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
Wondering what theatre courses are like? Explore our course catalog to see what classes are available to you.
Our Faculty and Staff
Associate Professor of Theatre, Theatre Program Co-Director, Department Chair of Theatre & Dance
Theatre & Dance; Women's, Gender and Sexuality StudiesContact »
Elba M Hevia Y Vaca
Senior Adjunct Instructor of Dance
Theatre & DanceContact »
Adjunct Instructor of Theatre
Theatre & DanceContact »
Resident Costume Designer and Costume Shop Manager
Theatre & DanceContact »
Lighting and Scenic Design Artist
Theatre & DanceContact »
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.
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.
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
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
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.
A well-rounded liberal arts education prepares F&M theatre graduates to pursue advanced degrees in a number of fields, including:
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.
- Documentary Film
- Gender in Performance
- Performance and Public Practice
- Performance Studies
PhD level studies at, for example, Tufts University.
- Stage Management
- Theatre for Young Audiences
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
- Audience Relations Specialist
- Stage Manager
- Casting Agent
- Community Outreach Director
- Costume Designer
- Creative Director
- Events Designer
- Film Managing Partner
- Lighting Designer
- Literary Agent
- Marketing Manager
- Media Specialist
- Motion Graphic Artist
- Performing Arts Managing Director
- Production Designer
- Props Designer
- Sound Designer
- Stage Manager
- Story Producer
- Theatre Director
Discover the exciting events we have planned for this season — and how you can attend!Visit our Box Office »
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. 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. 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.
Alumnus Works With Spielberg to Bring 'West Side Story' to Big ScreenJonathan 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.
Read More »
Behind the Scenes at the Green Room TheatreF&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.
Read More »
Related Fields of Study
Film and Media Studies
Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
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.
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.
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 Franklin & Marshall College offers students a hands-on education that emphasizes close relationships with faculty. Students flourish in a supportive community that treats them as an individual, and their successes continue long after F&M. The College is a national leader in launching students and alumni to opportunities where they make a difference in the community and the world.