The term playmaker came into popular usage in the United States with the emergence, early in the twentieth century, of the American folk drama a theatre that sprang from and spoke directly to the lives of its audience. This movement achieved its most influential voice with the founding of the Carolina Playmakers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. PlayMakers Repertory Company, the Department of Dramatic Art's professional theatre, has embraced this legacy from its inception in 1975. Our purpose is to provide a top-quality public arena for the professional implementation of the philosophy and aesthetics explored in the Department. Through the collaboration of guest artists, resident professionals, students and audiences, we examine the theatrical event and the methods used for its realization in contemporary performance. We explore playmaking in our time.
As theatre practitioners and as educators, we are engaged in the ongoing investigation of several key questions: what is theatre? what is its function in the modern world? who are the audience? what makes a community assemble in a playhouse, and what happens there? what are the varieties of experience that can constitute theatre? are these changing? can we create new forms? can we vivify traditional forms? what is the relationship of text to performance? what are the possibilities to be explored in achieving the realization of each piece, and how do we discover the methods that are effective for a specific audience at a given time and place?
To address these questions we produce a broad variety of material, both classic and contemporary. We try to compose seasons that place interesting and challenging theatre events in meaningful and revealing juxtaposition. We engage outstanding guest directors, designers, and actors to lead the exploration of each piece, individuals with unique gifts and experience who can enrich our ongoing work. The Department's students work with the Company's professionals in all areas: acting, directing, design, technical production, costuming, stage management and theatre management.
We are a professional company with an educational mission involving both artists and audience. We believe that continuous investigation is a healthy artistic policy and that the interaction of seasoned professionals with early-career professionals is beneficial to all. We believe in relationships with guest artists who embrace and contribute to our mission, because we know that they will grow here and will stimulate all of us to grow as well.
We are committed to creating productions that embrace the cultural diversity of today's world and to augmenting the effectiveness of our work through outreach programs. The theatre has throughout history provided a place where an audience can assemble to reflect upon itself, filling an essential need in the examined life for which a civilization must strive. We at PlayMakers Repertory Company want to engage our entire community in an ongoing exploration of the nature and significance of theatre in contemporary life. We hope that our work here leads to discoveries that enrich us all.
PlayMakers is a member of the League of Resident Theatres, the national organization for full-season, not-for-profit professional theatres. PlayMakers employs members of Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers and members of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. PlayMakers is a member of Theatre Communications Group and the North Carolina Theatre Conference.
As part of its educational mission, PlayMakers offers the Educational Matinee Series, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline. The Educational Matinee Series offers weekday performances followed by discussions with the artistic staff as time and schedules allow. Matinees are attended by middle and secondary school students from throughout North Carolina. Post show discussions are offered to audiences following selected performances throughout the season. Backstage tours, available to groups at no charge by advance reservation, offer an exciting and informative look behind the scenes at PlayMakers.
During each season, which runs from September through April, PlayMakers presents a six play main stage season in the Paul Green Theatre, a 500-seat facility and its second stage series, PRC², in the adjacent Elizabeth Price Kenan theatre, both located in the Center for Dramatic Art on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Center is the home for the Department of Dramatic Art, housing both undergraduate and graduate programs.
PlayMakers is supported by its audiences, by area corporations and businesses and by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. PlayMakers also receives grants from the North Carolina Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Shubert Foundation. PlayMakers is a beneficiary of the Lillian Hughes Prince Endowment and the Elizabeth Price Kenan Endowment. Generous in-kind support is provided by a number of local businesses.
Founded by Frederick Koch, the Carolina Playmakers became a nationally recognized ensemble with the purpose of developing new playwriting talent. The company played an important role in the development of American folk drama and provided a training ground for generations of theatre artists. The name PlayMakers continues the proud tradition of the Carolina Playmakers, a campus-based theatre group that originated in 1918 and the second oldest in the country.