Conservatory of Music students learn to perform, interpret, and teach music in a rich learning environment that provides a broad education and intense training. With expert faculty guidance from some of the finest musicians in Southern California, students go beyond technical mastery to gain a sense of history, society, culture, and artistic expression.
In August 2017, theatre Professor Chris Beach and his students traveled to Scotland to perform their student production, Big Brother Hamlet, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
A dystopian interpretation of Shakespeare's play Hamlet, the production employs elements of surveillance technology and computer mapping. It also features input from visual artist and alumnus Doug Hammett ’85.
Hammett and Beach developed their ideas—with plenty of student input—in a May Term course, where Hammett brought in puppetry and video and experimented with QLab, a computer interface that works with projectors.
“The notion of espionage, hiring spies, and tracking the activities of one’s enemies within Elsinor kingdom and castle is resonant with surveillance today,” Beach says. “So we moved our concept of the piece into a not too distant dystopian future where technology exists but Elizabethan is spoken.”