2017-2018 Theatre and Dance Production

Holy, Seductive Temporary imageDance – written and directed by Cal State LA alum, and adjunct faculty in Pan African Studies, Staci Mitchell.  This play is an adaptation of the novel, Anthills of the Savannah, by Chinua Achebe.


Holy, Seductive Dance is a about the binary of the feminine and the masculine; the educated and the ignorant; the ideologies of Black and White; and the tensions observed in religion. Set in Africa-America, and featuring a robust cast & community, this play explores the subtle complexities & also the magnificence of relationships between several women via a spectrum of class, age, race, spiritual and religious beliefs. Parallel to this gentle weaving of sisterhood, HSD exposes the corruptive nature of misdirected power as three boyhood friends have ascended to the highest political and societal ranks. These three men attempt to lead, serve and inform the people. But from the country to the college campuses, the people are intent on having their own say.  Africa-America is a developing consciousness still governed by the same practices, laws, and fears that made it necessary. All of these ideologies, old and new are determined to ruthlessly collide. What remains is a new vision of family and home.  ARENA THEATRE,  October 5-14, 2017

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The new Department of Theatre and Dance is welcoming a guest Lecturer from Spain’s Institut de Teatre, Barcelona, Anna Estrada.  Ms. Estrada will be with us for the fall semester, and will be teaching TA 2430 Vocal Techniques for the Stage for the undergraduate students in TAD, as well as TVFT 5151 Voice I for the MFA in TVFT.  She will also be leading a workshop culminating in public performances of Fuente Ovejuna by Lope de Vega.  This will be a Bilingual Spanish/English production of the classical Spanish play.  KING HALL STUDIO I,  November 8-18, 2017


Moving Dance Images. Student choreography is highlighted and celebrated in this informal concert in our large studio, specially converted to performance space for this event.  Student choreographers collaborate with performers to create daring new works that reflect personal investigations into identity, purpose, fears and yearnings. 

This culminating experience is a yearly tradition in the department at the end of the fall semester.  KING HALL STUDIO I,  November 30, December 1, 2, 2017

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Performance Salon is a program of dramatic readings dedicated to providing students a myriad of opportunities to work in concert with professional actors as an ensemble engaged in the process of performing roles from the classical and modern canon of world dramatic literature as well as new works.

In the fall and spring semesters, 12-16 plays will have full readings – one or two per weekend - dates will be announced at auditions in week 1.   For more information go to: www.performancesalon.org


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Hamlet.  William Shakespeare’s most famous play has been regarded for centuries as the most complex psychological portrait of a tragic hero ever written for the theatre. Hamlet endures because he is the most exquisite poetic expression of an enlightened human being capable of engaging in a cultivated rhetorical display of philosophical reasoning. However, the memorable attribute that distinguishes Hamlet, as a character, from the many other protagonists in the Bard’s celebrated dramatic canon is his uncanny ability to discern, hesitate, even equivocate, before committing to a clarified retributive action. His interior debate on what is just is grounded by his scrupulous need to prove the commission of the crime in order to deliver the correct punishment. His best intentions at problem solving devolve into a disquieting meditation on vengeance. We are left with one lingering question: What is the existential value of the individual in society? Hamlet sets his own moral compass as a guide to determine what is the just and decisive ethical action within a time-honored philosophical framework. As he delves below the challenges calculated by corruption, Shakespeare does not offer a solution or easy answers, but engages our deepest sensibilities in a dimensional inquiry of what it means to be a human being amidst the swirling chaos of political and social change. The conflict in the play illuminates our shared human struggle to prevail against all crisis, especially the most deceitful, with care, equity, humility, and mindfulness. Hamlet engages our unique senses and enlivens our collective soul to consider the ultimate quest and goal of humanity: Personhood. Given the socio-political moment we find ourselves living in — reflecting upon Hamlet’s philosophical discourse is time well spent.  Dr. Theresa Larkin directs.

VENUE TBA,  March 1- 10, 2018

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This coming academic year is the 20th anniversary of The John Lion New Plays Festival.  Every other year, under the leadership and mentorship of Cal State LA Professor and renowned playwright, José Cruz González, student-written original plays are developed and then directed by invited professional directors for full main-stage premieres.  Professor González is busy reading and the chosen pieces will be announced later this summer. 

As a special addition to the festival, we have commissioned Sigrid Gilmer, Cal State LA Theatre Arts and Dance alum, playwright, and writer on the Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, to work with students to create a new piece that will premier in the festival along with the original student plays.  Ms. Gilmer was one of the student playwrights whose work was chosen for the very first New Plays Festival and she will share her experience and talent with a chosen group of students.  We will use the course TA 4890 Advanced Creative Workshop, in the fall semester, as the incubator to develop and devise this new work.


The Spring Dance Concerts offer students the opportunity to work with renowned regional and international artists as well as faculty and student choreographers to develop new works. Students have the opportunity to train with and learn from experienced dance professionals in the classroom, creating new pieces for the concerts, while expanding their capacity and understanding of movement.  Guest artists will be announced and auditions will be open to all students.  Concert dates to be announced.

This year will see a number of Masters’ thesis productions. Vaneska Nelson (MA Theatre candidate) will produce We Don’t need Words, a movement-based devised work that will prepare in the fall and perform in the spring semester. Joerg Stoeffel (Master of Music candidate) has written a new Musical, Dear John, Why Yoko.  This piece will workshop in the spring under the direction of Professor Steve Rothman.