Saint Michael's Theatre

As a theatre major at Saint Michael's, you may build sets, make costumes, create scenery and props, design work with lighting and sound, act in a variety of productions, and experience stage management. You'll also have a chance to write and direct shows. Faculty members are active theatre professionals who also teach your academic courses about the literature and theory of theatre.

Beyond all that, we are one of the few colleges in the country to own and operate a professional theatre on our campus where undergraduates can be hired to perform and work in all aspects of theatre. We have students and graduates working in many professional theatres, locally and nationally. We continue to maintain contact with our recent alums as they make their way into the job market. Some have found their way into graduate programs or starter careers in the performing arts.

In theatre as with every major within the Fine Arts Department, the primary mode of study is the practice of Art, involving theoretical, historical, aesthetic and technical elements.

Here are some titles of courses you'll take for the major:

  • Life in the Theatre
  • Stagecrafts
  • Costume Crafts
  • Production Practicum: Stage Management
  • Western Theatre History from Aeschylus to Zannis
  • Moliere to Modern Drama
  • Modern and Contemporary Theatre
  • Directing I and Senior Seminar in Theatre

You'll also take Introduction to Acting or Acting Techniques and choose among lab courses for backstage specialties – scenery, lighting, costumes, run crew.

The St. Mike's theatre program makes its home in the McCarthy Arts Center, which houses a theatre, a recital hall, an art gallery, rehearsal spaces, classrooms, and faculty offices. The theatre, an intimate but broad house which seats 360, boasts a proscenium stage complete with hydraulic lift, trap room, substantial wing and fly space, and state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment. Costume and scenery studios are located in the building and storage facilities are convenient to the theatre.

The department sponsors two faculty-directed Mainstage productions, a second stage series, and an ongoing improvisation group, Rough Edges, in addition to mentoring student projects through classes and independent studies. All students are given an opportunity to direct, design, perform in, manage, research and respond to theatre in production and performance.

Activities, courses and productions are often initiated from student interest and ability. Students have written, directed and designed for the Mainstage production season. Our Drama Club actively funds workshops with professional artists, sponsors trips to New York to see professional theatre, and produces plays and musical theatre concerts over the course of a year.

Students have the opportunity to take responsibility for construction and creation of all aspects of departmental shows from building sets and costumes to stage management, design and direction.

In addition to the many performance opportunities here, students create costumes, scenery, props, lighting, sound and paint for Mainstage productions in credit-bearing classes. Majors are required to experience stage management at some level within the department - Mainstage productions, Senior projects and Drama Club shows.

We also have a strong connection to the college's education department and Saint Michael's offers state certified programs in elementary and secondary education and demonstrates their commitment and understanding of theatre arts through their graduate program, Arts in Education. Burlington offers wonderful student teaching opportunities in the Integrated Arts Academy and strong local high school Theatre programs. In addition, the theatre faculty offers academic credit to students who serve as teaching assistants in theatre courses. We do not charge admission for any of our productions. The range of plays that we produce is determined by educational challenges and student interest rather than box office.

You'll develop close working relationships with our gifted, connected and approachable faculty mentors beginning with your first entrance into the theatre program and lasting well beyond graduation.

Theatre Learning Outcomes

Sample Four Year Plan for Theatre Majors in the Classes of 2019 and 2021

First Year
Fall Spring
TH 161  Theatre Lab: Scenery, Lights, Painting*  TH 211  Costume Crafts 
TH 207  Acting Techniques   TH 273  Stage Management Practicum  
First Year Seminar Liberal Studies course
  Liberal Studies course   Liberal Studies course 
Fall Spring
TH 101  Life in the Theatre   TH 209  Stagecrafts 
TH 162  Theatre Lab: Costumes*  TH 302  Moliere to Modern Drama  
TH 273  Stage Management Practicum Liberal Studies courses
Liberal Studies courses Elective
Fall Spring
TH 163  Theatre Lab: Scenery, Lights, Run Crew*  TH 301 Western Theatre History from Aeschylus to Zannis 
TH 303  Contemporary Theatre    Theatre electives 
TH 309 Directing Elective
Electives Elective
Fall Spring
Theatre electives  TH 410 Theatre Senior Seminar
Electives Theatre electives

This is just one of many possible paths to fulfilling the requirements for a Theatre major.  Your faculty advisor will work with you to select courses that match your interests and career goals.

* Theatre Lab courses may be taken in any order and can be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor.

Sample Four Year Plan for Theatre Majors in the Classes of 2020 and 2022  

John Devlin, MFA

Professor of Fine Arts: Theatre, Resident Designer and Technical Director
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MFA in Design, Syracuse University
MA in American History, Syracuse University
BA, cum laude History and Communication Arts/Theatre, Allegheny College
Deerfield Academy

Areas of Expertise:

  • Lighting Design
  • Production Management
  • Properties Construction
  • Scenic Design
  • Stage Management
  • Technical Direction
  • Theatre History

Half-Courses I Teach:

  • TH101 Life in the Theatre (taught in rotation every other Fall)
  • TH161 Scenery/Paint/Lighting Lab (offered three times in four semesters) CC Arts and Literature 
  • TH163 Scenery/Paint/Lighting/Run Crew Lab (offered every semester) CC Arts and Literature 
  • TH303 Modern and Contemporary Theatre (offered odd-year Falls)

Full Courses I Teach:

  • TH209 Stagecrafts (offered odd-year Springs) CC Arts and Literature 
  • TH301 Theatre History from Aeschylus to Zannis (offered even-year Spring) CC Arts and Literature
  • TH331 Scene Design (offered odd-year Fall)
  • TH341 Lighting Design (offered even-year Fall)

Peter Harrigan, MFA

Professor of Fine Arts: Theater

Contact Professor Harrigan

McCarthy Arts Center 132
Box 184
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MFA in directing, University of Pittsburgh, 1986
BA in drama and English, Saint Michael's College, 1983

Areas of Expertise:

Theater directing and costume design

Courses I Teach:

  • Acting – 2 levels
  • Chief Patterns of Western Theatre II
  • Directed Studies - Costume Design, Costume Construction, Stage Management, Directing and Dramaturgy
  • Directing - 2 levels
  • First Year Seminar: Defining Self and Community (1996, 1997)
  • First Year Seminar: Peace and Justice (2001, 2002)
  • Introduction to Theatre
  • Oral Interpretation of Literature
  • Principles of Speech
  • Principles of Stage Costuming
  • Senior Seminar in Fine Arts
  • 20th Century Fine Arts

Sebastian Ryder, MFA

Lecturer in Theater
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MFA in Acting, Minnesota State University/Mankato
BA in Dramatic Literature, Purchase College/SUNY

Areas of Expertise:

Musical Theatre
Musical Theatre Dance
Voice and Speech for the Stage/p>

Courses I Teach: 


We offer a Cultural Pass

This is a unique opportunity for students to see dozens of professional national touring companies in Theatre, Dance and Music locally for one flat fee of $30 per year at the Flynn Center for Performing Arts.

Some of the touring productions at the Flynn Center include Spring Awakening, Spamalot, Mummenschanz and Radio MacBeth. Learn more at Cultural Pass.

We're actively involved in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

We have a 30-year history of involvement with KCACTF. Our Drama Club sponsors a week-long trip to the regional festival each year where students can see productions, participate in workshops, interview for jobs, compete for scholarship awards, and earn an invitation to show their work at the national festival in Washington, D.C. Two faculty members in the Saint Michael’s theatre program are presently on the regional executive board of KCACTF.

Scholarship opportunities are available to incoming and returning students through the Fairbanks-Paulin and McCarthy Scholarship programs.

Although no degree is offered in the area of dance, the Department of Fine Arts offers a broad array of courses and performance opportunities in this area.

Recent graduates from Saint Michael's College with a degree in theatre have had success finding jobs in companies such as:
  • Vermont Stage Company
  • Northern Stage
  • the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
  • Missoula Children's Theatre
  • Trinity Repertory Theatre
  • American Repertory Theatre
  • The National Theatre for Arts and Education
  • The Los Angeles Music Center

Other students have pursued careers in education, arts administration, the film and television industry, advertising, marketing, and fields related to business and law.

We also have affiliations with professional theatre unions and students have been hired by the Stagehands Union calls locally. Undergraduates can also earn points toward their Actor's Equity Association card at Saint Michael’s Playhouse in the summer.

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