Exploring the Rich Theater Scene at Emory University

July 5, 2023
By AdmissionSight
Students acting in the stage

Exploring the Rich Theater Scene at Emory University

Emory University boasts a rich theater scene, attracting talented students and renowned theater professionals. From its humble beginnings as a minuscule extracurricular activity to a vibrant theater program with multiple student groups, Emory University has come a long way. In this article, we will explore the theater history of Emory University, the various theatrical productions that take place each season, and the impact it has had on the greater Atlanta community.

The History of Theater at Emory University: From its Humble Beginnings to Today

Although Emory University’s theater program has come a long way since its inception, it is worth noting that its roots started with small groups of passionate students seeking to share their love for the art. Today, the theater program at Emory University has grown to include multiple student groups, professional-level productions, and a state-of-the-art theater facility.

The first theater productions at Emory University were staged in the 1920s, with the Emory University Dramatic Club producing plays such as “Eglantine” and “The Yellow Jacket. Over time, more student groups sprouted up, and in 1965, the Emory University Theater was established. This group would go on to become the flagship organization of the university’s theater scene, with productions ranging from classical to contemporary theater.

Fast forward to today, and the Emory University theater scene has something for everyone. The two most prominent theater groups on campus are the Emory University Theater and Theater Emory. These two groups have produced some of the most notable productions, including “Cabaret,” “Gone with the Wind,” and “Angels in America.”

a director coaching actors for their performance

In addition to the student theater groups, Emory University also hosts professional-level productions through partnerships with local theater companies. These productions provide students with the opportunity to work alongside experienced actors and directors and to gain valuable experience in the industry.

Furthermore, the theater program at Emory University is not limited to just acting and directing. Students can also explore other aspects of theater production, such as set design, lighting, and costume design. This allows for a well-rounded education in the theater arts and prepares students for a variety of careers in the industry.

The Top 5 Must-See Plays at Emory University This Season

If you are looking for some unforgettable theatrical performances, Emory University has a wide array of offerings throughout the year. Here are the top 5 must-see plays happening this season:

  • “Topdog/Underdog” by Suzan-Lori Parks – a powerful play about brotherhood and betrayal
  • “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder – a classic American play that explores life, love, and death
  • “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry – a poignant play about the struggles of a black family in Chicago during the 1950s
  • “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis – a beloved children’s classic brought to life on stage
  • “The Drowsy Chaperone” by Bob Martin and Don McKellar – a whimsical and hilarious musical that pays homage to the golden age of musical theater

But that’s not all! Emory University’s theater department has a lot more in store for you this season. In addition to the top 5 must-see plays, several other productions are worth checking out.

One of the upcoming plays is “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, a classic drama that explores the complex relationships within a family. Another play to look out for is “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde, a witty and satirical comedy that pokes fun at Victorian society.

The Best Kept Secrets of Emory University’s Theater Scene: Hidden Gems on Campus

Aside from the mainstream productions, Emory University’s theater scene has a plethora of hidden gems that should not be missed. For instance, the Brave New Works festival is a yearly play festival that showcases up-and-coming playwrights. It is a fantastic opportunity to see plays that may not have had a chance to be noticed otherwise.

If you are aspiring to be involved in theater, the Emerging Choreographers’ Showcase is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your talents. It is an annual event that features works from students and professionals alike.

Another hidden gem in Emory’s theater scene is the Theater Emory Lab Series. This series features experimental and avant-garde productions that push the boundaries of traditional theater. It is a great opportunity to see unique and thought-provoking performances that you won’t find anywhere else.

Inside Look: A Day in the Life of an Emory University Theater Student

Ever wonder what it is like to be a theater student at Emory University? The typical day in the life of a theater student is quite busy, with a lot of work both on and offstage.

a director chair in the middle of a studio

Classwork typically includes thoughtful discussions on theater theory and history, as well as practical training in acting, script analysis, directing, and stagecraft. Additionally, there are numerous opportunities to audition for roles or work behind the scenes, with rehearsals often running late into the night.

Despite all the hard work, theater students at Emory University will tell you that it is a highly rewarding experience.

From Audition to Performance: The Journey of a Play at Emory University

What does it take to bring a play to life at Emory University? The journey from audition to performance is a complex and collaborative effort requiring the effort and dedication of numerous people.

First, a play is selected and auditions are held for actors and production staff. Once the cast is assembled, rehearsals begin, and each actor receives notes from the director and works to hone their craft. Meanwhile, the production staff is hard at work building sets, designing costumes, and planning lighting and audio cues.

With opening night fast approaching, everyone works tirelessly to ensure the performance runs like clockwork. It is truly a collaborative effort that showcases the talent and dedication of Emory University’s theater community.

But the journey doesn’t end with opening night. After the first performance, the cast and crew receive feedback from the director and make adjustments as needed. They continue to refine their performances and technical elements throughout the run of the show.

Additionally, the theater department at Emory University often hosts talkbacks or panel discussions after performances, allowing the audience to engage with the cast and creative team and gain a deeper understanding of the play and its themes.

Qualifying student council members must practice public speaking

The Role of Diversity and Inclusion in Emory University’s Theater Scene

Emory University prides itself on being a diverse and inclusive community, and its theater program reflects that. The theater program at Emory University has taken proactive steps to be more inclusive and showcase the stories of underrepresented groups.

For instance, Theater Emory has a Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, which primarily focuses on creating opportunities for queer performers, artists of color, and female-identifying artists. Additionally, Theater Emory strives to create a positive and accepting environment for all students, regardless of their backgrounds.

Another way that Emory University’s theater program promotes diversity and inclusion is by featuring plays and performances that address social justice issues. For example, in recent years, Theater Emory has produced plays that explore topics such as immigration, race relations, and LGBTQ+ rights. These productions not only provide a platform for underrepresented voices but also encourage dialogue and understanding among the Emory community.

Furthermore, Emory’s theater program actively seeks out collaborations with other departments and organizations on campus to promote diversity and inclusion. For instance, Theater Emory has partnered with the Office of LGBT Life to produce plays that highlight the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals. These collaborations not only enrich the theater program but also foster a sense of community and support for marginalized groups on campus.

The Impact of Emory University’s Theater Program on the Greater Atlanta Community

Through its various productions and community outreach initiatives, Emory University’s theater program has had a significant impact on the greater Atlanta community. The annual Brave New Works festival, for instance, has served as a platform for up-and-coming playwrights and has attracted audiences from all over the city.

Additionally, Emory University’s theater program engages with local high schools by hosting educational workshops, providing opportunities for young people to practice theater. It not only fosters a love of the arts in the younger generation but also helps diversify the theater scene in the city.

Moreover, Emory University’s theater program collaborates with local community organizations to create socially relevant productions that address issues affecting the Atlanta community. For example, the program partnered with a local non-profit organization to produce a play about homelessness in Atlanta, which helped raise awareness and funds for the cause.

Behind the Scenes: How Emory University’s Technical Theater Program Brings Plays to Life

While the actors often take center stage, the technical theater program at Emory University plays a crucial role in bringing productions to life. Students in this program learn the nuts and bolts of the trade, including lighting, sound engineering, set construction, and stage management.

Students sitting during a workshop

All of these elements come together to produce stunning productions that transport audiences to another world. The program is highly regarded and is often sought after by professional theater companies looking to hire graduates.

One unique aspect of Emory University’s technical theater program is its emphasis on sustainability. Students are taught to use eco-friendly materials and techniques in their set construction and lighting design. This not only reduces the program’s environmental impact but also prepares students for the growing trend of sustainable theater practices in the industry.

Alumni Spotlight: How Emory University’s Theater Program Prepared Graduates for Success

Over the years, Emory University’s theater program has produced countless talented alumni who have gone on to achieve great things in the industry. These graduates have gone on to work in diverse media, from commercials and television shows to Broadway plays.

The theater program at Emory University is highly respected in the industry, with many graduates having the opportunity to work with esteemed professionals from all over the country. The program is known for providing students with the tools they need to succeed in the real world, be it through an understanding of acting techniques or practical knowledge in constructing theater sets.

One of the unique aspects of Emory’s theater program is its emphasis on collaboration and interdisciplinary work. Students are encouraged to work with other departments, such as music and dance, to create innovative and dynamic productions. This approach not only prepares students for the collaborative nature of the industry but also allows them to explore new forms of storytelling.

Additionally, the program offers numerous opportunities for students to gain real-world experience through internships and partnerships with local theaters. These experiences not only provide valuable hands-on training but also help students build connections within the industry, which can be crucial for launching a successful career.


It is worth noting that Emory University’s theater program not only offers exceptional performances but also provides opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in all aspects of theater production. From stage management to costume design, students have the chance to work alongside professionals and gain valuable skills that will serve them well in their future careers. This emphasis on practical experience sets Emory’s theater program apart from others and contributes to its reputation as a top-notch program.

Emory University’s theater scene is a vibrant one, attracting some of the most talented students and professionals. As we have explored in this article, the theater program at Emory University has come a long way since its inception, and it continues to grow and reach new heights. Whether you are an aspiring performer or simply a lover of the arts, Emory University’s theater program is a must-see destination.


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