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frequently asked questions

  • What is PW?
    Production Workshop (PW) is Brown's oldest ongoing student theatre group. Not only that, PW also maintains Brown's only completely student-run theater spaces, the Upspace and Downspace at TF Green Hall. Production Workshop focuses on producing theatre and other art that would not have the opportunity to be produced in other venues on campus, and giving students the opportunity to learn about theatre by producing it – all of it – by themselves. You can read about PW's specific mission statement here.
  • What do you mean by "completely student run"?
    By “completely student run” we mean exactly that. Our shows are staffed and acted completely by Brown students. Our shows are decided by Brown students. We decide our own equipment purchasing, take care of building issues, and generally do everything else that a real world theater outside of Brown would have to do, except pay rent.
  • How many shows does PW produce per year?
    In our downstairs space, PW produces 2-3 full shows in the fall and 2-3 in the spring semester. We also produce occasional festivals and other projects in the Upspace, which generally have a shorter timeline. You can read about our different annual projects here. PW goes from show to show throughout the year, so there's always something happening!
  • What types of shows does PW do?
    PW produces all kinds of shows, including but not limited to: “Standard repertoire” straight plays (e.g. God of Vengeance) Work by current playwrights (e.g. The Skriker, Laramie Project, Do You Feel Anger?) Experimental genre-combining projects (e.g. Vibrations) Dance-theater (e.g. Balloon, Interbeing) New work by student playwrights (e.g. Someday) Design installations (e.g. Steamrave) Whatever you can dream up that sounds interesting! You can learn about the mission statement PW seeks to uphold in its shows here and explore past productions here.
  • Where do PW shows happen?
    PW shows are produced in T.F. Green Hall in the southeast corner of campus at 7 Young Orchard Ave, across from Perkins, and next to Orwig Music Library. PW maintains two black box theaters in the building: the downstairs space (or "Downspace") and the upstairs space (or "Upspace").
  • Who is PW / How do I join PW?
    PW is you. By this, we mean that PW is not a group that requires “membership” like a club or other on-campus organizations. We don't have a membership list (though we do have a mailing list), so you can't join like you might join other groups. Instead, just read the section on getting involved and jump right in. We do, however, have a board! The PW board is a group of students that meets every week. The board decides on the season of shows at TF Green, executive produces shows, takes care of the theater spaces, and loads of other fun things! You can learn more about the board here.
  • How do I join the PW board?
    If you're already involved in theatre but want to take it to the next step and help run a theater from the inside out, the PW board might be for you. The board opens application cycles for new member generally once a semester; keep an eye out here on the site and on our social media for announcements! You're also always welcome to contact one of the board members to learn more about the work we do, or just start showing up at meetings – they're always open and you can certainly contribute without being an official board member. You can learn more about the board and its jobs here!
  • When does PW meet?
    PW has its weekly open meetings generally on Sundays at 11 am in the Upspace. Occasionally the meeting will be moved to a different time if it looks like a large percentage of the board will be unavailable during the 11am time slot. Check the calendar or ask a board member to verify the time for a particular week.
  • How does PW compare to departmental shows?
    This is a question that you'll have to experience for yourself to truly understand. But in brief: We're student run – the department has a lot of faculty involvement. Our rehearsal periods are a bit shorter so it can be a smaller commitment, though we generally rehearse just as many hours a day. We tend to be more likely to do zany and creative stuff. You don't have to choose between one or the other – most people who are involved in theater have been a part of shows produced by both (as well as MF, SotG, and the other fine groups at Brown) We also have better snacks at our meetings.
  • What makes working at PW different than departmental shows for actors?
    PW shows usually rehearse for 4-5 weeks, and then have 1 week of tech/performances. Mainstage tends to have multiple weekends of performances as well as a couple of extra weeks of rehearsal. Mainstage directors are often professionals who have a lot of experience, which can be valuable for your training. PW directors, being other students, often have a more collaborative outlook which might make for a more fun process and can be equally valuable for your development as an actor. PW often produces new work by other Brown students. It can be exciting to be the first to perform a new role!
  • What makes working at PW different than departmental shows for designers/technicians?
    If you're interested in lighting, scenic, or costume design on mainstage, 4 out of their 6 shows are designed by the faculty, so at best you'll get to be an assistant designer who may or may not have a lot of artistic say in the process. At PW, you'll get to do the whole deal. Mainstage has higher budgets in general than PW, so it can be nice sometimes to work there. However, working under the more limited budget at PW encourages you to be more creative in thinking about materials or design and can be more fun. Besides, if you plan to do theater after graduation, it's good to be used to small budgets! At PW, working on a production team made up completely of other students can be a lot of fun and is generally very collaborative. Working with the faculty teams on mainstage can also be fun, but in a different way. Most designers and technicians at Brown do spend some time working on mainstage and some time working at PW. The two aren't at all mutually exclusive, and you learn different things working in the different environments.
  • How do I get involved as a first-year?
    If you're a first-year, we're just as excited to have you working with us as anyone else. In fact, we're probably more excited, since first-years bring new ideas and excitement along with them, and we generally like meeting new people. So don't feel nervous – just drop by a meeting or send one of us a note and jump right in. Also be sure to sign up for our mailing list to hear about what's going on! If you'd like to join the mailing list, just send us a message and we'll add you.
  • What if I have no experience in tech/design/stage management but want to learn?
    That's A-OKAY!! There are many staff positions that you can undertake with no experience at all, and PW is also willing to help you find mentors who have done your job before if you're at all nervous. Additionally, if you'd like to learn about a design craft, we're happy to set you up as another designer's assistant or apprentice so you can learn the process without being held responsible for the entire result. After assisting another designer once or twice you'll probably feel confident to do a full design alone, and maybe even take on an apprentice of your own! If you're interested in apprenticing or assisting, just send off an email to and let us know! Additionally, anyone is always welcome to come help hang lights, build the set, strike shows, etc. - designers and tech directors are always happy to have help and will teach you what you need to know :)
  • How do I propose a show/direct?
    PW opens proposal cycles for its semester-based seasons throughout the year. Keep an eye out on our site (right here!) and our social media for announcements about proposing to direct a show.
  • I have this great idea for a project but I don't have the money...give me money...?
    OK, so that isn't really a question, except for the gratuitous question mark. But nonetheless, we do give grants out to people doing artistic stuff around campus. Check out our grants page to see what's currently available!
  • What is the upstairs space?
    The upstairs space, often referred to as the "Upspace," is our smaller blackbox theater upstairs in TF Green. We hold our weekly meetings there, and make it available for anyone on campus who wants to have an event, concert, show, etc. via a semester-based lottery. You can learn more about how to enter the Upspace Lottery here!
  • I'm a prospective student. Should I come to Brown for theater?
    YESSS! In all seriousness, we can't make the decision for you. But if you have any questions about PW or theatre in general at Brown, one of the board members would be glad to talk with you or meet up if you're coming to visit. Email us!!!
  • Who can I contact for more info?
    If you have a general PW related question, feel free to email Whichever board member is currently the “email person” will get it and answer you as soon as they can. If you have a more specific question, feel free to reach out to a specific board member based on their area of expertise!

Have other questions? Want to talk to someone about PW? Feel free to reach out to a board member (find their contact info here), or email us at

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