wwudrama is a Theatre Arts program on the Walla Walla University Campus. We are dedicated to creating uplifting, creative and professional theatre for the community.
Beginning in 1961 Mrs. Donnie Rigby directed a stage play for the Walla Walla College women's club weekend. From this beginning, drama offerings expanded to a fully staged play being produced at least once a year. The rich tradition continues today, growing into two facilities and a full season, including two main stage productions, and an annual student-directed Festival of Shorts.
The 2019-2020 Season will Celebrate Village Hall Centennial
The drama program at WWU begins the 2019-2020 season with Ada and the Engine a recent offering from popular playwright Lauren Gunderson. As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, young Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of the flamboyant and notorious Lord Byron) sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engines” of her friend and soul mate Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. Ada envisions a whole new world where art and information converge—a world she might not live to see. A music-laced story of love, friendship, and the edgiest dreams of the future. Performances will be November 9, 14, 16 at 8 p.m. and November 10, 17 at 2 p.m. on the Donnie Rigby Stage in the Canaday Technology Center.
The annual Festival of Shorts, a student-directed program consisting of one-act plays and short films, returns with performances in Village Hall on March 7, 12, 14 at 8 p.m. and March 8, 15 at 2 p.m. The festival has been a part of the Walla Walla University landscape since the 1970s.
Village Hall, home of the drama program since 1971, turns 100 in 2020. In honor of this milestone, wwudrama will present a special celebration show during alumni homecoming. Performances will be April 25 at 8 p.m. and April 26 at 2 p.m.
Continuing the Village Hall centennial celebration, Reginald Rose’s popular courtroom drama Twelve Angry Jurors will round out the season. Performances in Village Hall will be May 9, 16, at 9 p.m., May 14 at 8 p.m. and May 10, 17 at 2 p.m. It is believed that the original Twelve Angry Men was the first drama production performed on the Village Hall stage.
Leading the drama program this year are three faces familiar to regular drama patrons. Co-Interim Program Directors Kristen Taylor, head of residential life, and Jerry Entze, curriculum coordinator/academic advisor, are joined by Technical Director, Nathan Pittenger, senior graphic design major. Between them, the trio has participated in over 50 productions at WWU.
Walla Walla University Campus Theatre Venues
One of the oldest buildings still standing on campus, Village Hall is an ivy-covered icon of Walla Walla University. The building, with its castle-like tower, was built in 1920 as the campus church. It served as a church until 1971, when it became the headquarters for Walla Walla College drama. There have since been a few changes to the building. Most of the original stained glass windows remain, but the old church benches have been replaced with much more comfortable theatre-style seats. There is no longer an organ in the organ loft above the stage, but the space is still used, whether as a bridge to jump from or a frame for a living portrait of Queen Victoria. With its imposing exterior and charming interior, Village Hall is a truly beautiful space for theatre.
Directions: Village Hall is located on the Walla Walla University Campus (204 S College Ave, College Place, WA 99324.) It is on College Ave directly across from the new administration building.
The Donnie Rigby Stage
Named for Donnie Rigby—who founded and spent 31 years leading Walla Walla College Drama—the Donnie Rigby Stage is wwudrama’s state of the art theatre space. The Stage’s key characteristic is its flexibility. Seating changes for each show, allowing for anything from multiple stages to theatre in the round. A lighting grid covers the entire room, allowing any part of the theatre to be lit. This theatre has no "front" so the stage is also very intimate, with seating for only about 100 people, which allows for state of the art equipment, incredible flexibility, and a sense of closeness to the action.
Directions: The Donnie Rigby Stage is on the west end of the Walla Walla University Campus in the Canaday Technology Center. The parking lot is on the corner of SW 4th St. and SW Davis Ave. The Entrance is located to the left of Positive Life Radio.