‘Rent’ Due at DramaTech this Month

Georgia Tech’s campus is a place filled with integral pieces of history, one being its very own theater company, DramaTech. The company began in 1947 and, despite periodic economic and political turmoil, has operated ever since, making it the oldest continually running theater company in Atlanta. DramaTech is located in a small theater in the rear of the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts.

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DramaTech is performing the musical Rent throughout the month of April.

All this month, DramaTech is performing the rock musical “Rent,” winner of the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical but perhaps more familiar to students through its reincarnation as a motion picture in 2005. The script is based on Puccini’s “La Bohème” and follows a year in the life of eight friends in the late 1980s. The characters are faced with social issues while struggling to make a living in New York City and follow the tagline “No day but today.”

The culture of this student-run organization can be described as nothing short of unique, according to Melinda Ellington, a fifth-year international affairs major and president of DramaTech.

“Our theater is different than other colleges and universities,” Ellington said. “Even outsiders who experience DramaTech can sense its quality. We don’t have a theater major here at Tech — everyone who participates is eager to learn, has a passion for theater and is in it for pure fun.”

DramaTech currently consists of approximately 125 active members, who produce three larger productions each year (one per semester); they also operate an improv group, musical theater group and instructional classes throughout each semester. Students interested in learning more about theater are invited to knock on DramaTech’s door and join in the festivities.

“People come in and help with lighting for one show, and that’s OK,” adds Ellington. “We are for the students, by the students, and we want to share our love for theater with a campus full of science and engineering students. There is always someone hanging out at DramaTech working on homework or playing card games — it is a fun place to be.”

DramaTech has a handful of rituals for each performance, one being “the toaster.” Members consider the toaster a symbol of club culture and incorporate it into all of the company’s performances. The toaster is not necessarily in the spotlight, but can often be seen as a background prop, transformed into a purse or hung from the ceiling.

Those interested in getting involved are encouraged to visit dramatech.org or simply stop by the theater. To attend a performance, information about tickets and upcoming shows can be found here.