Theatre

Major: Theatre
Minor:
 Theatre
Program Director:
 Frazer Lively Professor of Theatre
Academic Catalogue

Theatre explores the dreams and visions of a society. Wesleyan's theatre department offers a wide range of courses, with a commitment to writing plays, performing, and directing; working in technical theatre and theatre management; analyzing dramatic literature; and bringing productions to life. The theatre major helps students grow as artists and scholars. Classes are small. You have close individual mentoring from outstanding faculty.  See Academic Catalogue pages for details on our exciting courses. 


All theatre productions at Wesleyan focus on strong roles for women. Students can play leading roles or take on important technical jobs as early as the first year. Women do all the back stage work, unlike in a coeducational institution, where men tend to take on those jobs. Wesleyan students build the sets, run or design the lights and sound, and direct the actors. Wesleyan theatre students get solid pre-professional experience on both sides of the lights. They are therefore highly marketable for positions all over the United States and abroad. 

The theatre degree enhances career paths that call for collaboration, organizational abilities, effective speaking, problem solving, creativity, and analytical/critical skills. Theatre courses also provide excellent training for lawyers, teachers, social workers, psychotherapists, arts camp leaders, business executives, politicians, professors, community leaders, and ministers, to name just a few -- everyone who needs strong communication skills in dealing with the public.

Wesleyan theatre alumnae include professional actors and stage managers, children’s theatre professionals, film producers, directors of community arts programs, management consultants, and designers.  

Facilities
The 1,200-seat Porter Auditorium boasts a forty-foot proscenium, twenty-line counterweight fly system, orchestra pit, and dressing and makeup rooms. It is a popular venue for local and touring performances. The 80-seat Grassmann-Porter Studio Theatre is an intimate theatre space.

Macon's lively theatre community gives other opportunities. Students act and do technical work for Theatre Macon, Macon Little Theatre, and the Douglass Theatre. In addition, Atlanta's professional theatres are within easy driving distance.

Field Study
Summer internships often take place at professional companies around the United States and abroad. Local sponsoring organizations that especially welcome theatre students as interns include Macon Little Theatre, the Grand Opera House, Theatre Macon, the Douglass Theatre, Georgia Advocacy for Children, and local television stations. 

Recent Productions

  • Miss Witherspoon by Christopher Durang, a brilliant dark comedy about the afterlife
  • Flyin’ West by Pearl Cleage, a drama about four strong African American women on the Kansas frontier
  • Princess Ida An operetta by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, in a contemporary adaptation by Jan Lewis
  • Dead Man's Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl, a funny and bittersweet exploration of how cell phones interrupt real communication
  • Medea/Myth A new version of the ancient Medea story, written for Wesleyan by Robert Fieldsteel and Jan Lewis
  • Twelfth Night or What You Will Shakespeare’s romantic comedy with all the roles performed by women, using music from the late 1960s, adapted by Jan Lewis
  • The Bald Soprano and The Lesson Ionesco's dark absurdist comedies
  • Cootie Shots: Theatrical Inoculations Against Bigotry written by Norma Bowles and created by Fringe Benefits, a Los Angeles-based educational theatre company, a fun and constructive way to help children deal with every form of intolerance
  • Kindertransport by Diane Samuels, a haunting play about a young Jewish girl separated from her German family during World War II, who reinvents herself as a British woman
  • Crimes of the Heart Beth Henley's comedy/drama about three Mississippi sisters driven by love
  • Crumbs from the Table of Joy Lynn Nottage's nostalgic tribute to an African-American family in 1950s Brooklyn
  • The Vagina Monologues Eve Ensler's project to raise awareness and funds to combat abuse.

Faculty

Frazer Lively

Frazer Lively Professor of Theatre . B.A. (Theatre and Dance) State University of New York at Buffalo 1983; M.A. (Theatre Performance and Literature) University of Pittsburgh 1987; Certificate in French, Sorbonne (Paris IV) 1993; Ph.D. (Theatre History and Literature) University of Pittsburgh 1997. My areas of interest in theatre history/literature/performance include symbolist theatre, Chekhov, African-American theatre, and modern protest as theatre. As a theatre practitioner, I have expertise in children’s theatre and creative drama, acting, and directing. Porter Fine Arts 119. flively@wesleyancollege.edu 

Jan Lewis


Jan Lewis
 Associate Professor of Theatre and Theatre Department Chair. B.A. Brandeis University (Theatre Arts); M.A. University of California, Berkeley (Dramatic Art); M.F.A. University of California, Los Angeles (Directing); Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara (Dramatic Art).  I have spent many years as an actor, director, dramaturg, and producer in the professional theatre. My research interests include American theatre, musical theatre, and race, ethnic, and gender studies in theatre and film. Porter Fine Arts 109. jlewis@wesleyancollege.edu

Robert Fieldsteel Artist-in-Residence, Playwriting.  B.A. Dartmouth College (English: Writing); M.A. Antioch University (Psychology). My plays have been produced in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Also a professional actor, I have acted in more than twenty-five plays, a dozen feature films, and have guest-starred on sixteen television shows. Awards include: Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award - Best World Premiere Play; Backstage West Garland Award – Playwriting; LADCC Award - Ensemble Performance; Dramalogue Award - Performance. Porter Fine Arts 122.rfieldsteel@wesleyancollege.edu