The mission of the Vassar Drama Department is to provide our students with a strong multidisciplinary approach to the practice of Theater-Making, the study of Theater History, Dramatic Literatures, Performance Studies, and Global Theatrical practices.

Why Vassar Drama?

Featuring former Chair and Professor of Drama; Shona Tucker (the first African American female to chair the Drama Department)

Our study of theater engages theory and practice as inseparable, dynamically interrelated elements, and considers our Experimental Theater as a laboratory for the bold exploration of form incorporating the study of history, Historiography, and the intersection of race, gender, class, and queerness.

We assume that there is no one truth or correct methodology, but rather multiple solutions to the questions we pose. In addition, we work in tandem with other disciplines and departments on campus. We understand that our methods of inquiry, pedagogies, and practices are constantly evolving. Similarly, we strive to maintain the strongest possible ethics of equity and inclusion both in our educational goals, and hiring protocols.

The requirements for concentration allow each student a good deal of agency and individual choice, allowing students to take classes which explore Theater-Making, Dramatic Literature and the History/Theory of Theater, Scenography, Dramaturgy, Production methods, as well as courses in Acting, Movement for Actors, Extreme Performance, Directing, Playwriting, Stage Management, and Technical Theater.

The Drama curriculum reflects our mission for both non-majors and majors: to encourage students to read deeply and to understand the basics of literary-critical analysis through phenomenological and practical means. Drama 102, “Introduction to Theater-Making,” reflects our teaching philosophy and our collaborative process. It is designed to engage students as critical audience members, helping them to move beyond purely emotional reactions to critical judgment and analysis and to become effective and generous collaborators. In these ways, the course fulfills the college’s mission of helping students to develop their powers of reason and imagination through processes of embodied analysis and synthesis. Our culminating course, “Drama 390. Senior Project in Drama,” is an intensive and collaborative thesis that explores a particular text, or practice and can also consist of original work in Playwriting. Alternatively, we also strongly encourage scholarly research and critical writing as the basis for a thesis.

By the time drama majors leave Vassar, we expect students to have developed the ability to think critically about literature and production, text and performance, and to be able to express original critical and analytical thought through clear prose. Finally, we expect students to have gained an understanding of and practical ability in the various elements of theatrical production: acting, directing, playwriting, design, dramaturgy, and technical theater.

Upcoming Productions and Events

Feb 23 through Feb 25

An inventive retelling of a Jacobean drama, Jen Silverman’s sharp, subversive fable debates how much our souls are worth when hope is hard to come by. Directed by Claire McHarg. Senior project members: Kelly Hatfield, Louise Ambler, Jack Francis, Emma Skinner, Rose Trammell, Presley Wheeler. Free and open to the public, reservations required.

Mar 29 through Apr 1

Two original plays presented by students from the playwriting course in Drama. Senior Project Members: Ellery Cordes, Maya Wilson, Zoe Nelms, Kathryn Hasson. 

Campus community only, please.

Apr 26 through Apr 28

This timely drama resulted from a trip to Romania. Developed with students from London’s Central School of Drama, this is an incisive portrait of society in turmoil that focuses on two families to reveal what life is like under a totalitarian regime and what results when the regime collapses. Directed by Christopher Grabowski. Free and open to the public, reservations required.