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Theatre

B.A.

single-paper-background Theatre 2022 hero collage

The Hollins theatre department is a creative community, and we embrace this identity in the classroom, the rehearsal hall, the scene shop, and on stage. We engage in the development of theatre artists, thinkers, and leaders looking to change the future of American theatre. Hollins theatre students actively help to shape departmental vision, policies, and programming, and are encouraged to create student-generated work that expresses their personal creative vision.

Core Values
Community, collaboration, and creative exploration are our core values.

Mission
Our mission is to tell stories that reflect the intersectional identities of our students and support the development of original student work.

Vision
To develop holistic theatre makers who approach the creation of theatre from an interdisciplinary, collaborative, and creatively courageous perspective.

Theatre Major

Hollins theatre department is a diverse theatre community developing holistic theatre-makers from an interdisciplinary, collaborative, and creative curious perspective. Theatre major students at Hollins take part in every aspect of theatre production, including acting, arts management, design, directing, playwriting, stage management, and technical production. With a focus on the development of holistic artist/scholars, the program encourages students to learn through theory and applied practice in production.

All senior theatre majors participate in a collaborative senior project by creating a theatre company and producing work that embodies the core values and aesthetic of the students involved. Senior projects regularly include the development and production of original student work.

Theatre Minor

The minor is compatible with many other majors. These include business, communication studies, dance, English, film, history, and philosophy.

Certificate Programs

Musical Theatre Performance Certificate

Musical theatre is one of the most exhilarating art forms on the planet. The unique combination of acting, singing, and dancing allows performing artists to carry audiences to extraordinary heights. At Hollins, the musical theatre performance certificate offers a toolbox for the student who knows musical theatre will somehow be part of her future, as she prepares to walk into the spotlight on a stage she has built with her own tools.

Certificate in Arts Management

This certificate in arts management connects your major in one of the arts with career interests in various fields of arts management. You’ll take courses in business and communication studies, complete two internships in an area of arts management, and create a final project. You can meet the certificate in arts management requirements through prudent choices in your general education courses and electives without adding to your total credit hours. Contact us today to begin the process of earning your certificate in arts management.

Facilities

Our charming 550-seat proscenium theatre is remarkably intimate with an automated rigging system and industry-standard light and audio equipment.

We also have a 99-seat black box theatre that serves as an acting studio and workshop space, as well as fully-functioning scenery and costume shops.

Original Student Work

Hollins theatre department encourages the creation and development of original student work both in playwriting and design.

student work

The department regularly develops and/or produces original student plays. The developmental process takes students from first draft to a public reading or workshop production. These readings/workshops also create opportunities for our student designers.

student work

Our collaborative relationship with our graduate playwriting program allows our students to learn and grow as playwrights and dramaturgs through J-term and summer internships. In fact, the director of our graduate program teaches our script analysis and playwriting classes!

student work

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Bumble's Big Adventure

Hollins theatre students have the opportunity to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and experience the largest international art festival in the world! In the summer of 2023, two original senior thesis plays were performed at the festival, giving our students the chance to learn self-marketing and what it means to adjust expectations when touring a show. In addition, students attended performances by theatre companies from around the world and participated in museum tours, open mics, and even a proper Scottish High Tea.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Undergraduate Theatre Research

Hollins theatre majors are invited to participate in undergraduate theatre research, in the classroom, at conferences, and as participants in the Summer Research Symposium at Virginia Tech. Past research topics have included:

Virginia Tech summer research

“Queering Intimacy: Reimagining Staged Intimacy Practices for Transgender, Gender Non-conforming, and Nonbinary Bodies” by Mattie Tindall

“‘To speak and to thrive and to live’ or, The Jupiter Bird: the Body, the World Not Quite Here, and Theatre as Movement Towards Queer Utopia” by Deirdre Price

“Sustainability in Theatre: Pathways to More Sustainable Educational Theatrical Practices” by Chloe Riederich

“One-Woman Shows: A Statement About Womanhood” by Clare Dorothea Stephenson

“Theatre for All” (a study of accommodations for disabled and neurodivergent individuals in theater) by Lillian Savage

Current honors thesis research topics include explorations of organizational behavior in theatre, staging trans trauma, sci-fi stories on stage, approaches to accessibility in theatre, and studies of the South African Theater of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Upcoming Events

Elliot Peterson (she/they) graduated from Hollins in 2016. They spent a summer at Heritage Theatre Festival, two lighting apprenticeships (one at Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Florida, and another at Olney Theatre Center in Maryland). Elliot has since been the master electrician for the pre-Broadway run of the Tony-award winning musical A Strange Loop, and is now working full time as the lighting supervisor at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.

Elliot Peterson

Tatiana Durant is a non-binary, queer theatre artist and activist. Since graduating from Hollins, they have been working with the St. Louis Black Repertory Company as a first year technical theatre and teaching fellow. The Black Rep is dedicated to providing a platform for creative expressions from the African American perspective that heightens the social and cultural understanding of audiences.

Tatiana Durant

Professional Development

At Hollins, you will be encouraged to practice your craft outside of the department through professional internships, participation in undergraduate research, attending and presenting at theatre conferences, performance opportunities at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and internships with our Playwright’s Lab Graduate Program.

Conferences
Hollins theatre majors have the opportunity to attend the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) annually where they participate in panel presentations in collaboration with faculty, portfolio reviews, professional auditions, workshop, and SETC’s job fair. Students are also encouraged to submit to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) for the opportunity to attend both the regional and national festival with the potential to receive awards and scholarships.

Hollins Theatre Internships

Hollins Theatre encourages students to participate in professional internships to help build their skills and creative networks prior to graduation. Past internships include:

  • Dixon Place, New York City
  • The National Theatre, Washington, D.C.
  • The Glimmerglass Festival, Cooperstown, NY
  • Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre, Winchester, VA
  • Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke
  • Hollins Playwright’s Lab, Roanoke
  • Ursula’s Café, Roanoke

Students also have the option of interning at one of several professional theatres in London during a Hollins’ London Theatre Semester Abroad.

Student Work

Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF)

Every year, we actively participate in KCACTF. In recent years we’ve had three productions selected to be showcased at the regional festival and compete for the top honors at the national level as well as multiple original scripts. Our students compete regularly with some of the finest college talent in the country for the Irene Ryan Scholarship Award.

Some of the many past honors received by the Hollins Theatre Institute include:

  • 2022: Two students won awards from KCACTF-Region IV for their work on The Skriker in Fall 2021. Elizabeth Dion ’22 received the Stage Management Fellowship Award and Nabila Meghjani ’22 won the Heart of the Art Award in Costume Design.
  • 2021: Anna Johnson ’21 received the Kennedy Center Award for Excellence in Sound Design for her work on Hollins Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which was presented virtually in October 2020.
  • 2018: Todd Ristau and the Playwright’s Lab received the Kennedy Center’s highest award, the Gold Medallion, for “extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre.”
  • 2013: Meredith Levy ’12 (M.F.A. ’18, playwriting) received the National Partners of the American Theatre Playwriting Award (considered a gold medal) and the regional David Shelton Award for her original script, Decision Height.
  • 2013: The Kennedy Center awarded the Hollins Theatre production of Natasha Trethewey’s (M.A. ’91) Bellocq’s Ophelia with the equivalent of four silver medals for production of a new work, performance and production ensemble, scenic design, and choreography, the last by Lexi Martin Mondot ’12.
  • Theatre department chair Ernie Zulia (retired 2021) was named outstanding teaching artist by KCACTF.

Hollins Playwright’s Lab and No Shame Theatre

Hollins Theatre provides a home for the Playwright’s Lab, our dynamic M.F.A. graduate program in playwriting, and undergraduates have the opportunity to work with our renowned faculty to explore playwriting at the undergraduate level, and can pursue a concentration in this area. 

24 Hour plays
24-Hour Plays, 2019

Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC)

Every March, students from Hollins accompany faculty to SETC, which is the largest theatre conference in the nation. Students are able to participate in diverse workshops as well as audition and interview for summer theatre employment.

Guest Artists and Instructors

2023-24

Tatiana Alexis

Cultural Dramaturg for Senior Thesis

Tatiana Alexis

Tatiana Alexis (They/Them) is a Black, Queer interdisciplinary theatre artist, writer, and political activist from Appalachia by way of Virginia. They have a Bachelor’ of Arts in Theatre from Hollins University (2021) and are currently an MFA Playwriting Candidate with the Hollins Playwrights Lab. In 2021 – 2022 they were a Technical Theatre Fellow for the St. Louis Black Repertory’s 45th Season where they received stage management credits for The Black Rep’s productions of Sweat (Lynn Nottage), FIREFLIES (Donja R. Love), and Jitney (August Wilson). Currently they split their time between Brooklyn, NY where they focus on liberatory activism and Afton, NY where they are building a permaculture and intentional community-based homestead.


Karin Hendricks

Guest Artist

Karin Hendricks

Professor Karin Hendricks is an Assistant Professor of Acting and Performance at the Theatre and Dance Department, teaching courses in Acting, Voice and Diction, Dialect, Musical Theatre, Introduction to Theatre, and Community-based Verbatim Theatre. She holds a MFA in Acting from the University of California, Irvine and her BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Arizona. She works in professional theatre as an actor, director, and dialect coach. She served as a Resident Artist and Head of Movement Curriculum at PCPA (The Pacific Conservatory Theatre) for 9 years where she trained and directed young actors. There, she co-founded an ongoing Verbatim Community Based Theatre project- Community Speaks!, which has been performed annually with PCPA since it’s 2009 inception. She continues to serve as head playwright for the project. Prof. Hendricks holds a certification in Eli Simon’s Clown technique. After completing a mentorship with Simon, she has instructed his clowning approach for 9 years during which she devised and directed 14 original clown shows. She was also mentored by Annie Loui, the founder of Loui Movement Technique (LMT). Prof. Hendricks is a proud member of StateraArts and is a Regional Coordinator for the Central Coast chapter of their mentorship program.


Erica Evans Johnson

Choreographer for Goodnight Moon and Visiting Lecturer

Erica Evans Johnson

Erica Evans Johnson is a two time Jeff-nominated performer who has appeared at theatres such as Drury Lane, Paramount, Marriott, Chicago Shakespeare, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Can Can Seattle, and The Ordway. While performing throughout the country, she has had the immense pleasure of teaching theatre and dance at universities, dance academies, and theatre conservatories. Erica enjoys bringing her passion and knowledge into any classroom at any level and strongly believes in making dance accessible by establishing a fun, welcoming atmosphere for all. In her spare time, Erica serves as a facilitator for Chicago’s A.B.L.E. Ensemble, a program devoted to bringing the performing arts to individuals with Down syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. Virginia based since 2022, Erica is happily settled near family and thrilled to begin collaborating with the students at Hollins.


Moneé Stamp

Lighting Designer for Goodnight Moon and Visiting Lecturer

Monee Stamp

Moneé Stamp (Lighting Designer) is a 2nd generation Caribbean immigrant born and raised in Long Island, New York. She received her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and her MFA from Ohio University. Moneé is an established, award-winning Lighting Designer with a keen eye for detail and a passion for transforming spaces through light. She states, the ability to tell unique stories through design is an example of how Theatre is a medium to express oneself. It has the power to make people laugh or cry, learn new things, empathize or sympathize and to encourage people to think about life. Recently, she designed The Black That I am (Braata Productions), The Amen Corner, (The Lovinger Theatre), and 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, (Epic Players NYC).


Bentley Heydt

Professional Lighting Designer

Bentley Heydt

Heydt (he/him) is an NYC-based Asian American, disabled lighting designer for musical theatre, theatre, dance, opera, and live events whose work has been seen in New York City, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He is a member of the 2021 Great Plains Theatre Conference design wing cohort. Last year, Heydt was the lighting designer for Hollins Theatre’s presentations of The Skriker and All the Natalie Portmans and the dance department’s group shows and concertsHe will be designing lights for both the theatre main stage and the dance program again this year.


Edward B. Smith

Guest Artist and Audition Coach

Edward B. Smith

Smith (he/him) has always approached his work in arts organizations with an eye to developing strategies to eradicate oppressive practices within the work. As an artist of color, he recognizes the power of experiencing one’s own history and world view manifest on stage and within administrative practices, as well as furthering connections to the stories of others. Smith holds a B.F.A. in performance and an M.F.A. in leadership/administration from Ohio University. For the last 10 years, he has been a mainstay in the acting company at the Stratford Festival of Canada, the largest Repertory Theatre company in North America.


Breana Venablé

Senior Thesis Mentor

Breana Venable

Venablé (she/her) received her M.F.A. playwriting from Hollins. Her latest play The Abundance of the Heart premiered at New Perspective Theatre Company’s Women’s Work Short Play Festival in NYC. She was a 2021 recipient of the Artist Support Grant from the NC Arts & Science Council to begin research and development of her feature film Know Justice Know Peace and a 2022 Creative Renewal Fellowship finalist, which allows her to go on an experimental journey of exploring multiple artistic mediums of storytelling to usher creative expression, spiritual and sensual reclamation, and ancestral healing while dismantling white supremacy and capitalism through theatre.

Theatre Season

2024-25

Spring 2024

CONSTELLATIONS by Nick Payne

Constellations

A Student Thesis Production 

Directed by Elizabeth McDonald

  • When: February 23 at 7:30pm, February 24 at 2pm & 7:30pm
  • Where: Hollins Theatre Main Stage
  • What: This spellbinding, romantic journey begins with a simple encounter between a man and a woman. But what happens next defies the boundaries of the world we think we know—delving into the infinite possibilities of their relationship and raising questions about the difference between choice and destiny.
  • Content Warnings: Domestic abuse, mature/sexual language, intimacy (kissing), fatal illness, assisted suicide.
  • Admission: Hollins students, faculty, and staff get in free. Tickets are available at the door. For anyone interested in bringing a guest, general admission is $5. For general admission, please go to https://our.show/hollinsconstellations to reserve your seats!
  • We look forward to seeing you under the stars! 

A Student Thesis Staged Reading 

Directed by Faolan Timm ’25

  • When: March 7 and 9 at 7:30pm
  • Where: Hollins Theatre Main Stage
  • What: Never stop dreaming about the potential future. When Olive decides to leave their family, they sneak onto a ship to exit from the port. However, they soon realize they have entered Captain Alexander’s ship, a captain feared throughout all the galaxies. The two are wary of one another until a spark connects them. Intertwining their hearts and destinies. This is the story of a captain and a scholar who embark on a journey of trial and tribulations. While they find compassion and empathy, they find a family – together.
  • Content Warnings: None.
  • Admission: Free and open to the public, General admission. No tickets or prior reservations necessary. To livestream, please email stropegm1@hollins.edu for the link.


A Student Thesis Staged Reading

  • When: March 8 at 7:30pm and March 9 at 2pm
  • Where: Hollins Theatre Main Stage
  • What: Hunger will drive you wild. Joan Faucher is a first-year ballet student who wants more than anything to impress her professor and learn everything she can. She soon discovers that her struggles in the studio are due to a progressive and disabling disease that could get in the way of her dreams. In an effort to save herself and her future, she makes a choice that changes the course of her life forever. Told through dance, music, and memory, CORPS (a canniballet in two acts) asks how far you would go to be the best.
  • Content Warnings: Violence, cannibalism, transphobia, traumatic injury and hospitalization, references to human trafficking, and cult behavior.
  • Admission: Free and open to the public. General admission. No tickets or prior reservations necessary. To livestream, please email stropegm1@hollins.edu for the link.


A Student Thesis Production

  • When: April 11, 12, and 13 at 7:30pm
  • Where: Hollins Theatre Main Stage
  • What: Beautiful Noise is a story about two Black women on a journey of self-reclamation. As a piece that reflects the experiences of Black women in America, particularly through the lenses of the patriarchy, racism, and misogyny, we hope that you as our audience can take away your truth and reclaim your power. 
  • Content Warnings: Sexual content, sexism/misogyny, partial nudity, and marijuana use.
  • Admission: Free and open to the public. General admission. No tickets or prior reservations necessary. 

A Student Thesis Production

  • When: April 20 at 1 and 2:15 pm
  • Where: Begins on the steps of the Hollins University Theatre
  • What: Today we answer the call. The Call of the Ancestors. Guided by the ancestors, the enslaved of Hollins University move through the campus once more to tell their stories and that of the generations that follow.
  • Content Warnings: May be emotionally disturbing/taxing. Depictions of slavery and racial prejudice. Violence. Mentions of genocide.
  • Admission: Free and open to the public. Limit of 30 people per tour. Please email stropegm1@hollins.edu to reserve a ticket. There will be a talkback immediately following the 2:15 pm tour. ASL interpretation and mobility accommodations available upon request. The first 10 people to arrive at each tour will receive signed copies of From Whence Cometh My Help by Ethel Morgan Smith.