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.
"The Glass Menagerie" Spring 2011
Classes and production work are open to majors and non-majors, and first- and second-year students are eligible to enroll in almost all of the department's courses. In two performance spaces, the department has produced a wide range of works by major playwrights from Sophocles to Shakespeare to Shepard. Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Moliere's Tartuffe and Tennessee Williams' In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel. Each year, projects are directed both by faculty members and by senior thesis students.
The senior thesis allows majors to do 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.
"Antigone" Spring 2010
Anne Bogart visits Reed Theatre, February 2011
The department is staffed by theatre professionals. Kathleen Worley (acting, directing, intercultural theatre, solo performance, playwriting) has performed with many regional theatre companies; her one-woman show, developed from the writings of Virginia Woolf, has been much acclaimed. 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.
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.
Within the theatre building are two stage areas; the larger has a seating capacity of 160, and the smaller can accommodate 55. Consistent with the general College policy, all facilities are available to students, and equipment restrictions are minimal.
A New Building on for Theatre, Dance, and Music
Groundbreaking for Reed's new performing arts building took place in the summer of 2011. For more information about the development of this exciting project, please see this article in Reed Magazine.