Tufts 3Ps

Click here to edit subtitle

What is 3Ps?

Founded in 1910 (making us the oldest student organization on campus), Pen Paint and Pretzels is Tufts' umbrella organization for student-run performing arts groups on campus. We meet every Monday at noon in the Balch Arena Theatre. Come check us out!

What do the 3Ps stand for?

The 3Ps stand for Pen, Paint and Pretzels. In 1910 when the organization was formed, pretzels were commonly served as refreshment at the theatre (like popcorn at movies today). Thus, "Pen" is for the craft of writing/directing/creating, "Paint" is for design/production, and "Pretzels" is for the audience-engaging quality of theatre. At least, that's the story that's been passed down so far!

How many shows are put on each semester?

Each semester, 3Ps puts on one major production and up to two workshop productions. We also always have an orientation show during Freshman Orientation. The umbrella groups also put on their own productions. Torn Ticket II puts on musicals and Bare Bodkin does student written and experimental theatre. At any given time there can be multiple shows in production. There is never a dull moment!

What about the Drama and Dance Department? Do they put on shows?

Yes, of course! The Drama Department puts on three shows a year, each directed and mostly designed by faculty. Check out their website here!

Does the 3Ps produce any musicals?

Torn Ticket II is our musical-theatre group, and they put on many musicals year-round.

Do you have to be a Drama major to audition or work on a show?

No! At Tufts being a drama major has little to no impact on auditions or participation in productions. Our theatre community stretches far and wide across the academic spectrum. Whether you are interested in engineering, political science, chemistry or history, you are welcome to join us!

Is there an extra fee (besides the Tufts Activity fee) to work on shows?


Can students direct shows?

Yes, students direct all of the 3Ps productions. Anyone is eligible to direct a workshop or other smaller scale production, but to direct a major production, you must take both Directing 1 and 2.

How do you decide which shows to do?

The membership of the 3Ps is responsible for voting on ALL productions. At the beginning of every semester directors propose their production ideas to the membership at our weekly meeting. We then discuss each show and vote.

Are there opportunities for run-crew?

Yes! Always! Run crew is almost always in need! It is a small commitment and a great way to get involved and see what theatre at Tufts is all about!

How often do students design for shows?

Like directing, students design lights/sound/set/costumes/props for all student shows. Courses are offered in Lighting Design, Set Design, and Costume Design. Advanced students can also design for the Drama Department shows.

What are auditions like?

Auditions are different for every show, and usually involve a combination of prepared sides or monologues and cold reads. Many directors choose to audition actors in pairs. Most shows have call-backs. Email [email protected] or the show's stage manager (look on the callboard to find out who) for audition-specific questions.

How many people are in 3Ps?

The 3Ps has about 50 voting members, but over 350 different people participate in productions from year to year.

How can you become a member?

In order to be a voting member, students must serve on the production staff and/or as part of the cast of at least one 3Ps, Torn Ticket II, or Bare Bodkin production each year, and/or must be an active participant in an umbrella group. If it has been more than two semesters since someone has done so, they are no longer a voting member.

Click me for voting deets!

What is a Level One Voting Member?

In order to be eligible to be a Level One Voting Member, students must have attended at least 70% of the 3Ps meetings that have taken place in the semester up to and including the date of the proposal meeting. Level One voting members may vote on 3Ps workshop productions, Orientation Shows, and the First Year Show.

What is a Level Two Voting Member?
Level Two Voting Members get to vote on the same issues as Level One members but additionally are allowed to vote on Major Productions, Board Elections, and Constitution changes. The student shall contribute four or more hours to a 3Ps production or multiple productions. All students who wish to be Level Two voting members must sign up for these hours one week after 3Ps workshop productions are passed. Additionally, these students must attend 70% of 3Ps meetings, held Monday during open block. Any questions about the voting requirements? Email [email protected] or look in the Constitution!

What is the call board?

The call board is a big bulletin board located just outside the main entrance to the Balch Arena in the Aidekman Arts Center. 3Ps and umbrella groups post any and all important information there, including audition information, sign-ups, performance information, etc.

What are drama classes like?

Both literary and practical drama classes are offered by the Drama and Dance department. Classes vary semester to semester. Go to the Drama and Dance website to see course offerings!

I am interested in both acting and in design. Is it possible to do both?

Yes! There are often several people that choose to design for a show in the fall and then audition in the spring, or even design lights for one show and then costumes for another. It is definitely possible, although you cannot both design AND act in one show.

What positions are available on production staffs?

There are always many different ways to serve on a show's production staff. Listed below are the most common positions:


-Stage Manager



-Set Designer

-Lighting Designer

-Sound Designer

-Props Designer

-Costume Designer

-Hair and Makeup Designer


-Music Director

-Technical Director

-Costume Technician

-Master Electrician

Each of these positions can take on assistants, as well. Serving as an assistant for a show is a great way to get involved and see how a production works.

What kind of time commitment does working on a show require?

This depends greatly on what kind of show you are working on. Major productions require many hours of commitment. Rehearsals are often up to four hours a day, five days a week. Production staff and design positions are also heavy time commitments. On any given show, it is expected that everyone involved helps with load-in (loading the set and costumes etc.) into the theatre, and tech rehearsals. These usually take up the weekend and evenings prior to performances.

Does the 3Ps host any events besides productions?

Yes! Each year we host a Holiday Party in December and a Spaghetti Night in May. These events are open to anyone involved in any aspect of 3Ps and are a way to celebrate the end of each semester. Both are formal events and take place in the Arena. Additionally, 3Ps hosts many parties, gatherings, and bonding activities throughout the year!