Here in the Department of Theatre Arts, we are dedicated to cultivating a love of all forms of theatre and a passion for using theatre as a way of communicating ideas. Our main priority are our students and ensuring that everyone is welcomed and accepted into our theatre family.
Where is the Theatre Arts Department located?
Theatre Arts Department offices and classrooms are located in the basement of the Light Fine Arts building. If you are facing the LFAB from the outside, Theatre Arts is down the stairs on the right side of the building. Once you are in the basement, proceed through the door with the ‘Welcome’ sign on it and follow the purple stripe down the hall until you reach the production office (next to the vending machines). Laura or an office staff member can help you locate your classroom.
Is Theatre Arts actually a ‘useful’ major?
Being a Theatre Arts major (or minor) is more than just doing acting or tech work. Being a major is about continually renewing your passion for the arts and discovering new things about theatre that makes you appreciate the craft even more. Being disciplined in the theatre arts cultivates skills that are essential to the working world outside of theatre. Skills such as Teamwork/Collaboration, Leadership, Oral/Written Communications, Global Fluency, and Work Ethic (among others) are all skills that are ingrained in the work we do in the Theatre Arts Department. The Theatre Arts Department is truly a family and has a staff that is dedicated to ensuring that you will be successful outside of Kalamazoo College. Students are expected to do internships and other theatre work outside of K to gain outside experience and prepare themselves for the real world.
We have lots of Alumni working in the field right now. Read a couple of their stories on the Alumni News and Events page.
What is Festival Playhouse?
Festival Playhouse is the name of the theatre company on campus and it is the performance side of the Theatre Arts Department. All theatre shows that are put on at Kalamazoo College are produced by Festival Playhouse and are either performed in the Playhouse or the Dungeon black box theatre. Festival Playhouse has had 50+ seasons and there are many, many more to come! For more information, explore our Festival Playhouse website!
Do I have to have experience in theatre to participate in a Festival Playhouse production?
No! You can act or help with the production of a show without having any experience. Even if you are assigned a position that you have never done before, we will teach and guide you as you go. Theatre at Kalamazoo College is about education, and in order to get a full education, it is imperative that you get hands-on experience in all different fields of theatre.
Can I be involved in a production as a First Year?
Yes! We have many students who are cast, and even star, in productions as first years! You can hold any production position as a first year including Stage Manager, Assistant Lighting or Sound Designer, House Manager, and more! We highly encourage you to become involved as a first year so you can see everything that the department has to offer!
What kind of shows does Festival Playhouse produce every year? Do you do musicals?
In general, Festival Playhouse produces one show every quarter and, depending on the needs of the senior class, the Senior Performance Series. We have a saying in the department: Theatre that is always thoughtful, theatre that is always provocative. Our emphasis when doing shows is to do plays and musicals that are meaningful and make a statement. Though some of our selections are nontraditional, all of our plays are student-selected and go beyond just entertainment. We usually do one musical every other year.
Check out our Past Productions page to see what kinds of shows Festival Playhouse has put on in the past!
How is the Festival Playhouse season chosen every year?
Here at K, we have a unique system for choosing our season each year. We have a council called PSAC (Play Selection Advisory Council) that is comprised of students that meet weekly in Fall Quarter to discuss potential plays or musicals for the following year and earn academic credit. After the council has decided on a short list of plays that students would want to put on, the rest of the faculty meet and choose the plays for the next season in Winter Quarter. ANYONE can be a part of PSAC regardless of year or major, just come to the weekly meetings and be ready to read and discuss plays that are interesting to you!
What are the requirements to be a theatre major?
Visit our Major and Minor Requirements page for more information.
Is funding available for theatre-related travel or SIPs?
Yes! We have the Vinnie Liff fund and other sources–so please: contact the chair, Lanny Potts if you are interested in learning more.