In Ithaca, there are numerous opportunities for individuals to partake in the arts, regardless of if they are a part of the local community or are students attending any of the three colleges in the area. The Kitchen Theatre Company, one of these venues for creatives, was actually created by two Ithaca College students in 1991, Matt Tauber and Tim O’Brien. The company was created in their very own kitchen, hence the theater’s name.
The theater has produced over 200 plays, and it stages seven different shows from September to June. Currently, the show “Cry It Out” is playing at the theater and will run from now until Feb. 22. The show itself is a comedy about motherhood, particularly looking at the issues of sexism and classism that are interwoven in issues within motherhood. Multiple college alumni are involved in the production, both on and off stage.
For many graduates, working in a local theater is a great way to stay involved in the community and give back to an artistic scene in the place they called home for four years. The college community is very involved in productions that go on downtown, with students and faculty members from the college working on local productions. Beyond the Kitchen Theatre, alumni work at many local companies in the downtown area, like The Cherry Artspace and the Hangar Theatre.
A multitude of these theater spaces, along with other creative companies in downtown Ithaca, provide internship opportunities to current students at the college who hope to pursue creative careers postgraduation. This creates a relationship between the college and the downtown community that is mutually beneficial. Students are able to expand their learning and hands-on experience beyond the classroom and extracurriculars, and these theaters have more opportunities to hire young, excited and creative people.
Local theater also provides opportunities for students to get cultural experiences, regardless of their majors. All the local theaters put on shows students can attend for relatively cheap. When students attend local shows, they are supporting local businesses and creatives in the community.
Most importantly, having places for local Ithacans and students from the college to work and create together helps to develop a more closely knit community. It can be hard for college students and the local community to find ways to connect, but the whole purpose of theater is to provide an avenue to have conversations and experiences within a community. The tagline of the Kitchen Theatre Company is “Important Conversations Happen in the Kitchen,” and these are conversations that could be shared by all Ithacans — students and locals alike.