“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.

Learn more about Program in Theater faculty, news, events, & courses.



“We’ll build our house,
And chop our wood,
And make our garden grow.”

Watch Heartbeat Opera‘s virtual performance of “Make Our Garden Grow,” from CANDIDE, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Richard Wilbur. Featuring Program in Theater lecturers Ethan Heard and Stanley Bahorek, along with theater and dance alum Eamon Foley ’15, among others (see full credits list on YouTube).


Throughout the spring 2018 semester, theater lecturer Fintan O’Toole and 14 students explored what art could tell them about society’s attitudes toward mortality in the course “Playing Dead: Corpses in Theater and Cinema.”

Read the feature story by Nick Donnoli on the Princeton University homepage »


Theater & Music Theater Highlights 2018-2019 from Lewis Center for the Arts on Vimeo.



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.

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