A unique and special thing about Brown Theatre is that students have a great deal of responsibility in the department's production season. The season is selected by the Sock & Buskin board, a team of students and faculty. Sock & Buskin produces a numer of major productions each year and plans the schedule for the next year. Students are more numerous than faculty on the board and so have a greater vote when the final season is decided – a situation unmatched at any other university. Our philosophy: if the faculty are working productively with students in classes, we should respect them enough to design a vital and invigorating season. And we do! And they do!
Each year, the Sock & Buskin board chooses a season consisting of four mainstage theatrical shows and one mainstage dance performance to be produced during the following academic year. The board also chooses a fifth show, the “senior slot.” Senior slot, determined by faculty who select from proposals submitted by junior concentrators, is a mainstage show running for one week and is open to juniors who wish to direct or write a full production of their choosing in their senior year.
Sock & Buskin was founded in 1901 by Professor Thomas Crosby of the Brown University English Department. There has since been an unbroken record of seasons, first at the Providence Opera House and various theatres in downcity Providence, then in Rockefeller Hall, and finally in 1931 at the Faunce House Theatre, which was restored and reopened as Stuart Theatre in 1993. When the Isabelle Russek Leeds Theatre and Ashamu Dance Studio were built in 1979, they joined the Stuart Theatre and together became the Catherine Bryan Dill Center for the Performing Arts.
In 1927, Sock & Buskin, which was at the time an all-male organization, began using actresses in its productions. Soon Komians, the all-female theatrical group from Pembroke college, merged with Sock & Buskin to create the co-ed group that exists today.
When Sock & Buskin isn't reading plays in the Becker Library, they support production staff by running auditions, assisting construction of sets and costumes, and publicizing Sock & Buskin events around campus. It's a great way for students to get involved in the department and learn about the different aspects of producing theatre. Tuesday meetings are open to the public and visitors are welcomed.