The mission of the Clarkson Theatre Company is to provide both theatrical entertainment and an outlet for artistic self expression in the realm of the theatre arts at Clarkson. We welcome all members of the Clarkson Community, as well as from SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Canton, and St. Lawrence University, and anywhere nearby! It's a chance for anyone to participate in theatre, no matter their age, major, or interests.
CTC's weekly meetings are Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. in Science Center 340 on the Clarkson Campus. We also have worksessions every Saturday at Noon at Old Snell Hall. Feel free to stop by either or both and say hi, it's a great opportunity to see what we do and how much fun we have! Each year we have one mainstage show, usually a musical, on Family Weekend, a One Act Festival in January or February, and a straight play near the end of the spring semester.
The History of CTC
Clarkson's first show was in 1922, when the Athletic Association produced All Aboard as a fundraiser. While the show was staged at the Potsdam Opera house and the majority of the cast was made up of girls from SUNY Potsdam (then the Potsdam Normal School), it was still a Clarkson production. It wasn't as much of a financial success as the hockey team hoped it would be, but they still put on another show the next year, Kathleen, for the same purpose.
Theatrical interest at Clarkson must have increased with these fundraisers, as Clarkson's first Drama Club, "The Dramatechers," was founded in November 1931. They performed anywhere from one to four shows a year, choosing mostly shows with all-male casts to use the talent of Clarkson students on stage as well as behind the scenes. Many shows also included students from St. Lawrence and the Potsdam Normal School. They also did several radio productions on Clarkson, St. Lawrence, and Watertown Stations.
After a short break during World War II, the group started back up in the fall of 1946, where it was also decided that "wives of the Clarkson men would be cast for the female roles in the forthcoming production." There was enough success that in 1955, five Dramatecher members were invited to become honorary members of Alpha Psi Omega, the national dramatic fraternity. The group used the Potsdam Civic Center and Potsdam High School auditoriums, but also worked with community groups such as Kiwanis, Lion's and Rotary and performed to benefit these groups around St. Lawrence county. Hpwever, the Dramatechers suffereed from a lack of on-stage talent and their success fluctuated.
In the fall of 1965, the Clarkson Drama Club was founded, for the purpose of promoting the "theatrical arts on all levels both for the benefit of the viewer and the edification of the participants." In its founding, it was mentioned to be not a form of competition with Potsdam, but a supplement, and "it is hoped that the production of plays will interest many engineering students to apply the theory they learned to practical use in the designing and use of lighting equipment."
While the Drama Club's first theatrical productions were put on in December, the club was not just for theatre; in 1968 Clarkson professor Wes Craven became the club's advisor, and they made several original movies. These included The Pandora Experiment and the original Nightmare on Elm Street and were very popular on campus, usually being screened to full houses.
In 1975, the Clarkson Drama Club evolved into the Clarkson Theatre Club. Their first show, Guys & Dolls, was a huge success, and paved the way for the company to grow in the years to come. All of the shows put on by the Clarkson Theatre Club, (now called the Clarkson Theatre Company) are listed on the "Past Shows" page.
Old Snell Hall
CTC's home is Old Snell Hall, in downtown Potsdam at the corner of Park and Elm streets. The building was the main feature of Clarkson's old campus, and it was still used for some classes until CAMP was opened in the 1990's. Now, besides CTC it is used by Destination Imagination, FIRST, ROTC, and some Clarkson offices, but most of the building is empty. Most rehearsals and all of our performances are held in Old Snell.
The building is T-shaped, with parking and entrances on the north side. The cast & crew enterance is the small single door half way down the building. The audience entrance for performances is at the top of the base of the T and is a big double door. From there, simply go up the stairs to the theatre itself.