Theater

  • Degree Type Bachelor of Arts
  • Department Theater, Dance and Film Studies
  • Academic Division The College
  • Offerings Major Minor

A group of students perform on stage A group of students perform on stage

Through the study of the practice and history of theater, students develop aesthetic appreciation for art and culture, learn flexible problem-solving methods, acquire diverse communication skills and employ creative collaborative processes.

Theater

The Theater Program is housed within the Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies at W&L. Students who wish to deepen their understanding or hone their craft can choose to major or minor in theater.

The department produces a number of theatrical events each year, including plays and musicals. Participation in any department production is open to all students at Washington and Lee. Students do not have to be a major or minor to be involved in a show.

Opportunities 

Theater productions take place throughout the academic year. Past productions include:

  • 2018–19 “The Cherry Orchard”
  • 2018–19 “Vana, Sona, Marsha and Spike”
  • 2017–18 “The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet”
  • 2017–18 “James and the Giant Peach”
  • 2016–17 “Sense and Sensibility”
  • 2016–17 “Dracula”

Past productions founded by the Robert O. and Elizabeth M. Bentley Endowment for the Performing Arts include:

  • 2018–19 “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”
  • 2017–18 “The Addams Family, a New Musical”
  • 2016–17: “Theory of Relativity”
  • 2015–6: “Legally Blonde”
  • 2014–15: “Monty Python’s Spamalot”

The Richard B. Sessoms Fund for Student Experiences helped to support the following opportunities:

  • 2018–19 February Break trip to Washington, D.C.
  • 2017–18 February Break trip to Chicago, Illinois
  • 2016–17 February Break trip to New York, New York

Jenefer Davies

Department Head

Sophia Kocevar

Administrative Assistant

News


W&L’s Jemma Alix Levy to Direct Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’

The performances run June 19 through July 14 at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s outdoor stage.

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Jordan Peimer Selected as Next Lenfest Center Director

The former executive director of ArtPower at the University of California, San Diego will begin his new role in July.

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W&L Presents ‘Begets: Fall of a High School Ronin’

Performances of the high school samurai tale run April 3-5.

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Stephanie Sandberg

Sandberg to Present Nobel Prize Symposium Talk

Stephanie Sandberg, assistant professor of theater, will discuss this year’s Nobel Prize in literature on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 12:15 p.m.

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Mary Hipp ’90

Empathy & Compassion

In May, Mary Hipp ’90 said being a member of the second class of women undergraduates at W&L taught her a lot— although she didn’t realize it at the time.

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Stella Adamopoulis '27 performs in Speech & Debate in the Johnson Theater

The Space to Be Brave

W&L’s recent staging of ‘Speech & Debate’ brought its cast, crew and audience an opportunity to engage with an innovative, collaborative approach to theater.

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W&L to Host Free Screening of the Ghana Spring Term Films

The premiere event will be followed by a student-led discussion about their experiences and the creative journey in producing the films.

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Swedish Theater 4x5 Shawn Paul Evans Spring Term

Live from Sweden

W&L students in this Spring Term’s “Swedish Theater” course were immersed in culture during their three weeks in Stockholm, Sweden.

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W&L’s Finn Connor ’23 Selected for Fulbright to Germany

Connor has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to teach English in Germany.

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Meet Emily Moran ’23

Moran is inspired by W&L’s values and commitment to liberal arts education.

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Meet Estrella Burks-Parra ’23

W&L’s distinctive summer programming helped Burks-Parra develop her personal and professional interests.

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“Treasure Island, a world of adventure!”  LtoR Long John Silver (Estrella Burks-Parra), Mrs. Hawkins (Mariah Scott), Jim Hawkins (Finn Connor), Dr. Livesy (Ana S. Montano Martinez), Pew (Ava Grace Flory), Squire Trelawney (Emma Smith)

W&L Theater Presents ‘Treasure Island’

Ocean voyages, sword fights, treasure hunts, rivalry, friendships and pirates are on display in this show based on the familiar novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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Sample Courses

At W&L, we believe education and experience go hand-in-hand. You’ll be encouraged to dive in, explore and discover connections that will broaden your perspective.

FILM/THTR 121

Script Analysis for Stage & Screen

The study of selected plays and screenplays from the standpoint of the theater and screen artists. Emphasis on thorough examination of the scripts preparatory to production. This course is focused on developing script analysis skills directly applicable to work in production. Students work collaboratively in various creative capacities to transform texts into productions.

THTR 215

Modern Drama

This course explores the principal movements and aesthetics in the modern period in European and American theater history from the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. Significant plays, playwrights, theatre artists and theorists are studied in context of the successive waves of modern movements: realism, symbolism, expressionism, surrealism, epic theater and theater of the absurd. Oral presentations, short research papers and performance projects will be required.

THTR 211

Western Theater History

This course examines theater from the Renaissance period up to the modern era. Students read, analyze and perform texts from this period, studying in detail how the theater is culturally created and maintained. The goal of the course is to gain a general overview of how the theater came to be what it is today. Since theater is primarily a cultural institution, we simultaneously examine politics, philosophy, religion, science and other factors that influence how the art form is created, maintained and culturally preserved. We also examine history itself as an important cultural tool for assessing the events of the past.

THTR 336

Lighting Design

A study of the practice of stage lighting, focusing on styles of production, historical methods and artistic theory. Culminates in a light design for a public theatrical production.

THTR 236

Special Effects for Theater

In this hands-on, project-based course, students apply the process of iterative design and use critical thinking to provide creative solutions to solve the artistic effects required to tell stories in theater. Starting with textual analysis of given scripts, students develop the parameters required for various effects, figure out a process to create those effects, and make them.

THTR 253

Digital Production

Digital technologies and multimedia interaction are increasingly utilized to produce, enhance and innovate theatrical production. Students examine and experiment with various digital technologies as they relate to theater and dance performance. Students create digital audio, video, design rendering and animation projects for theatrical performances.

Meet the Faculty

At W&L, students enjoy small classes and close relationships with professors who educate and nurture.

Jenefer M. Davies
Jenefer M. Davies

Jenefer M. Davies

Department Head, Theater, Dance and Film Studies; Professor of Dance and Theater

Davies teaches courses on contemporary European dance, dance composition, movement for actors and aerial dance techniques. Her research focuses on modern dance composition and the feminine aesthetic.

Owen Collins
Owen Collins

Owen Collins

Professor of Theater

Collins teaches courses on stage craft, special effects, performance design, 3D printing for theater, and scene painting/art. His research focuses on new media and technology in contemporary theater practice.

Shawn Paul Evans
Shawn Paul Evans

Shawn Paul Evans

Professor of Theater

Evans teaches courses on the fundamentals of theater, stage management, digital production, lighting and dance production. He has researched theater technology, including automation and motion control.

Jemma Alix Levy
Jemma Alix Levy

Jemma Alix Levy

Associate Professor of Theater/Acting, Core Affiliated Faculty, Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program

Levy teaches courses on acting, directing, Shakespeare and theater history. She is a professional director with critically-acclaimed national and international credits, and for 10 years ran Muse of Fire Theatre Company.

Curriculum Vitae

Rob Mish
Rob Mish

Rob Mish

Director of the Lenfest Theater; Adjunct Instructor of Theater

Mish, a W&L alum, is responsible for the management and operation of the Lenfest Center for the Arts. In addition, he teaches stage acting, Total Theater, Introduction to the Theater, Musical Theater, supervises student internships and will occasionally direct a main stage production.

Stephanie Sandberg
Stephanie Sandberg

Stephanie Sandberg

Assistant Professor of Theater/Film

Sandberg teaches courses on screenwriting, documentary filmmaking and an ethnographic study of modern-day slavery in Ghana. Her current research focuses on theater for social justice.

Owen Collins
Shawn Paul Evans
Jemma Alix Levy
Rob Mish
Stephanie Sandberg
Jenefer M. Davies