancers, and performers to explore subtlety, nuance, and how to make your performance secondary, and in service to the puppet/object, which is the primary focus of storytelling.  Visual artists and those who like to craft and create things will also find somethjing to love in this workshop!

Sunday, November 5 at 2-4pm (Sloan Studio; Todd Union 107)

Saturday, November 11

Reenah Golden

My Words, My Ways

Join a workshop with acclaimed artist, poet, performer, and activist Reenah Golden!  As Reenah says: "We will use elements of performance poetry, hip hop, group performance and spoken word to explore intimate identity and collaborative ways of being in a world where some voices are still being silenced. No experience necessary. Only share what you write if you like. Let’s create a safe space to be together with our words, our way." *Lunch included.

Saturday, November 11 at 2-4pm (Douglass Leadership House)

Tuesday, April 23

Othello Panel

Panel: Performing Othello in the 21st Century

Few of Shakespeare’s major tragedies provoke the reactions and present the questions that Othello does for contemporary audiences and performers.  Its story—compelling, exciting, and heartbreaking—is undergirded by language and attitudes towards race and women that may seem out of tune with, and problematic for contemporary sensibilities.  The play challenges us to see beyond easy positions on race, culture, and identity, and to explore nuance and complexity, love and loyalty, assimilation and otherness.  Join us to discuss these issues and more with a panel of distinguished academics and performers: Professors Jordan Ealey (Dept. Of Black Studies; playwright/librettist), Kenneth Gross (Shakespeare scholar; UR English Dept.), Jeffrey McCune (Director: the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies; Dept. of Black Studies); J Simmons (Actor and Educator; Mentor on the current URITP production of Othello), and Nigel Maister (Artistic Director: UR International Theatre Program; director of Othello; panel moderator).

Tuesday, April 23 at 5pm (Smith Theatre | Sloan Performing Arts Center)


Dan O'Brien

A talk with playwright, Dan O'Brien (Newtown) and Fiona Kyle

Join us for a talk with professional playwright Dan O’Brien, writer of Newtown, the play currently in production at Geva, and Fiona Kyle, dramaturg and literary manager at Geva Theatre Center.


On Zoom:

Meeting ID: 992 9157 3377

Passcode: NewTown

Tuesday, April 23 at 6pm (online)

Friday, May 3-Saturday, May 4, 2024

Shaw Festival Banner

Join the Theatre Program for an amazing FREE visit to the acclaimed Shaw Festival!

The Theatre Program is sponsoring a FREE trip to the famous Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake where students will get to tour the backstage areas and shops, meet actors and directors, take workshops, and see wonderful shows—with an overnight in a hotel and food included.  And it’s all FREE!

About the Shaw:

With 10 or more productions each year performed in three theatres for an audience of more than 250,000, the Shaw Festival is a major North American cultural icon.  A contemporary theatre festival that features smart, provocative, potent, and diverse plays (and musicals) from the past and present performed by a celebrated repertory theatre ensemble, the Shaw presents theatre that is challenging, surprising, often funny, and always entertaining. Productions are lovingly and artfully brought to the stage each year by a talented team of actors, directors, and designers, showcasing the incredible tapestry of talent that Canadian artists contribute to the world, and which enrich audiences from across Canada, North America, and, indeed, the world.

When: May 3-4, 2024  Please note this is a 2-day (1 overnight) trip that takes place at the start of Reading Week--departing early on May 3 and returning in the evening of May 4.

Where: The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada (please see other notes below)

What: We’ll leave Rochester and travel by car to Niagara-on-the-Lake. During our two days students will have backstage tours, take workshops, speak with artists, technicians, and performers, and see two shows Witness for the Prosecution and My Fair Lady.

How much:  All activities, meals, show tickets and food are FREE.

VERY Important Notes:

In order to travel to the Shaw you will need:

  • A current, valid passport which—at the date of travel—still has at least 6 months left before expiry, and at least 1 unused/empty page.
  • Be legally allowed to travel to Canada and (if you are not a US national) have the appropriate visa permissions to leave and re-enter the US.
  • Sign a travel waver to allow you to travel in a URITP faculty member’s vehicle to and from the festival.
  • (If you are under the age of 18) Have a parent or guardian authorize your travel and participation.
  • Be able to provide a firm commitment to participating in the trip by 31 March 2024.

Space is Limited, so Sign Up Here  (we’ll ask for a firm commitment at a later stage)

DEADLINE: Students will have until 31 March 2024 to give us a final commitment to participating in the trip.


Will this cost me anything?

No, it’s all free (including meals).  You might want to bring your own spending money, however.

Is this only for actors?

No!  We’re going to be meeting artisans and tech folks, too!

Is this only for Theatre students?

No!  We’d love as many folks involved with theatre and the Theatre Program to join, but it’s open to all current UR students.

Where will we be staying?

We’re in the process of securing accommodations, but it will be in a major chain hotel.

How will we travel there and back?

Students will be traveling with URITP staff and faculty members in their private vehicles.

Other questions?  Ask Nigel.