Music Theatre Dance Faculty

Dr. Theresa Larkin
Professor of Theatre Arts
Ph.D. Claremont Graduate University / ABD European Graduate University / MFA University of California, Irivne  / BA Loyola Marymount University

Theresa LarkinDr. Larkin is an expert in classical Shakespearean acting, stage directing, producing (theatre, video, film), arts administration (non-profit consulting, management, strategic planning, grants, event planning), theatrical movement (choreography, modern, period, and folk), and cultural studies (cultural documentary, grassroots spiritual activism, alternative cultural environments). She has been the recipient of numerous theatre awards for producing and acting, and is responsible for over 300 productions (producing, directing, acting, choreographing, writing, and supervising).

Theresa Larkin has been a professor of theatre at Cal State LA since 1989. Currently she is a tenured full professor in the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Her areas of expertise span a wide spectrum including performance training, arts management, social sciences, cultural studies, media philosophy, and communications.

Academic degrees include the following: BA in Drama and Dance from Loyola Marymount University (1977); MFA in Drama (Specialization: Shakespearean Performance) from U C Irvine (1983); MA and Ph.D. in Cultural Studies (MA Specialization: Documentary; Ph.D. Specialization: Grassroots Artivism) from Claremont Graduate University (2009 and 2011). Currently, Theresa is completing a second Ph.D. at European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland in Communications and Media Philosophy, with an expected completion date in early 2014. The dissertation is titled “Cancer and the Healing Arts’.

Dr. Larkin is an expert in the arena of classical acting, most notably, Shakespearean Performance, stage directing, producing (theatre, video, film), arts administration (non-profit consulting, management, strategic planning, grants, event planning), voice for the stage (production, IPA, diction, accents and dialects), movement (choreography: modern, period, and folk), cultural studies (cultural documentary, alternative cultural environments, political theatre, grassroots activism, and artivism.

Ms. Larkin has received numerous theatre awards for producing and acting, and is responsible for coordinating and conducting hundreds of productions, workshops, staged readings, conferences, symposia, talk backs, and master classes  (producing, directing, acting, choreographing, and writing).

She founded (and co-founded) non-profit and profit companies, most notably: The Artists' Collective, Theatre for the 21st Century, Latino Classical Repertory (renamed East Los Angeles Theatre Company), and TheatreLife. Profit companies include LioLark Productions, Heroica Films, and Palar Consulting / Appraisal Corporation.

Before assuming her professorship at Cal State LA, Theresa spent three years as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the MFA program: Acting / Directing / Voice / Movement at San Jose State University (1986-89); two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the MFA program: Acting / Directing / Voice / Movement at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1984-86); and three years as an Lecturer in Acting at University of California, Irvine (1980-83). She also taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for Berlitz, School of Languages for one year (1983-84)

Professor Larkin has also taught at National University (27 years-multiple disciplines), American InterContinental University (9 years-multiple disciplines), Springfield College (5 years-Communications, Behavorial Science, Writing and Research), and guest lectured at numerous campuses around the world, including Santa Clara University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Oberlin College, and Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), among other campuses. She was voted Outstanding Professor twice at AIU (In 2002 for Business and in 2005 for General Education). For a complete list of courses taught and productions directed since coming to Cal State, please go to

Early career, Ms. Larkin trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, London Contemporary Arts, Shakespeare and Company, Avid Editing, Final Cut Pro, James Bonnet Storytelling, and numerous other specialized training environments in the arts. Her artistic training has been extensive. Modern acting mentors include Robert Cohen, Keith Fowler, Pamela Barnard, Stella Adler, and Virginia Barnelle. Shakespearean performance mentors include George William Needles, Brewster Mason, and medieval scholar Edgar Schell. Dance/Movement mentors include Mary Lynn Waterman, Donald Hewitt, Charles Edmondson, Teo Morca, Bella Lewitsky, Antoinette Marich, Judy Scalin, B.H. Barry, and Henry Marshall. Voice mentors include Cecily Barry, Patsy Rodenberg, Kristin Linklater, Dudley Knight, and Carla Meyer. 

As a professional director and actor, Theresa has been a member of the following unions and organizations: Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Screen Actors' Guild, Actors' Equity Association, American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, the Royal Society of Art and the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. As a faculty member, she is a member of California Faculty Association.

In 2002, Ms. Larkin was cited by veteran critic Polly Warfield (Backstage West) as a Living Legend of Los Angeles for her award-winning performance in 1981 as Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander (in the play 'Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander' by Preston Jones). Ms. Larkin shares this honor with fellow actor, Jeffrey Meek, for his role as Skip Hampton.

As a conference planner she has worked on a national level for many years with Association For Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE-founding the Directing Forum in 1985), American Theatre College Festival (ATCF-Regional Festival Adjudicator since 1980), and Center for Theatre of the Oppressed/Applied Theatre Arts/Los Angeles (CTO/ATA/LA) as a founding member national conference planning, co-founder, workshop leader and core conference planner for the international conference held in Hollywood at the Renaissance Hotel (home of the Kodak Theatre) celebrating Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed with colleagues from the CTO/ATA/LA. For four years, Theresa served as Historian/Documentarian for CTO/ATA/LA.

In 2007, Dr. Larkin was awarded a proclamation from the County of Riverside for an original multi-media work (with co-writer Mary H. Curtin) celebrating Mine' Okubo (Japanese-American internee artist famous for her camp drawings) entitled Mine': A Name For Herself. A production that was invited to perform for the Day of Remembrance at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

In 2009, she was honored by ACTF with an Excellence in Education Award for 27 years of volunteer service with this national organization.

At present, she is working on a one-person show HIGH-RISK, while she is completing a second dissertation and restructuring her non-profit multi-media theatre company The Artists' Collective for the 2014-2015 season.

A glimpse into Dr. Larkin's most recent campus production can be viewed at: