Program in Theater



  • Jane F. Cox

Executive Committee

  • Su Friedrich, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Judith Hamera, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Aleksandar Hemon, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Brian E. Herrera, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Deana Lawson, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Yiyun Li, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Susan S. Marshall, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Moon Molson, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Paul B. Muldoon, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Kirstin Valdez Quade, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • James Richardson, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Joe Scanlan, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Tracy K. Smith, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Susan Wheeler, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Jeffrey Whetstone, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Stacy E. Wolf, Lewis Center for the Arts

Associated Faculty

  • Martha Friedman, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Rebecca J. Lazier, Lewis Center for the Arts

Sits with Committee

  • Elena Araoz
  • R. N. Sandberg


  • Stacy E. Wolf

Associate Professor

  • Brian E. Herrera

Senior Lecturer

  • Michael W. Cadden
  • Jane F. Cox


  • Suzanne L. Agins
  • Shariffa Ali
  • Elena Araoz
  • David K. Bengali
  • Nathan A. Davis
  • Sarita Fellows
  • Vivia Font
  • Tess James
  • Aaron Landsman
  • Andrea Lauer
  • Lawrence Moten
  • Mark S. Nelson
  • Samuel Pinkleton
  • R. N. Sandberg
  • G. Nehassaiu deGannes

Visiting Lecturer with Rank of Professor

  • John M. Doyle
For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Program Information

The Program in Theater, part of the Lewis Center for the Arts,

The Program in Theater believes that theater education should center the making of theater, in collaboration with working artists, while studying with world class scholars and artists in the classroom and rehearsal studio. From a liberal arts perspective, Princeton’s Certificate Program in Theater encourages students to explore theater as an intensely collaborative art form, as a key component of world cultures, and as a genre that shapes and is shaped by history, economics, politics, and technology.

The program offers courses in writing, performance, directing, design, dramaturgy, performance history, theory and criticism. In conjunction with music theater, the program offers a full season of theatrical productions and explorations, chosen by the students, and produced in collaboration with professional artists and technicians, in order to support our students’ growth as artists. Visiting guest artists offer workshops and co-curricular classes, participate in play readings and explorations, and join students in conversation.

Program courses are open and welcoming to all undergraduates interested in exploring theater at any level. The program also offers the kinds of courses and co-curricular activities that will allow a student to move into graduate education to pursue advanced training. Certificate students come from the full range of concentrations the University has to offer.

Admission to the Program

The theater program is open to all students who are committed to theater practice and/or scholarship. Students may begin taking courses and doing technical work that count toward certificate requirements in their first year at Princeton, and most classes have no prerequisites.  There is no application—all students are accepted into the Program in Theater and register for the certificate online.

Students wishing to propose a production for the theater and music theater season must take a junior seminar in the fall of their junior year.

Program of Study

Requirements for the Certificate in Theater:

1) Coursework:

A total of five courses in the Program in Theater or crosslisted with the Program in Theater. At least three must be studio courses chosen from offerings in acting, directing, playwriting, design, and dramaturgy. Participation in THR 451 for credit can count towards the theater certificate once. Students who wish to propose a production for our student driven theater season are also expected to participate in a sixth class, THR 402, a collaborative methods seminar focused around the process of creating our theater season, during their junior year.

At least one course in dramatic literature, performance history, performance studies, or criticism. Up to two courses in this area may be used toward the five-course requirement.

2) Senior Independent work:

This work might take the form of a studio project, such as the direction of a production, the performance or extended exploration of a large role, the writing of a play, the design or dramaturgy of a production, or any other theatrical undertaking in the creation or production of theater, under the supervision of our faculty and professional staff either in our senior thesis season, independently, or in conjunction with another campus-producing organization. Projects in the theater and music theater program season should fulfill the requirements of creative research - bringing new ideas and contexts to theater-making and taking intellectual and creative risks. 

Students who wish to propose a realized project as part of the theater program season, using theater program equipment, space and/or staff, are expected to participate in our collaborative methods seminar, THR 402, during the fall of the junior year. 

If a student is working towards completing certificates in both theater and music theater with a focus on performance or production, the program suggests that the student focus their senior year independent work on one theatrical project in which they take a significant leadership role, and fulfill the needs of the other certificate in a different way. 

It is possible to complete senior independent work through the theater season without proposing a realized project or taking THR 402 in two ways. One is by writing, acting, designing, directing, stage managing or participating in a project in the theater and music theater season that has been chosen by other students or by the program. The other is by proposing an academic theatrical exploration, independent performance studies project or any other project (such as writing a play that you do not expect to be performed) that does not require significant use of theater program staff, space, or equipment. Students may elect to do an independent performance studies project approved by and under the supervision of Program in Theater faculty.

If the student's department permits, the student might choose to complete one part of the departmental independent work (senior thesis) on a topic approved by the Program in Theater faculty dealing with some facet of theater in relation to that department's subject matter. This independent work could take the form of a textual, cultural, or theoretical study; or it may be a combination of research and practical work supervised by the program faculty and the student's department.

3) Technical and production support work:

A certain number of hours of technical work on theater productions staged by the program. All technical hours must have been assigned to the student by the thesis proposal deadline date in the junior year, usually late February or early March. At least half of these hours must be completed prior to this deadline; and all technical hours must be completed by the end of junior year.

Students interested in directing for the theater program are encouraged to stage manage a production in their freshman, sophomore, or junior year as preparation for directing. Stage managing a production for the theater program fulfills the technical work requirement for the program.

4) Community meetings and events:

Given that collaboration is at the heart of theater making, a successful theatrical education has to be rooted in an engaged community. At the start of each academic year, students will be required to attend a short meeting of all certificate students. In addition, the theater program will require occasional certificate student attendance at workshops aimed at supporting our ability to create art in a collaborative manner.  Each year, the theater program hosts, produces or presents a variety of theatrical events and symposia; certificate students are expected to participate in or attend at least one significant theatrical event in each of their junior and senior years. The theater program also provides a wide array of workshops, events and trips to the theater for our certificate students.

5) Theater program reading list:

Students in the theater program are expected to familiarize themselves with the theater program reading list, and to read at least twenty of the plays and books from this list prior to graduation.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill the above requirements of the program receive a certificate of proficiency in theater upon graduation.

Additional Information

Student driven theater season:

The Theater and Music Theater program season of theatrical productions and explorations is primarily comprised of projects chosen by junior certificate students who have fulfilled the necessary requirements in terms of coursework and tech hours and participated in THR 402. Certificate and non-certificate students may participate in these projects as extracurricular activities; certain projects led by faculty may be pursued as coursework. These productions and theatrical explorations may be used to fulfill the requirement for senior independent work in the certificate program. With permission of the student's department of concentration, such projects may also satisfy one of the requirements for independent work in the department, in which case it must consist of or be accompanied by written work, such as a scholarly or critical evaluation.

The mission of the theater season is to support our students' exploration and development as theater artists. We expect our students to take intellectual and creative risks, and we respect the right of the student and the artist to experiment and to fail.  We believe that an atmosphere of generosity and inclusion best supports creative growth. The theater program welcomes all students on campus to participate in our student driven theater season. No experience is necessary, and students do not need to be earning a certificate to participate in our productions.

Course Information. Courses are open to students pursuing work in any department, whether or not the student plans to earn the certificate. Introductory courses in the program, whether at the 100, 200 or 300 level, usually have no prerequisites and fulfill the distribution requirement in Literature and the Arts (LA). Other 300 or 400 level courses require applications and/or interviews. 200 level courses have Pass/D/Fail option; selected 200 300 and 400 level courses are Pass/D/Fail only; all other courses in the program are letter graded.

Related Courses. Various departments offer courses in dramatic literature, many in English and some in foreign languages. A list of such courses may be found on the program website. Additional topics are taught in seminars whose titles change yearly. For current descriptions, see listings under the appropriate departments.


THR 101 Introduction to Theater Making Fall LA

Introduction to Theatre Making is a working laboratory, which gives students hands-on experience with theatre's fundamental building blocks - writing, design, acting, directing, and producing. Throughout the semester, students read, watch and discuss five different plays and ensemble theater works. We will analyze how these plays are constructed and investigate their social and political implications. In-class artistic responses provide hands-on exploration as students work in groups to create and rehearse six different performances inspired by our course texts. Instructed by: E. Araoz, A. Landsman

THR 201 Beginning Studies in Acting Fall/Spring LA

Designed to guide students in developing roles and exploring texts and characters. Work will begin with exercises and proceed to consideration of scenes, short sections of plays, and specific roles. Instructed by: P. Kim, G. deGannes, V. Font

THR 205 Introductory Playwriting Fall LA

A workshop on the fundamentals of writing plays. Emphasis will be on solving problems of structure, plot development, and character through various writing exercises and theater improvisations. Ongoing work of students and instructor is read and discussed. Instructed by: N. Davis

THR 206 Practice (See DAN 206)

THR 207 Yaass Queen: Gay Men, Straight Women, and the Literature, Art, and Film of Hagdom (See CWR 207)

THR 208 Body and Language (See DAN 208)

THR 209 Introduction to Movement and Dance (See DAN 209)

THR 210 Power, Structure, and the Human Body (See DAN 210)

THR 210A Storytelling with Technology for Performance (also
STC 210A
) Fall LA

Telling stories through performance is human nature, but how can we use technology to enhance, frame, or reveal new perspectives on stories told? Students will learn about tools and techniques from design professionals, and will engage directly and collaboratively with technology to design experiences focused around live performance. Areas covered may include projections and multimedia, lighting, interactivity, and programming for creative applications. This class hopes to bring together students with arts and STEM backgrounds, and does not require prior experience. Instructed by: D. Bengali, A. Lauer

THR 210B Storytelling with Technology for Performance (also
STC 210B
) Fall QCR

Telling stories through performance is human nature, but how can we use technology to enhance, frame, or reveal new perspectives on stories told? Students will learn about tools and techniques from design professionals, and will engage directly and collaboratively with technology to design experiences focused around live performance. Areas covered will include projections and multimedia, lighting, interactivity, and programming for creative applications. This class hopes to bring together students with arts and STEM backgrounds, and does not require prior experience Instructed by: D. Bengali, A. Lauer

THR 211 French Theater Workshop (See FRE 211)

THR 212 Learning Shakespeare by Doing (See COM 212)

THR 213 Introduction to Set and Costume Design (also
MTD 213
VIS 210
) Spring LA

This course introduces students to set and costume design for performance, exploring theater as a visual medium. Students will develop their ability to think about the physical environment (including clothing) as key components of story-telling and our understanding of human experience. Students will expand their vocabulary for discussing the visual world and work on their collaborative skills. We'll spend half the semester focusing on costuming and half focusing of the scenic environment, both in a practical, on your feet studio class taught by professional theater practitioners. Absolutely no experience required. Instructed by: S. Fellows, R. Hauck

THR 215 Being and Doing: Dance for Every Body (See DAN 214)

THR 216 Uncertainty (See DAN 216)

THR 218 Acting and Directing Workshop - Acting Fall LA

This course develops basic acting technique which focuses on the pursuit of objectives, given circumstances, conflict, public solitude and living truthfully under imagined circumstances. Practical skills are established through scenes performed for classroom analysis. This is a working laboratory where we will approach an acting method of identifying conflicts, defining objectives and pursuing actions. Our goal is to leave the semester with confidence in our acting technique, stronger stage presence, firmer groundedness, and a means whereby to continue working and improving. Instructed by: E. Araoz

THR 219 Drama and Performance (also
ENG 248
) Spring LA

Most playwrights never intended to have readers. Their work was meant to be experienced in the theater. This course uses both live theatrical productions and online resources to discuss interpretive issues raised by the acting, directing, and design choices made in specific productions of classic plays as well as the larger question of what the proper object of critical inquiry is for those interested in drama. The word "drama" derives from the Greek word for "action". Do we "deactivate" drama with a phrase like "dramatic literature"? Does our usual conception of "performance" falsely rely on the pre-existence of a thing to "act"? Instructed by: M. Cadden

THR 221 Performing in the Ancient World (See CLA 221)

THR 222 Stillness (See DAN 221)

THR 225 Sound Art (See VIS 225)

THR 228 Introduction to Irish Studies (See ENG 228)

THR 237 Comedy (See COM 237)

THR 242 Greek Tragedy from Ancient Athens to Ferguson (See CLA 242)

THR 275 Sex, Politics, and Religion on the Comic Stage (See ENG 284)

THR 300 Acting, Being, Doing, and Making: Introduction to Performance Studies (also
COM 359
ENG 373
ANT 359
) Not offered this year LA

The place of performance--for example, Greek tragedy, Noh drama, modern dance, opera, performance art, crossdressing--within the social, political, cultural, and religious structures it has served. Perspectives from theater and dance history, classical and contemporary theory, and ancient and modern practice. Prerequisite: fulfillment of writing requirement. Two 90-minute seminars. Instructed by: J. Dolan, S. Wolf

THR 301 Acting - Scene Study Spring LA

The preparation, rehearsal and presentation of scenes from classic and contemporary plays, from Chekhov and Ibsen to Tony Kusher and Lynn Nottage. We will use the techniques and principles found in Uta Hagen's book, Respect for Acting. Skills: understanding and activating the event of the scene; mining behavior; authentic engagement with scene partners; transformation of self. Discover the level of action and commitment needed to fulfill the life of the play. Instructed by: M. Nelson

THR 304 Classical Mythology on the Modern U.S. Stage (See CLA 305)

THR 305 Playwriting II: Intermediate Playwriting (also
CWR 309
) Spring LA

A continuation of work begun in Introductory Playwriting, focusing on the writing of a major play. Prerequisite: 205. Instructed by: M. Cruz

THR 310 Shakespeare I (See ENG 320)

THR 311 Intermediate Studies in Acting: Creating Character and Text Not offered this year LA

Creation of an original theater piece in collaboration with a guest artist, leading to a public performance. Will include improvisations, exercises, study of dramatic texts, and scene study. Special attention will be given to the creation of character, both in dramatic texts and in improvisation. Prerequisite: 201. Instructed by: Staff

THR 314 Performance in Extraordinary Times: Documenting and Analyzing the Present (See DAN 314)

THR 317 Costume Design (also
VIS 372
) Not offered this year LA

An exploration of the various aspects of costume design. Emphasis will depend to some degree on instructor's area of interest and/or student interest. Studio projects will be designed to coincide with other theater and dance courses and currently scheduled productions. Critical discussion will explore the relationship between dramatic texts and design ideas. Two three-hour seminars or studio sessions. Instructed by: A. Yavich

THR 318 Lighting Design (also
VIS 318
) Spring LA

An introduction to the art and craft of lighting design for live performance and an exploration of light as a medium for expression. Students will develop an ability to observe lighting in the world and on the stage; to learn to make lighting choices based on text, space, research, and their own responses; to practice being creative, responsive and communicative under pressure and in company; to prepare well to create under pressure using the designer's visual toolbox; and to play well with others-working creatively and communicating with directors, writers, performers, fellow designers, the crew and others. Instructed by: J. Cox

THR 321 Special Topics in Contemporary Practice (See DAN 304)

THR 322 Sondheim's Musicals and the Making of America (See AMS 317)

THR 323 The Arts of Urban Transition (See DAN 310)

THR 326 Criticism Workshop Not offered this year LA

A workshop devoted to the development of the student's critical sensibility. Through extensive in-class analysis of their own reviews of professional theater and dance productions and through the study of past and present models, students will learn what makes a good critic of the performing arts. One three-hour seminar. Instructed by: Staff

THR 328 Dance in Education: Dance/Theater Pedagogy (See DAN 316)

THR 330 Special Topics in Performance Practice (also
ENG 336
MTD 330
MUS 328
) Fall LA

A special topics course designed to build upon and/or enhance existing program courses, taking into consideration the strengths and interests of program concentrators and the availability of appropriate instructors. Topics, prerequisites, and formats will vary from year to year. Instructed by: Staff

THR 331 Special Topics in Performance History and Theory (also
COM 311
) Spring LA

Designed to provide students with an opportunity to study theater and/or dance from a historical or theoretical perspective. Topics, prerequisites, and formats will vary from year to year. Instructed by: Staff

THR 333 Latinx Musicals on Stage and Screen (See MTD 333)

THR 335 Development of the Multi-Skilled Performer (See MTD 335)

THR 341 Acting and Directing in Musical Theater (See MTD 341)

THR 345 Introduction to Musical Theater Writing (See MTD 322)

THR 346 Contemporary Opera and MusicTheater (See MUS 325)

THR 347 Gender Crossings in American Musical Theater (See GSS 337)

THR 348 American Musical Theatre: History and Practice (See MTD 348)

THR 349 How to Think With Performance: Dance and Performance Studies Theory (See DAN 349)

THR 351 Black Dramatists in the English-Speaking World (See ENG 354)

THR 352 Dramaturgy Spring LA

The dramaturg of a Theater is at the center of the theater-making process. The dramaturg reads and assesses new scripts; prepares classic plays for production; acts as an historical and literary resource for playwrights, directors, actors and designers; advises on artistic policy; writes program notes; and works with the education and publicity departments on the theater's "public face." Instructed by: M. Cadden

THR 353 21st Century Latinx Drama (also
AMS 353
GSS 417
LAO 353
) Spring SA

This course offers a practice-based overview of theater-making in the twenty-first century through an intensive study of contemporary Latinx dramatists, companies, and movements in the United States. Through weekly readings, discussions and independent research/writing exercises, the seminar will investigate the cultural, artistic, social and political interventions of twenty-first century US Latinx drama. Instructed by: B. Herrera

THR 354 Performance as Art (See VIS 354)

THR 356 The Human Comedy of Anton Chekhov Off and On Stage (In English Translation) (See SLA 357)

THR 357 Are You For Sale? Performance Making, Philanthropy and Ethics (See DAN 357)

THR 358 Queer Boyhoods (See GSS 316)

THR 364 Modern Drama I (See ENG 364)

THR 368 Jewish Identity and Performance in the US (See ENG 410)

THR 372 Contemporary Drama (See ENG 372)

THR 373 Gender, Sexuality, and Contemporary U.S. Theatre and Performance (See GSS 363)

THR 376 Curious Aesthetics: Twentieth-Century American Musical Theatre (See ENG 376)

THR 380 World Drama (See ENG 380)

THR 382 International Theatre: Plays and Politics (See ENG 382)

THR 385 Theater and Society Now (also
AMS 385
GSS 385
LAO 385
) Fall SA

As an art form, theater operates in the shared space and time of the present moment while also manifesting imagined worlds untethered by the limits of "real" life. In this course, we undertake a critical, creative and historical survey of the ways contemporary theater-making in the United States - as both industry and creative practice - does (and does not) engage the most urgent concerns of contemporary American society. Instructed by: B. Herrera

THR 389 Producing Theater: French Festivals Today (See FRE 389)

THR 400 Theatrical Design Studio (also
VIS 400
) Fall LA

This course is designed to endow students with the conceptual and practical skills to design productions in the theater program, or to direct a production with design elements, and to support students in making technical decisions, as well as in collaborating with the rest of the creative team and the technical staff. The course will combine an exploration of visual storytelling and creative collaboration with a grounding in the practical and communicative skills necessary to create the physical world of a production. This course is also appropriate for directors and writers interested in working with design on a departmental production. Instructed by: J. Cox, S. Fellows, L. Moten

THR 401 Advanced Studies in Acting: Scene Study and Style Spring LA

Questions of historical style, poetic stage language, and various methods of contemporary nonrealistic acting. Prerequisite: Previous acting class. Instructed by: Staff

THR 402 Theater Making Studio (also
MTD 402
) Fall LA

This junior seminar explores theories and practices in contemporary theater making in preparation for senior independent work. The seminar aims to create a collaborative cohort of committed theater students. The class will examine questions such as: what are the differences between process and product, what is collaboration, where does the audience fit in to the creative journey. The course will incorporate practical exercises, seminar discussions and visits to rehearsals and performances at Classic Stage Company in New York City. Instructed by: J. Doyle, J. Cox

THR 403 Special Topics in Advanced Acting Spring LA

In a working classroom, we will discern what is funny to a modern audience. We will analyze where the sense of humor lies in a script and practice the physical and linguistic techniques used in clowning, Commedia dell'arte, slapstick, farce, satire, dark comedy, absurdism, comedy of manners, and naturalism. We will free ourselves of inhibition and approach comedy with joy, inventiveness and abandon. Observing live performance from around the globe through digital media, script reading and attending live performance, we will question whether types of humor translate between cultures. Projects will include scene work, monologues or songs. Instructed by: E. Araoz

THR 404 Advanced Seminar in American Studies (See AMS 404)

THR 405 Creative Intellect (also
MTD 405
) Spring LA

Creative Intellect is a collaborative workshop course designed to bridge the critical and creative dimensions of performance research. Students will lead the development of performance research projects, compose a written report documenting the development of these projects, and devise and produce a public event that engages observers in the principles and methods guiding the work. This course cultivates a rigorous ethic of practice wherein the theater-maker participates fully and creatively in documenting their own performance work and in commenting critically on that work. Instructed by: B. Herrera, E. Araoz, V. di Mura

THR 408 Seminar in Italian Literature and Culture (See ITA 401)

THR 410 Topics in Drama (See ENG 409)

THR 411 Directing Workshop Not offered this year LA

Special directing assignments will be made for each student, whose work will be analyzed by the instructor and other members of the workshop. Students will be aided in their preparations by the instructor; they will also study the spectrum of responsibilities and forms of research involved in directing plays of different styles. Prerequisite: Introductory acting, writing or design class. Instructed by: E. Araoz

THR 418 Acting and Directing Workshop - Directing Fall LA

Directing assignments will be created for each student, who will work with the actors in the class and whose work will be analyzed by the instructor and other members of the workshop. Students will be aided in their preparations by the instructor; they will also study script analysis and formulation of a director's point of view, staging and visual storytelling, the musicality of language, collaboration and rehearsal techniques, productive methods of critique, and the spectrum of responsibilities and forms of research involved in directing plays of different styles. Instructed by: E. Araoz

THR 447 Advanced Seminar in American Studies (See AMS 406)

THR 448 Early Modern Amsterdam: Tolerant Eminence and the Arts (See ENG 448)

THR 451 Theater Rehearsal and Performance (also
MTD 451
) Fall/Spring LA

This course provides students with a rigorous and challenging experience of creating theater under near-professional circumstances, working with a professional director. It involves an extensive rehearsal period and a concentrated tech week, often requiring more time and focus than a typical student-produced production might. For the first time, students cast in the show, or those who take on major production roles (such as Stage Manager, Designer, Script Supervisor or Assistant Director), will receive course credit. Instructed by: Staff

THR 494 Princeton Atelier (See ATL 494)

THR 498 Princeton Atelier (See ATL 498)

THR 499 Princeton Atelier (See ATL 499)