News | 29 April 2013

UCSC Language Students to Present International Playhouse


playhouse-350UC Santa Cruz will present International Playhouse XIII–an annual program of fully-staged short theater pieces by students in the university’s Language Program—on May 16-19, at 8 p.m. in the Stevenson Event Center.

Directed by the students’ Language instructors, the four public performances will feature works in French, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish, accompanied by English super-titles.

Admission is free, and the community is invited.

This year’s program features excerpts from Le Malade Imaginaire (The Hypochondriac) by Molière; Natività (Nativity) by La SmorfiaThe Vampire Cabbie by Haruki Murakami; and Las Luciérnagas Del Caribe(Caribbean Fireflies) by Emilio Carballido.

The presentation of theater productions in languages other than English has a long tradition at UCSC, going all the way back to the 1970s.

Since 1972, when language lecturer Miriam Ellis offered a program of theater and music in French, students of French have annually performed fully-staged productions in the language for campus and community audiences.

In 2001, several other language lecturers at UCSC joined Ellis in creating the International Playhouse. The first year’s program featured scenes in Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Japanese.

A scene from a past performance of UCSC's International Playhouse.

A scene from a past performance of UCSC’s International Playhouse.

Over the past decade, students of eight languages have performed in the project–presenting works ranging from medieval traditional pieces, to classical theater of the 17th century, to modern plays from the theater of the absurd, to original works written by faculty and students.

“The International Playhouse is a unique project and, as far as we can ascertain, the only one of its kind in academic institutions,” said Ellis.

Ellis noted that for the past five years, the International Playhouse has performed to capacity audiences for its four annual free performances, typically offering a program of at least four different languages.

“Over the years, the annual presentations have represented an important outreach event for UCSC and have attracted a loyal following. In addition to those on campus, many community members, as well as faculty and students from high schools and Cabrillo College, attend regularly,” she added.

For more information about the 2013 performances, contact Ellis at or call (831) 459-2054.


International Playhouse XIII will take place on May 16-19, at 8 p.m. in the Stevenson Event Center. Admission is free and open to the public. This event is presented by Cowell College, Stevenson College, and the Language Program at UC Santa Cruz. For more information, email or call (831) 459-2054.

Article written by Scott Rappaport.