Let’s face it: Theatre is awesome. There are few types of entertainment that pack such a visceral wallop, create such an emotional response, and have the ability to so thoroughly move a group of people. At No Refund Theatre, we believe with all our hearts that theatre is awesome. As a community, Penn State is not complete without its stages and actors. We at NRT believe that theatre is an activity for all people, regardless of major, and that all Penn State students should have the opportunity to become involved.
NRT provides such opportunities. Almost every weekend of the academic year, we at No Refund Theatre produce and perform a different play in 111 Forum, usually at 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays. These plays are produced, directed and performed entirely by students. Our performances run the gamut, from Shakespeare to Shepard, from student-written drama to student-written dada, modern classics to post-modern improvised experiments. At NRT, we take pride in offering opportunity to all students the ability to become involved in every facet of theatre.
We love to see new faces at NRT, so come on up and see a show (Performances are free, but donations are gladly accepted)! Check out our season to see if anything interests you; with the diverse range of shows we perform in the space of a semester, there should be something for you!
Come on up to the Forum and enjoy the awesomeness of theatre!
So where did NRT come from, exactly? Why, Mommy and Daddy NRT, of course. Or…
The beginnings of NRT are shrouded in mystery. Years ago, in an era known to PennStateologists as the “early to mid 1990′s” a group of students, lead by Dan “Lester” Bonfitto and Rick Neville decided to mount a production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. They turned to the University Scholars Program for funding, and lo’ No Refund Theatre was born.
In one of the founder’s own words
“Once upon a time there were these three guys who were up way too late. And like all people who don’t know what to do, where to go, and what the time was, they ended up in McDonald’s. The conversation took its natural flow and it eventually stopped where all conversations of a similar environment end – women – but since they didn’t know anything about that, it moved on and finally stopped on theater.
What we have is a bunch of people who are interested in theater and who can be pretty damn creative or at least have the potential to become so. What we have is hundreds of years of mankind’s effort in a little corner of art called theater. Thousands of plays and playwrights who won’t be performed because there is no audience, or there is no money, or its too new or its too old, or it’s blah, blah, blah . . . All this laying around and at least a dozen or so people who can and are willing to give some of it life. Either that or some confused people who can’t find the laundry room.
What we need is a home base. The center of a spider web which connects a few playwrights, a few directors, and a few actors working together or separately to make things real. People who will do just about anything as long as someone wants it done.
This is right and it needs to be done. We are the people who can do it. Anything and everything else is secondary. That we carry this idea created by a few sleep-deprived individuals through to its actualization is primary and essential.”
-Rick Neville, January 2004
Originally billing themselves as the “Atherton Players,” and performing in a room in Atherton Hall known as “the Gate” (a room which now no longer exists), this rag-tag group of theatre enthusiasts mounted productions such as The Martian Chronicles, using an old laundry room (as Neville references) as practice space.
Soon, the Atherton Players outgrew their humble roots, and moved up to 111 Forum. No longer in Atherton, the Atherton Players decided on a name change. Not content with simply dropping the word “Atherton” from their moniker and calling themselves the “Players,” they decided on a name that would answer the most frequently asked question about the shows (Just kidding, of course- all No Refund Theatre productions are free of charge).
For over 20 years now NRT has been performing in the Forum, a building that we have grown to appreciate and cherish. Since January of 1994, we have performed well over a hundred shows. We’ve had our ups and we’ve had our downs, but NRT grows in popularity every year, and has become one of the most exciting venues for student performance at Penn State.