The Theater Department embraces a broad definition of theater, and considers the critical and creative study of the stage to be essential components of a liberal arts education. Courses and productions reflect the interdisciplinary interests of our faculty and majors. The Department's diverse faculty conducts research and creative endeavors in every continent. Recent Visiting Artists include Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegria Hudes, and Doris Duke Artist Rinde Eckert.
English Professor and pioneer American designer Ralph Pendleton created Wesleyan's Theater program in the mid 1930s. Mr. Pendleton served as the department's first chair until his retirement in 1974 and was an important contributor to the opening of the Center for the Arts complex. The Center for the Arts Theater and the Patricelli '92 Theater host department productions directed by faculty, visiting artists, and students. Site-specific performances take place across campus.
Ultimately, Wesleyan's Theater Department aims at preparing the next generation of artists and scholars. Our alumni are notably active in the professional métier: they appear on international and and national stages, on and off Broadway, and many are the recipients of prestigious awards: "Bessie" Award designers Chloe Brown and Roderk Murray, Emmy Award recipients Dana Delany and Bradley Whitford, Tony Award winners Frank Wood and Lin-Manuel Miranda, are just a few examples. Several joined renowned American companies, while others are the founding members of cutting-edge collaborative ensembles, acclaimed solo performers, and community activists. Theater alumni hold graduate degrees in acting, arts management, design, directing, performance studies, and theater research from the nation's most reputable programs.