If you’re interested in diving into theater, those of us who work in the Theater Program at Bryn Mawr are excited to work with you.
One important thing to know about theater at Bryn Mawr is that everyone is welcome—no matter their level of experience. Curiosity, hard work, and excitement are qualities we hold dear, in ourselves and in our students, and with those qualities, you’re well set up to learn the skills involved in theater.
Learning those skills is partly the scholarly work of researching and reading theory, and partly the work of putting that theory into practice. As actors, dramaturgs, directors, designers, stage managers, and in many other roles working on our theater productions, our students are asked to take what they’ve learned in class and rehearsal and go deeper, by applying that learning to the creative process of making live performance, as well as through discussion and writing.
Mark Lord, director, dramaturg, writer, and chair of the Theater Program says, “Our Program is grounded in the actual making of theater, which means that we engage fully in the creative work and the theories that engage that work. We try to put theory and practice into productive dialogue with one another.” By doing so, we enter into conversation with artists who have gone before us and with artists in the same room with us, as we test what we’ve learned, formulate our own new ideas and questions, and strengthen our own creative practices.
And we believe deeply in the value of creative practice in a liberal arts education.
This Program is made up of working artists. Everyone here has their own creative life—we act, direct, research, write, design, and make all sorts of things, here at Bryn Mawr and beyond the campus, in our own lives. We are artists committed to the development of our own creative practices, and we are just as committed to helping you develop a creative practice and a life as an artist.
Why is all that important? Assistant Professor of Theater Catharine Slusar is an actor and director and our main acting professor. She has this to say about the role of theater and the arts in a liberal arts education:
Theater is like a curiosity engine that helps to form agile minds through learning to dissect metaphor and imagine new worlds from a variety of perspectives. This curiosity serves to further students in any major they choose to pursue. We cannot create new worlds, new vaccines, new experiments unless we can imagine them. bell hooks writes, “The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is—it’s to imagine what is possible.” We cannot imagine if we do not learn to question and to wonder. The study of theater and the arts is not an extra; it is essential to a true liberal arts education.
You do not need to major or minor in theater to work with us (but you can!). And you don’t need to want a career in theater (although, we’ll happily guide you in that direction if that’s your goal—even if you’re not a major). Every student in our program is welcome to audition, take classes, work in production, dig deep, ask questions, and expand their liberal arts education and their lives as creative thinkers through the work we do here.
When you do that work with us, you will be a creator among other creators, learning together and working collaboratively to build something important.
Whether or not you decide to major in theater or work in theater later in your life, we believe that the experience of making theater will serve you for the rest of your life. Our graduates go on to be scientists, authors of cookbooks, sociologists, screenwriters, lawyers, photographers, and folklorists—not to mention actors, stage managers, and lighting designers.
If the goal of a liberal arts education is to build the strength and flexibility of our creative intellectual muscles—to teach us how to learn and how to examine and question what we’ve learned; to help us formulate new ideas and create new worlds; to empower us to take on any job, project, or challenge we like in our lives; and to enable us to work collaboratively to imagine a better future—then theater is one perfect way to exercise those muscles. Come join us.