Just as the academic year is winding down for the majority of departments on campus, the Department of Theatre and Dance is vigorously preparing for one of the most exciting events of the year, the annual Downtown Dinner Theatre production.
Supported by the Indiana Arts Commission/Arts Place Inc., the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County Inc., and the Office of the Provost, Ball State’s Downtown Dinner Theatre is the only dinner theatre within a 30-mile radius of Muncie, Indiana. In previous years, performances of Nunsense and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change have brought the public to the Cornerstone Center for the Arts in downtown Muncie to support the annual June productions. For the price of the usual date of dinner and a movie, audience members get a catered meal from a local restaurant and live musical theatre. Audience members also get to interact with the performers before the performance and during intermission as the performers do double duty as actors and servers, giving the audience a distinctive experience.
Led by Harold Mortimer, artistic director and associate professor of musical theatre, and Jennifer Blackmer, managing director and assistant professor of theatre, Downtown Dinner Theatre fills many needs in the Department of Theatre and Dance. The largely student-led production serves as the capstone experience for many of the department’s seniors, gives students an immersive learning experience, and through partnership with the Cornerstone Center for the Arts, gives Ball State another connection to the community.
Students gain valuable professional experience by working alongside professional directors and actors from Chicago and other areas. Students who participate must audition for roles, competing against professional actors and community participants. Students who secure a role in the production, whether it be on stage or behind the scenes, earn a professional wage for their work and are heavily involved in the entire production from start to finish.
Downtown Dinner Theatre continues with its sixth season in summer 2010 with the production of The Fantasticks.