Pasadena Playhouse Partners with PCC

By Shel Segal for the Pasadena Independent

It seemed like a marriage that would have happened years ago. But a partnership between Pasadena City College and the Pasadena Playhouse is only recently being formed.

Robert Bell, senior vice president faculty and student affairs at PCC, as the idea of the partnership was formed by a “casual discussion,” it’s now a permanent reality for the two institutions.

“At the end of the last academic year we were discussing what we could do for the next year,” Bell said. “We got into early a summer and [a faculty member] asked me, ‘Would you consider doing something with the Pasadena Playhouse?’ Through that discussion I got introduced to [Seema Sueko, associate artistic director for the Pasadena Playhouse]. We talked about developing an ongoing, collaborative, deliberate relationship between the college and the playhouse, rather that something that is casual.”

Bell said it is important to have the students not just exposed to the world of theater, but important to make it part of the students’ world.

“I took the liberty of doing something that would get our students engaged at this level,” he said. “Many of our students have never even been to the theater. Just going to the theater is an introduction in itself. But it’s more than getting students into the theater. We’re actually braiding it into the curriculum and getting them more engaged.”

One way the playhouse and students got together was by hosting what was known as “Talk Back Tuesday,” Bell said.
‘It was an opportunity for the students to be engaged in the production,” Bell said. “The students came and say ‘Kiss Me Kate’ and enjoyed the production. Then after the audience left they stayed behind and had a discussion. We talked about the historical connection to the play to black theater as it was an all-black cast.”

Bell added “Talk Back Tuesday” was all set to continue.

“We’re going to do the same thing for ‘Stop Kiss,’” Bell said as “Stop Kiss” is set to run at the playhouse from Nov. 4 through 30.

(Shel Segal can be reached at [email protected] and followed via Twitter @segallanded).

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