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Theater

Benny Wang in the Spring 2020 production of Anon(ymous)

Why study theater?

The study of theater at Wabash combines hands-on work in acting, script analysis, directing, playwrighting, and theater design and technology with the study of dramatic literature and theater history. In the classroom, in the rehearsal studio, behind the camera, and on the stage, our expert faculty guide Wabash students to develop their capacity for critical thinking and artistic creation, to find and refine their talents and abilities, and to prepare for the world outside Wabash – while having a whole lot of fun on the way. For specific theater class offerings, check out our curriculum.

Thanks to the generous support of John C. and Diane Schroeder, Wabash theater students take part in various immersion courses, which allow students to see and create theater with theater professionals in New York, Prague, and London. Advanced theater students often participate in research with faculty or study off-campus.

In addition to academic work, Wabash Theater annually produces three mainstage productions, as well as the "Studio One-Acts," evenings of new plays written by professional playwrights, and directed and performed by Wabash students. The Scarlet Masque, Wabash's student theater organization, fosters the creation of theater and film by Wabash students: performances and screenings of student creative work are held at the end of every semester. All members of the community – regardless of major, background, or previous experience – are encouraged to participate. Take a look at theater facilities located in the Fine Arts Center, including the 370-seat Ball Theater and the Experimental Black Box Theater.

How does theater benefit you?

Live performance—the interaction of actor and audience in the same space in real-time—has existed across all world cultures since the beginnings of human history. As theater inevitably reflects the social, moral, and political issues of the time in which it was created, the study of theater and performance offers students a way to examine and interpret different cultures in context. Passionate, exuberant faculty give Wabash students a broad perspective, teaching the skills in critical thinking and academic writing that we believe all Wabash students ought to acquire at the College. But theater also has a “secret sauce”: a physical, hand-on, learn-by-doing environment which offers students the experiences and skills valuable in any number of future careers:

  • Creative problem-solving
  • Leadership
  • Collaboration with others
  • Oral communication
  • Self-discipline
  • Time Management
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • The ability to work under pressure and within constraints

Finally, theater teaches you that life is more than just “getting it done” – it’s about finding joy in your work, and creating something entertaining, fun, and gratifying for audiences to experience and enjoy.

What can you do with a theater degree?

The quick answer is lots and lots of things, both within and outside of the performing arts. Theater majors go on to careers in the performing arts to be actors, directors, designers, and technicians on the stages and film studios of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. They also become arts administrators, talent agents, marketing researchers, graphic designers, website editors, sales representatives, copy editors, broadcast directors, screenwriters, choreographers, and a host of other professions related to the performing arts.

Outside of the arts, recent Wabash Theater majors are busy pursuing careers in business, banking, law, education, and medicine. The lessons theater teaches – in critical thinking, communication, organization, collaboration, and creative problem-solving – can be applied to practically every possible career path.

Learn more about the history of theater at Wabash and see our current season.

In addition, Wabash Theater, alongside the Departments of Art and Music, helps organize the Wabash Visiting Artist Series: a wide-ranging assortment of professional performances and exhibitions for the Wabash and Crawfordsville community. All performances are free of charge to all. Please see the Fine Arts Calendar and learn more about this year's offerings.

Austin Ridley '20 and DePauw student Betsy Swift in a Scarlet Masque production of This is Our Youth in the Fusion 54 Multipurpose Space