Hampshire theatre is a process-oriented program that demands strong initiative and motivation from each student.

The Theatre Program centers on active participation and production from the first year of study onward, rather than limiting it to third and fourth year students. Applied theatre practices are equally important in the theatre program; therefore, community engaged learning is an integral part of the learning process. 

Collaboration is strongly emphasized, and students from other concentrations are welcome to participate in productions. Theatre concentrators are responsible for all facets of the production process at Hampshire, from play selection to strike.

Yearly, Theatre Board (the program’s student-run governance body) produces a season of shows, play festivals, and dozens of student workshops.

In addition to these performance opportunities, students can choose to participate in a variety of production-oriented classes both at Hampshire and with the other four members of the Five College consortium.

Student Project Titles

  • Understanding Violence: Studying Titus Andronicus on the Page and in Performance
  • Aesthetic Awesomeness: An Exploration in Designing Sets and Lights in a Theatrical and Installation Context
  • The Fashions of Imaginary People: Creating Culture Through Costume
  • The Typewriter and the Bank Account: A Div III in Playwriting and Arts Management
  • Imagination: The Art of Creating Situations and Story via Theatre and Moving Image
  • Making Fantasy Fit: Theatre and Creative Writing For Children
  • Slim to None: Raising Awareness of Eating Disorders Through Theatre
  • Immersive, Design-Driven Performance
  • Dressed for Work: Garment Vignettes on the Lower East Side
  • Just a Moment, Please: Collaboration, Convergence and Interactivity in Performance and Digital Art
  • Bursting the Bubble: Stories from the Working-Class
  • Dialoguing on whiteness and racism: a unique example emphasizing creativity and compassion
  • Drama Therapy for Child Survivors of Trauma and Children on the Autism Spectrum
  • Integrating Creative Drama in Education for Children with Behavioral Health and/or Psychological Needs
  • Performing Empowerment: Creative Pedagogical Practices for Liberatory Education

Sample First-Year Course

Where are the Dressing Rooms?

Exploring Spaces for Performance: Designers, choreographers, and performers frequently face a traditional empty space or, as is often the case, face a nontraditional space and then question how to "fill" or design within it. What elements help create the functionality and appropriateness of a performance space? We will explore a variety of spaces, western, non-western, traditional, non-traditional, and the "performers" who use or have used them.

We will then focus on design elements such as scenery, lighting and costumes, and examine the many ways these elements serve the text and/or vision of a performance piece within these spaces.

Sample Courses at Hampshire

  • Advanced Studies in Theatre Design
  • Designing with Light
  • Directing Contemporary American Drama
  • Documentary Drama
  • Classroom Drama: Theatre Education K-12
  • Lightworks
  • Little Course of Horrors: the Psychology of Terror and Humor in Theatre
  • Opening the Instrument
  • Playwriting
  • Race, Empire, and the Renaissance Stage
  • Everyone’s a Critic
  • Setting the Stage for Social Action
  • Staging Original Drama
  • Storytelling as Performance: Voice, Body, Narrative
  • Theatre of the Oppressed
  • Take the Show on the Road
  • Where Are the Dressing Rooms?
  • Exploring Performance Space
  • Word Play
  • Writing a Child’s Voice for Theatre
  • Projection Design for the Theatre

Through the Consortium

  • Brecht in America (MHC)
  • Chekhov and His Theatre (AC)
  • Contemporary Canadian Drama (SC)
  • Costume Design I and II (SC)
  • Directing I and II (SC)
  • Performance in Detonated Language (UMass)
  • Sound Design I (AC)
  • Stage Movement (UMass)
  • Stage Management (Umass)

Facilities and Resources

Hampshire’s two black-box theaters are managed by the annually-elected student Theatre Board, which schedules shows and workshops, oversees all aspects of production, and allocates funding.

The Mainstage and Studio theatres are versatile performance spaces with significant lighting and sound capabilities, costume and scene shops, and dressing rooms. Our stock collections of props, costumes, and set pieces are augmented by the open borrowing system among the Five College theatre departments.

Five College Theatre Program
The Five College Theatre Program offers a multitude of theatre resources to Hampshire students. Four proscenium stages are supplemented by eight studio/black box theatres, where approximately thirty-five shows are produced each year. Students are welcome to audition for shows at other schools. About forty theatre faculty members, including several professional visiting artists, offer more than one hundred classes relating to theatre each year. Course offerings, special guest artists, and all auditions are published in a Five College Theatre Newsletter, which is available to all students on the five campuses.

Five College Multicultural Theater Committee
The Five College Multicultural Theater Committee is charged with furthering a multicultural perspective in theater. It does so by supporting productions, visits from guest artists, and workshops that promote an appreciation of diversity and difference. It also sponsers WORD!, an annual student play-reading festival featuring ten student writers from the Consortium who are engaging multicultural themes.