First HWS Dramaturg, Theatre Major – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

First HWS Dramaturg, Theatre Major

New York City-native Clare McCormick ’17 has always been interested in theatre.

McCormick, the Colleges’ first dramaturg and first theatre major in the recently created interdisciplinary track of study, recalls attending Broadway shows as a child and being “heavily involved in my high school’s productions, playing piano in the band pit.”

“However, my interest in theatre really developed last fall,” she says, “when I took Professor Chris Woodworth’s ‘Introduction to Dramatic Literature.’ I had come into college expecting to be an English major, but the absolutely wonderful theatre classes that I’ve taken so far have changed my mind. Lots of Dr. Woodworth’s classes revolve around dramaturgical study, which I’ve fallen in love with. When I found out that I could actually do it for a living someday, I was thrilled.”

As a dramaturg, McCormick helps bridge the connections between the story and the production, the script and the director — this semester, for the Bartlett Theatre’s production of “Alice in Wonderland.”

“I think that the dramaturg exists to assist and inspire,” she says. “Basically, my most important job is to research, compile and inform. I’ll be doing a lot of homework on a wide variety of subjects, including previous productions of ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ the traditional rules of an afternoon tea, The Manhattan Project, the life of Lewis Carroll, and more.”

Her work is presented to the cast and published on a dramaturgical website that McCormick will create, “in the hopes of sparking even further creativity as we rehearse,” she says. “As a dramaturg, I’m also responsible for designing and constructing the lobby display, and I’ll have a two-page spread in the program.”

The spring production of “Alice,” McCormick says, “is terrifically exciting in a million different ways. I was immediately drawn in by the play’s inventiveness and absurd whimsicality: in the director’s notes in the script, Andre Gregory poses the question, ‘How would a group of children limited to a padded cell create an entire world for Alice in Wonderland?'” 

As to the challenges of bringing the production to life, McCormick says: “keeping up with our phenomenal actors — their passion, energy and enthusiasm is astounding.”

In the theatre courses she’s taken, McCormick has had the opportunity to develop her interests in dramaturgy, from writing a research paper on different interpretations of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” to interacting with visiting professional dramaturges and developing final projects production research, to constructing lobby displays based on iconic American theatre productions.

McCormick, the recipient of the Carol Hayden Warren Scholarship, plans to double-minor in English and LGBT studies. She is vice president of Thel, the literary arts magazine, is the opinion editor for The Herald, and co-hosts a weekly radio show on WHWS-FM. After graduation, she hopes to continue her immersion in the world of theatre, ideally working as a dramaturg for a theatre company. She also is researching graduate programs in dramaturgy.

In the meantime, McCormick, who will study in Ireland in the fall of 2015, says she eagerly awaits the announcement of next year’s season at the Bartlett.