“A great liberal arts education is the best possible training for a life in the theater. A class in theater is a wonderful training for life.”

— Jane Cox

The purpose of the Program in Theater is to engage Princeton students of all kinds in the making of theater, through practical studio classes, and through our student driven theater season; as well as to familiarize students with the role that theater has played, and continues to play, in different cultures, including our own.


All Princeton students are welcome to immerse themselves in the creative process through a course in theater. We teach acting, directing, design, playwriting, community engagement, dramaturgy, performance history and criticism in small group classes averaging ten students. Our faculty includes world class artists, critics and scholars, and we actively encourage students with little or no theatrical experience or knowledge to join us. Over a hundred students take a hands on studio class in theater each semester. Each year about twenty-five committed students take a certificate in theater, working individually with faculty members and working artists on their own independent creative work.

Most of our productions are proposed by certificate students, and directed by faculty members, visiting artists and students. These productions offer Princeton students the opportunity to write, direct, act, design, stage manage and crew shows with their fellow students, under the guidance of visiting artists and our professional faculty and staff. We present these productions in the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Theatre at the McCarter Theatre Center, and in the on-campus Marie and Edward Matthews ‘53 Acting Studio, as well as in other traditional and nontraditional venues on campus. Our spring show offers a larger group of students a chance to work on the staging of a classic or contemporary play or musical, led by a professional director and design team, in the context of a class taken for credit.

In addition to our faculty, our program staff includes a full range of talented theatrical craftspeople, working in scenery, costumes, lighting and stage management. Our theater classes offer trips to New York to see a wide range of performances and sometimes to meet the artists. The McCarter Theater, one of the most active cultural centers in the nation, is on the Princeton campus, and offers over two hundred performances of theater, dance and music every year. Exciting theater artists and scholars visit campus many times each year, and our vibrant student theater community participates in multiple extracurricular theater companies as well as in our departmental productions.

2017 PIIRS Global Seminars

Athens, Greece: June 10 – July 22, 2017

Study and perform Greek drama in the city where it was originally conceived and performed. You will explore theater from years ago, while stretching yourself artistically, regardless of your acting experience.

This course, led by Michael Cadden, explores the drama of ancient Athens through reading, performance and observation. In a workshop setting, students will confront the interpretative and performative challenges and opportunities the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes offer, culminating in a performance of student-generated scenes. The seminar coincides with the famed Athens and Epidaurus Festival, which invites companies from around the world, as well as the leading theater artists of Greece, to present classic and contemporary material in the places where theater began. Students will attend many of these performances as well as participate in workshops and conversations with actors, directors and designers. The seminar also investigates the connection between the ancient world and Greece’s complex multicultural present through trips to ancient sites as well as to the streets, churches and theaters of the modern city. In addition to coursework, the seminar features a community service component and daily classes in conversational Greek. Learn more



For more information about the Program in Theater, please contact Joe Fonseca, Program Associate, at 609-258-7810 or, or consult a directory of program staff.