Live theater returns with full season of NIU productions

DeKALB – A full season of live theater and dance productions returns to Northern Illinois University, as the School of Theatre and Dance welcomes back audiences.

From classics like Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” new adaptions of “Three Sisters,” “Edward II,” “RUR,” and “The Conference of the Birds” adapted from Attar’s epic poem, to newer offerings like Ike Holter’s “Hit the Wall” and Julia Cho’s “The Language Archive,” there is something for everyone.

Shows run for two weeks beginning with Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m. and a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee, then the next week Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. with a final Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. The dance concerts feature four evening performances at 7:30 p.m.

The O’Connell Series are the shows held in either the O’Connell Theatre or the Black Box Theatre and the Sally Series are those in the Sally Stevens Players Theatre. Individual performance and season tickets are available at NIU students can attend free of charge by reserving their ticket in advance.

The schedule includes:

• “Edward II,” by Christopher Marlowe, adapted by Frankie DiCiaccio, Oct. 15-17 and 21-23 at the Sally Stevens Players Theatre.

“Edward II” traces an imperfect monarch’s rise and fall. Set in the not-too-distant future, against a backdrop of climate catastrophe and geopolitical turmoil, this new adaptation explores how a deluge of ego, greed and the violence of gender prescription may pull us all under.

• “Twelfth Night,” by William Shakespeare, Oct. 29-31 and Nov. 4-6 at Black Box Theatre

Did you ever have the urge to run away to the circus? The upside-down world of Illyria is a little like a circus. Expect mistaken identity, disguised lovers, comic chases and fights!

• “Three Sisters,” by Anton Chekhov, adapted by Alexander Gelman, Nov. 5-7 and 11-13 at Sally Stevens Players Theatre

This world premiere of a new adaptation breathes new life into Chekhov’s taut story of a family in the provinces hoping for a better life – always almost “going to Moscow.”

• Fall Dance Concert, Nov. 17-20 at O’Connell Theatre

The talented dancers of the NIU School of Theatre and Dance take center stage for their annual crowd-pleasing Fall Dance Concert.

• “Hit the Wall,” by Ike Holter, Feb. 4-6 and 10-12 at Sally Stevens Players Theatre

It’s 1969, summer in New York, and Judy Garland is dead. Police raid the Stonewall Inn on June 28, sparking several days of protests and birthing the modern gay rights movement. We all think we know this story. Chicago playwright Ike Holter explodes this myth, using fictionalized characters to retell history and make it live again for a new generation of activists.

• “RUR,” by Karel apek, adapted by Matt Yee, Feb. 25-27 and March 3-5 at Sally Stevens Players Theatre

Before “RUR” there were automatons and androids, but this is the play that gave us the word “robot.” apek’s 1921 play tells the story of a dystopian world where a corporation creates synthetic humans that become a servant class and eventually revolt. SOTD Alumus Matt Yee adapts this early science fiction tale directed by Matt O’Brien of GreatWorks Theatre Company.

• “The Conference of the Birds,” by Sholeh Wolpé, adapted from Attar’s epic poem, April 1-3 and 7-9 at Black Box Theatre

Based on a 12th century Suffi poem, “The Conference of the Birds” follows a group of birds on a spiritual quest for enlightenment. This lyrical adventure fantasy play unfolds through figurative language, movement and dance.

• The Language Archive,” by Julia Cho, April 22-24 and 28-30 at Sally Stevens Players Theatre

Researchers studying a dying language become involved in a love triangle in this absurdist farce that teases out the quirky differences between what’s expressed and what’s meant.

• Spring Dance Concert, April 27-30 at O’Connell Theatre

Our season concludes with another dance concert performed by the talented dancers of our NIU School of Theatre and Dance.

Also, don’t miss the MFA/BFA Actor Showcase, April 13-16, in the Sally Stevens Theatre at no charge. The showcase is the culmination of the training and hard work for the actors at NIU. The showcase will present both video reels and live-action scenes that have been hand-picked to highlight the best of each actor’s abilities.

The NIU School of Theatre and Dance follows the COVID-19 protocols of the university. The guidelines are updated as conditions change. At this time, face coverings are required in all indoor university spaces, including theaters. Updated information is available at