photo of books and ticket stubs and floor tape on stage floor


In the Reed theatre department, theatre and performance are the lenses through which students investigate global and local cultural values, social and religious practices, gender roles, race relationships, political debates, and history. All theatre majors are involved—both onstage and backstage—in making department productions, and majors are required to take classes in theatre history, directing, acting, and design. The department offers additional coursework in dramaturgy, technical theatre, playwriting, performance studies, gender and theatre, race and performance, and translation and adaptation.

Theatre is inherently interdisciplinary and synthesizes ideas from all areas of human inquiry. The department offers a minor as well as several interdisciplinary programs, including one combining theatre and literature, and regularly has students engage in ad hoc interdisciplinary majors in partnership with other departments.

Most theatre classes, and all productions, are open to majors and non-majors. Each year, over 150 students from across campus are involved in department productions—as stitchers in the costume shop, stage managers, and performers. Reed’s Independent Performance Project invites students from across the college to collaborate on making and presenting new work.

The department collaborates with the Portland theatre community—including Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, Profile Theatre, and CoHo Theatre—and regularly welcomes guest artists and scholars to present work, give talks, and offer workshops. Recent guests have included Bread and Puppet Theater, Cornerstone Theater, Larissa FastHorse, Daniel Alexander Jones, Pepper Pepper, Anthony Hudson, Sylvan Oswald, Brian Herrera, madison moore, Michael Rohd, Lue Douthit, Universes, Meredith Monk, Anne Bogart, Philip Kan Gotanda, and Tim Miller.

“The Reed theatre department cares deeply about our development as artists, scholars, and human beings in the world. The wide- reaching and rigorous program taught me not just the art, craft, and study of theatre; it also explored fundamental human skills, everything from collaboration and communication to self-exploration and advocacy.”THALIA WOLFF ’22

Professor profile

Professor Catherine Ming T’ien Duffly

Contemporary American Theatre & Performance Theory
photo of a student in a winged costume for a play

Professor Catherine (Kate) Ming T’ien Duffly’s teaching and research interests include acting, directing, socially engaged and community-based theatre, twentieth and twenty-first century American theatre, race theory, performance, and feminist performance.

Kate’s writing on topics such as community based performance and race in performance has appeared in Theatre Journal, Theatre Annual, and TDR/The Drama Review. She has collaborated on projects with Cornerstone Theater, Touchable Stories, Lunatique Fantastique, and Wise Fool Community Arts. Kate currently sits on the board of Portland’s CoHo Theatre, a community-driven organization with a model of theatrical co- production. She is also the president of the board for Theatre Diaspora, Oregon’s Asian American/Pacific Islander theatre company.

Download Theatre Flyer as a PDF

Performing Arts Building

Reed’s Performing Arts Building attests to the collaborative nature of the creative disciplines at Reed. The building houses the music, dance, and theatre departments and includes rehearsal and performance spaces, scene and costume studios, collaborative spaces, and a multimedia lab. Performances are staged in either the 99-seat Blackbox Theatre or the 180-seat Diver Studio Theatre.

Reed Theatre Productions

  • The People’s Republic of Valerie (Kosmas)
  • Fefu and Her Friends (Fornes)
  • Rhinoceros (Ionesco)
  • One Flea Spare (Wallace)
  • Marisol (Rivera)
  • Citizen (Rankine, adapt. Sachs)
  • Eurydice (Ruhl)
  • Paris Commune (Cosson and Friedman)
  • Our Town (Wilder)
  • The Glass Menagerie (Williams)
  • Antigone (Anouilh)

Recent Senior Thesis Titles

“Designing in Motion: Dreaming Towards an Anticapitalist Scenic Design Practice”
Ara Manoogian ’22

“Rehearsing Reality: An Investigation Into Split Discs, Cell Migration, and the Power of Forum Theatre”
Eva Licht ’21 (theatre/biology)

“Our Beds Are Islands: Creating Queer Intimacy Through Physical Theatre in The Age of Streaming Media”
Saga Darnell ’20 (theatre/dance)

“Home: An Argument for Radical Intimacy Through Food, Installation, and Performance”
Juliana Cable ’19 (theatre/art)

“The Song Cycle: An Argument for an Interdisciplinary, Evocative, and Postdramatic Theatre”
Ryan Gamblin ’19

What Do Alumni Do?

Company Management Apprentice
Portland Stage, Maine
Thalia Wolff ’22

Rhizome Theater Co.
Ashlin Hatch ’17

Isobel Bradbury ’15

Literary Manager
O’Neill Theater Center
Helena Pennington ’15

Artistic Director
International Shakespeare Center
Santa Fe
Ariana Karp ’11

Artistic Director
Faultline Ensemble
Taiga Christie ’10

Associate Professor of Theatre
Swarthmore College
Elizabeth Stevens ’93

Anne Washburn ’91