Theatre Department

One Flea Spare, Spring 2013
"One Flea Spare" spring 2012

The Theatre department views performance work as a synthesis of an individual's critical and creative faculties. Hence the great importance of the liberal arts experience to theatre artists, who must be able to analyze texts, research historical and cultural contexts, and make critical decisions, all of which contribute to imaginative and challenging performance work. Students use analytic and research tools in the projects they undertake as class assignments and in the larger productions that are produced for the Reed community and the public. Reed's Theatre department is also a home for scholarship in theatre and performance studies, and offers classes on gender and theatre, race and performance, and intercultural theatre. Throughout the department, classes and production opportunities are open to majors and non-majors.

Reed Theatre produces work by faculty members and by senior thesis students; faculty, staff, and students work together throughout the year to produce each season. Recent productions include faculty productions of Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice, Timberlake Wertenbaker's Our Country's Good, Naomi Wallace's One Flea Spare, and student thesis productions of Federico Garcia Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba and Shakuntala: An Indian Fairy Tale. The department equally supports new play development, dramaturgy, and thesis work in stage management and design.

Jorge Huerta, spring 2013
Jorge Huerta visits Reed Theatre, spring 2013

Reed Theatre regularly welcomes guest artists and scholars to the department to present work, give talks, and offer workshops. Recent guests have included Anne Bogart, Jorge Huerta, Universes, Philip Kan Gotanda, Lee Blessing, and Tim Miller. Reed Theatre enjoys collaboration with the Portland theatre community, including projects and interactions with Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, Profile Theatre, and Portland Playhouse, among others.

As of fall 2013, the Theatre department is delighted to inhabit Reed's new Performing Arts Building, which Theatre will share with the departments of Music and Dance. In the new PAB, there are two theatres: the 180-seat state of the art Studio Theatre, and the 99-seat Black Box. The new building also features a performance laboratory, a dedicated rehearsal room, a design studio, an up-to-date and equipped scene shop and costume studios, and multiple networked classrooms. The building is designed to be energy efficient, boasts ample common spaces for collaborative work, a rooftop garden, art exhibition spaces, and has a wide atrium to welcome the campus and Reed communities. For more information about the development of this exciting project, which broke ground in 2011, please see this article in Reed Magazine.

Senior Thesis

The senior thesis in Theatre allows majors to undertake concentrated work in an area of special interest. The written thesis is often accompanied by a production in which the student, having secured departmental approval and working within a framework of guidelines, exercises creative control over areas including either acting, directing, design, dramaturgy or playwriting. The department encourages students to make creative use of materials at hand, and the mature development of ideas is of particular importance. Opportunities to undertake interdisciplinary majors (such as literature/theatre and dance/theatre, to name only two) are also available.


Iphigenia and Other Daughters, fall 2011
"Iphigenia and Other Daughters" fall 2011

The department is staffed by theatre professionals. Kate Bredeson (theatre history and literature, dramaturgy, playwriting, directing, gender and theatre) is a dramaturg and theatre historian whose research focuses on French political theatre in the 1960s; as a production dramaturg she has worked at regional theatres as well as with small collectives and on new plays. Peter Ksander (set, lighting, and sound design) is an Obie-winning stage designer who has worked internationally, and served as a curator for the Ontological Hysteric Incubator / the Incubator Arts Project in NYC. Kate Duffly (acting, directing, race and American theatre, performance studies) is a scholar-director whose research and artistic work focuses on socially-engaged performance; she has had the opportunity to collaborate with acclaimed community-based theatre companies like Cornerstone Theater in Los Angeles and Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont. Melissa Schlachtmeyer is a broad-based costume designer working in Opera, Dance and Theatre whose designs have been seen from the Avignon Opera House to Dance Arenas in Mexico City to LaMama E.T.C in New York.

Production Season

Eurydice, Spring 2013
"Eurydice" spring 2013

Seven to ten productions are staged each year, including two faculty-directed plays for which students can receive credit; senior-directed thesis productions; a variety of one-acts staged by directing classes; and acting class projects. In addition to acting and directing, students gain experience in all aspects of theatre production -- from set and costume design to ticket sales and publicity.

Reed Theatre and Diversity

Reed Theatre is a community dedicated to creative and scholarly excellence, and an environment in which students, faculty, and staff can fully participate, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, socio-economic status, or disabilities. All plays we produce, no matter how they have been cast historically, are open to all members of the Reed community. Performers of all abilities, gender identities, and ethnic and racial backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to audition.