The Department of Theater explores the dynamic nature of a living art form that connects us to the world around us in myriad ways. Among its faculty are master actors, directors, award-winning playwrights, scholars of theater history, and leaders in the fields of set and costume design. Like a member of an ensemble cast, each brings a different strength to the department, yet all are equally committed to the collaborative work of teaching and creating live performance.
The program encompasses acting, directing, playwriting, design, technical theater, and dramaturgy. Students acquire both a deep knowledge of theatrical traditions and firsthand experience of participating in a variety of productions. With the mentorship of their professors, they are empowered to create original theater, new writing, and sometimes even new genres. They also make active connections to the other arts and disciplines on campus, such as engaging the talents of the music and dance departments in the production of musical theater.
Members of the Theater Department faculty are graduates or past faculty of nationally acclaimed drama programs, including those of Yale, Tufts and Columbia. With their extensive career experience, our professors are well-positioned to help students take their first steps in professional theater, often with internships at theaters in nearby New York City or elsewhere throughout the country. The founding partner of the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center near campus, the College continues to collaborate on NTI’s curriculum and programs such as Theatermakers Summer Intensive.
In contrast to more traditional undergraduate theater programs, Connecticut College’s curriculum, Connections, challenges students to interpret why and how material from the past can speak to us. Leading by example, our professors and visiting artists demonstrate that theater continues to fulfill its role as a vibrant force for change, today and tomorrow.
International Relations and Theater double major, Psychology minor
Favorite classroom experience at Conn:
I've had so many incredible experiences at Conn that it's hard to pick only one, but I had a blast workshopping pieces in Associate Professor of Theater Kenneth Prestininzi's “Advanced Playwriting” class. The people in the class read scenes or parts of larger plays that we'd written. Hearing the words spoken aloud was essential to the learning process, and there was always a general atmosphere of support in the classroom.
Best takeaway from my internship:
I did my internship at the New York State Division of Human Rights, and my best takeaway from this experience is that there are (at least) two sides to every story. I got a firsthand look at people in situations where discrimination had been alleged. Understandably, these cases are often emotional. I came to appreciate the importance of taking a step back in order to look at the bigger picture.
I graduated in December, and am currently working in New York City at Davenport Theatrical Enterprises and Theatre Communications Group. During the summer, I will remain in Manhattan to work with the All Stars Project toward ameliorating poverty in New York City.
LGBTQIA Center Staff, Connecticut College Theater, Wig & Candle