Duquesne University’s Red Masquers is the oldest amateur theater company in Pittsburgh. It’s currently celebrating its 100th season. In that time, a lot has changed for the group, most notably – venue.
“We have floated around on campus from various theaters, we’ve had theaters burn down – twice, theaters ripped down, and we’ve been homeless until around the 1990s when they built a theater for us called Peter Mills Auditorium,” said John Lane, director of theater arts at Duquesne.
The Red Masquers isn’t part of the theater arts department. Instead it is considered a student activity. It’s a sort of Community Theater through which all of the productions are student-run. Everyone from students, faculty and staff participate in shows, and Lane said interest is still strong for the troupe, which each year does attract a core group of students who have a hand in every production.
“And then there’s other students who come in and are less interested and only want to do a show every once in a while and we accommodate them whenever we can, but there’s always been a great interest of doing theater here on campus,” said Lane.
In its 100 season history, the group hasn’t produced any major movie or television stars, but Lane said alumni have definitely gone on in the business.
“We have a lot of Red Masquers working on Broadway, a lot of master electricians, a lot of stage managers, we tend to train really good stage managers and technical people because they have to do it themselves. They have to build the sets, they have to do the lights, no one else is going to do it for them,” he said.
Instead of looking to its past, the Red Masquers is paying homage to the future of theater in its 100th season. All productions are world premieres. The next one is Duquesne alumnus David Katzin’s American Tragedy, which runs. February 7-9 and February 14-16
There will be a Red Masquers Cabaret is April 4th, and the final show of the season, Duquesne alumnus Matt Smith’s March which runs April 11-13 and April 21-23.