About Theatre

Our Program and Courses

Theatre is a major and minor at F&M. You’ll study the interwoven elements of theatre, including acting, playwriting, directing, design, theatre history, dramatic literature, and applied theatre in schools by working directly with local educational institutions. Our program blends artistic practice with scholarly inquiry, preparing you to understand, critique, make and perform dramatic works of art.

Your learning will extend beyond the classroom; it’s only fitting to study theatre in the theatre itself. You’ll find exciting opportunities to engage in the aspects of theatre you’re most inspired by, integrate theory with practice, and collaborate with your talented peers and professors to bring productions to life in our three exceptional theatre venues. 

By the time you graduate, you will be able to demonstrate: 

  • Knowledge of influential and diverse theatrical traditions in their respective historical, cultural and theoretical contexts.
  • The ability to analyze and interpret the dramatic, performative, and visual perspectives of theatrical literature.
  • A proficient level of skill in acting, directing, design, playwriting, and production.
  • The ability to draw on diverse resources, techniques and technologies to generate solutions to abstract and material problems.
  • The ability to articulate a critical response to dramatic theory, literature, design and performance—including your own work and personal aesthetic.
  • The ability to collaborate effectively in a manner that translates to the professional arena.

Wondering what theatre courses are like? Explore our course catalog to see what classes are available to you.

Our Faculty and Staff

Rachel E Anderson-Rabern

Associate Professor of Theatre, Theatre Program Co-Director, Department Chair of Theatre & Dance

Comparative Literary Studies; Theatre & Dance; Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

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Bonnie Bosso

Theatre Production & Public Relations Manager

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Jennifer L Conley

Associate Professor of Dance, Dance Program Director

Theatre & Dance

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Zakiya Cornish

Adjunct Instructor, Theatre and Dance

Theatre & Dance

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Melissa Edwards

Production Support

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Emily Liberatore

Resident Costume Designer and Costume Shop Manager

Theatre & Dance

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Robert Marenick

Resident Technical Director

Theatre & Dance

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Jacob Sikorski

Lighting and Scenic Design Artist

Theatre & Dance

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Brian T Silberman

Professor of Theatre, Theatre Program Co-Director

Theatre & Dance

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Pamela S Vail

Professor of Dance

Theatre & Dance

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Wilson Whiting

Production Support

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Learning Outside the Classroom

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to step outside of the classroom and on to the stage (or behind the curtain!). With F&M theatre productions and research and study-abroad opportunities, you’ll develop your talents and skills while gaining a deeper understanding of the theatrical areas that most inspire you.

Theatre Productions

See firsthand how all pieces of the puzzle fit together to create a final production. Each year, F&M holds impressive theatrical performances designed and directed by theatre faculty members with a cast and crew of students selected by audition. Auditions are open to the entire student body regardless of major, and students who work on faculty-directed productions do so for course credit. If you major in theatre, you will be required to complete at least two crew assignments.

You can enjoy incredible opportunities to step on stage and perform, as well as work behind the scenes with props, scenic design, lighting, sound, costumes, makeup and more. You’ll also collaborate with accomplished professionals in the industry, including your talented professors; professional musicians, music directors, composers, dramaturgs, and more; and guest artists including Broadway stage managers and professional designers.

Research Opportunities 

Do you want to apprentice as a director or write an original play that will be fully produced and performed? You can at F&M. Every student has extraordinary opportunities to engage in independent or faculty-led research. In particular, the annual Student New Works Festival features original plays by F&M students, designed and staged by faculty with high production values. Students can also receive honors in theatre for written thesis work and have even earned print and online publications by co-writing articles with faculty. In addition to writing-based research, theatre research includes embodied practice: students regularly work on faculty creative research as performers, stage managers, designers, and performance creators outside of the College.
Explore research at F&M

Off-Campus Study

Theatre students have traveled the world to further explore the art of theatre. They’ve studied domestically at the National Theatre Institute and SITI Company, as well as abroad in London, Prague, and Milan, and in South Africa, Scotland, Turkey, and more. 

The theatre department also offers two summer travel awards: the Franklin J. Schaffner Theatre Award and the Geoff Pywell Award. The Schaffner Award honors outstanding contributions to the theatre program and gives awarded students the opportunity to attend English theatre productions and enroll in theatre programs in England. The Pywell Award recognizes a rising sophomore or junior’s achievement and potential in acting and supports that student’s summer study in acting or directing.
Explore off-campus study at F&M

Our Facilities

At F&M, you’ll study, write, create and perform in our world-class performing arts facilities.

The Roschel Performing Arts Center

The Roschel Performing Arts Center is the main-stage theatre on campus. It’s home to the Schnader Theatre, two spacious dance studios, a drama studio, a box office, dressing rooms, a costume shop, and a scenery shop.

The Schnader Theatre

Located in the Roschel Performing Arts Center, the Schnader Theatre has seating for 305 while maintaining an intimate feel. With state-of-the-art technology, a pit that can fit a small orchestra, and a thrust stage that’s larger than two-thirds of most Broadway stages, the Schnader Theatre is the perfect location for both professional and college productions.

Green Room Theatre

Join the ranks of F&M students who have walked the Green Room Theatre stage, including big-screen actors Roy Scheider ’55 of Jaws ; director James Lapine ’71, a three-time Tony Award winner; and theatrical literary agent Jonathan Lomma ’99, who worked with Stephen Spielberg on the 2021 award-winning production of West Side Story

Located in the lower level of F&M’s Keiper Liberal Arts Building, the Green Room Theatre has seating for 205 and hosts faculty- and student-led theatrical and dance performances, and even student video productions. The theatre opened in 1937 and was named for the Green Room drama club, which was founded in 1899. The current iteration of the club continues to produce a variety of theatrical performances, including dramas, musicals, and everything in between.

The Other Room Theatre

The Other Room Theatre is a flexible black box space located several blocks away from F&M's main campus. It's a locus for developing new work including faculty research projects, as well as a host space for student-driven curricular and extracurricular projects including: improv, open mic nights, and play production.

Success Beyond F&M

What happens after you graduate with a degree in theatre? Our graduates are prepared to pursue advanced degrees or begin their chosen careers from day one. The creative and intellectual activities that make up the work of theatre — including reading, writing, discussing, creating and performing — help you develop useful, collaborative, and productive skills, which are valuable for any post-college plan.

Graduate School

A well-rounded liberal arts education prepares F&M theatre graduates to pursue advanced degrees in a number of fields, including:

  • Acting
    Some recent graduates have gone on to highly competitive and fully funded Masters of Fine Arts in Acting programs, for example at Brown University and Ohio State University.
  • Dance
  • Design
  • Directing
  • Documentary Film
  • Gender in Performance 
  • Performance and Public Practice
  • Performance Studies
    PhD level studies at, for example, Tufts University.
  • Playwriting
  • Screenwriting
  • Stage Management
  • Theatre for Young Audiences

Career Paths

Theatre graduates enjoy a vast array of creative careers and have excelled in performance, television, film, stage production, and more. They’ve worked at local theatres including Fulton Theatre and PRIMA Theatre, as well as the country’s top regional theatres including The Public Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, and Alliance Theatre. Graduates hold positions such as: 

  • Acting Coach
  • Actor
  • Audience Relations Specialist
  • Stage Manager
  • Casting Agent
  • Choreographer 
  • Cinematographer
  • Community Outreach Director
  • Costume Designer
  • Creative Director
  • Dramaturg
  • Editor
  • Events Designer
  • Film Managing Partner
  • Lighting Designer
  • Literary Agent
  • Marketing Manager
  • Media Specialist
  • Motion Graphic Artist
  • Performing Arts Managing Director
  • Playwright
  • Production Designer
  • Professor
  • Props Designer
  • Sound Designer 
  • Stage Manager
  • Story Producer
  • Teacher
  • Theatre Director
  • Writer

Current Season

Discover the exciting events we have planned for this season — and how you can attend!

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Alumni Spotlight

Alumnus Works With Spielberg to Bring 'West Side Story' to Big Screen

Jonathan Lomma '99, a theatrical literary agent for William Morris Endeavor in New York, worked with Steven Spielberg as he was launching "West Side Story" as a feature film with 20th Century Studios. Lomma majored in English and theatre at F&M. "The Department of Theatre, Dance and Film at F&M was like a drink of fresh water after years in the desert," Lomma said.
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Behind the Scenes at the Green Room Theatre

F&M's Green Room Theatre is dark, ready for its next production. Only the faint red light of the exit signs illuminates the backs of the seats. It's almost as if time is frozen. But listen carefully and you might hear an echo from the past. Maybe the voices of big-screen actors Roy Scheider '55 or Treat Williams '73 on stage during their student days, or the instruction of legendary professors Ed Brubaker '49, Hugh Evans and Gordon Wickstrom.
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Trailer for our Fall 2023 Production

Concord Floral

Related Fields of Study

English

Read the past. Write the future. Whether you are drawn to the latest graphic novels, medieval tales, Jane Austen’s marriage plots, experimental poetry, or texts you have yet to discover, the English major offers wide-ranging explorations of language and ideas.

Film and Media Studies

Think visually, explore the media arts, and create films and videos with nuance and sophistication. Film and Media at F&M provides you with a core foundation in film history, theory, and practice, helping you learn how to examine the world through the lens of a motion picture camera.

Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Engage with a program that is a true representation of the liberal arts. Established as a major in 2015, the innovative women’s, gender and sexuality studies at F&M blends several academic disciplines to explore diverse perspectives of feminist theory.

 

F&M Theatre in the Spotlight

September 21, 2023

Exploring Theater as a Tool for Social Change, Education, and Awareness

Aviva Katz ’24, a government and theatre joint major, discusses how F&M’s Diversity and Equality in Education Certificate is helping her along her path toward a career in educational theater.

January 11, 2023

'Dance Brought Me to Life': Meet Kendall Lipham '23

As winter break comes to a close, a group of thespians is hard at work rehearsing the first Franklin & Marshall production of Meet sen Kendall Lipham, director of the latest F&M Players musical theater production

September 6, 2022

Film Faculty Screens First Film Festival

The inaugural Gleaners Film Festival at Franklin & Marshall College Sept. 22-24 will feature director John Waters and "Pink Flamingos," his 1972 "exercise in poor taste" (trailer in this link), which, at the time of its release, was initially banned in Australia and Switzerland. F&M Associate Professor of Film Jeremy Moss and Sonia Misra, a former F&M film professor now at Connecticut College, are the festival's co-directors and programmers.