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The Department of Theatre, Speech, and Dance is an academic department at William & Mary.


"William & Mary boasts one of the oldest and most reputable theatre programs in the United States. In 1702 a group of our students presented a Latin "pastoral colloquy" for the Royal Governor, the first record of a theatrical performance in America. The first theatre in America was constructed in Williamsburg in 1716, and in 1736 William & Mary students presented America's first recorded college production of a play - Addison's Cato."1


Currently, productions are held in Phi Beta Kappa Hall. In the past, productions have also been produced in Blow Hall and Matthew Whaley School after the fire in William & Mary's first Phi Beta Kappa Hall (the present-day Ewell Hall).


The discipline of dance was formally established at William & Mary in 1941 by Professor Grace Felker through the Modern Dance Club and its subset of advanced students known as Orchesis. Housed in the Women's Physical Education Department, students studied Modern technique and Dance Composition, and they prepared an annual concert of student choreography which was eventually titled An Evening of Dance.

Over the years, a number of company directors have filled the shoes of Professor Felker including Helen Black, Thelma Dodson, Blanche Duffy, Sophia Saunders, Lorna Burdsall, Catherine Edmundson, Gladys Warren and Rona Sande, and each spring students have been able to present their original choreography in well-received public performances. In 1963 Professor Carol Sherman became director of the dance program followed by Shirley Roby in 1964. In 1965 Professors Sherman and Roby were both members of the faculty, and they co-directed the dance program for the next 35 years.

Beginning in 1968, the course offerings in Dance were expanded. New courses included beginning through advanced levels of Modern technique, History of Modern Dance, Group Choreography and Independent Projects in Dance. DANCEVENT, a fall concert of faculty work, was initiated in 1977, and as the dance program continued to grow, a third full-time dance position was added in 1979 followed soon after by a fulltime accompanist. The Dance Minor was established in 1982. The focus of the minor is choreogaphy, and in 1998 it became necessary to produce the first Dance Minors Concert in addition to the Orchesis spring concert in order to allow all choreographers to present their work. Additional courses have been added to the curriculum including Intermediate Ballet and Jazz, History of American Vernacular Dance and the Alexander Technique. In 2000, Professors Roby and Sherman retired, and that fall, the Dance Program moved to the Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance where it continues to flourish.

The Dance Program uses Adair Hall.

History of theatre productions

A list of productions of the William & Mary Theatre is available.


  • 1926-1927 The Goose Hangs High
  • 1927-1928 You and I; Outward Bound
  • 1928-1929 The Enemy; The Taming of the Shrew; Candida
  • 1929-1930 The Mollusc; Anna Christie; Twelfth Night; The Royal Family


  • 1930-1931: Vergilian Pageant; The Importance of Being Earnest; Just Suppose; The Merchant of Venice; Enter Madame
  • 1931-1932: Sun-Up; Berkeley Square; John Ferguson; As You Like It
  • 1932-1933: Outward Bound; Holiday; The Recruiting Officer; Much Ado About Nothing
  • 1933-1934: Quality Street; Hotel Universe; The Swan; A Midsummer Night's Dream; The Romantic Young Lady
  • 1934-1935: The Ghosts of Windsor Park; Arms and the Man; The Romantic Age; The Jealous Wife
  • 1935-1936: The Unattainable; The Lying Valet; The Cradle Song; Twelfth Night
  • 1936-1937: Squaring the Circle; Death Takes a Holiday; The Gondoliers; A Trip to Scarborough
  • 1937-1938: The Night of January Sixteenth; First Lady; The Mikado; Liliom
  • 1938-1939: Post Road; RUR; The Pirates of Pinzance; Dear Brutus
  • 1939-1940: The Inspector General; Kind Lady; Our Town; Hay Fever


  • 1940-1941: You Can't Take It With You; Night Must Fall; Mary of Scotland; My Heart's in the Highlands
  • 1941-1942: Gas Light; Family Portrait; The School of Husbands; Hedda Gabler
  • 1942-1943: Thunder Rock; The Male Animal; Bach to Methuselah, Part I; Man of Destiny; Square Circle
  • 1943-1944: Papa is All; The Patriots; Tartuffe; Candida
  • 1944-1945: Quality Street; Juno and the Paycock; Volpone; Private Lives
  • 1945-1946: Pygmalion; Murder in the Cathedral; Ladies in Retirement; Too Many Husbands
  • 1946-1947: Arsenic and Old Lace; Arms and the Man; The Comedy of Errors; Joan of Lorraine
  • 1947-1948: The Skin of Our Teeth; Blithe Spirit; MacBeth; The Dark Lady of Sonnets; Passion, Poison, and Petrification
  • 1948-1949: The Great Campaign; The Candidates; The Taming of the Shrew; An Inspector Calls
  • 1949-1950: The Little Foxes; The Merry Wives of Windsor; No More Peace; The Father


  • 1950-1951: The Warrior's Husband; Here We Are; The Winter's Tale; The Seagull
  • 1951-1952: Ten Little Indians; The Silver Cord; The Merchant of Venice; The Miser
  • 1952-1953: First Lady; The Playboy of the Western World; The Trojan War Will Not Take Place; Much Ado About Nothing
  • 1953-1954: You Never Can Tell; The Stronger Woman; The Beautiful People; The Highland Reel; Hamlet
  • 1954-1955: The Circle; Uncle Harry; The Winslow Boy; Twelfth Night
  • 1955-1956: Dial "M" for Murder; Antigone; Home is Tomorrow, As You Like It
  • 1956-1957: Summer and Smoke; The Highbrow Young Ladies; The Village Wooing; Romeo and Juliet
  • 1957-1958: Hark Upon the Gale; Ghosts; The Matchmaker; Othello
  • 1958-1959: The Madwomen of Chaillot; The Glass Minagerie; The Cheats of Scapin; Box and Cox; The Red Velvet Goat; All's Well That Ends Well
  • 1959-1960: Carnival of Theives; The Boy Friend; The Late Christopher Bean; Lysistrata


  • 1960-1961: The Diary of Anne Frank; Babes in Arms; Blithe Spirit; A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • 1961-1962: The Crucible; Where's Charley?; John Brown's Body; The Taming of the Shrew
  • 1962-1963: The Visit; Under Milk Wood; The Threepenny Opera; The Shoemaker's Holiday
  • 1963-1964: Our Town; Lola; Death of a Salesman; The Tragedy of King Richard III
  • 1964-1965: The Time of Your Life; Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme; Long Day's Journey into Night; The Duchess of Malfi
  • 1965-1966: Dark of the Moon; The Days Between; Misalliance; The Merchant of Venice
  • 1966-1967: Centaur, Centaur!; The Importance of Being Earnest; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; As You Like It
  • 1967-1968: Rhinoceros; The Disappearing Sphere; Kiss Me Kate; Electra
  • 1968-1969: The Fantasticks; The Devil's Disciple; The Investigation; Hamlet
  • 1969-1970: The Unknown Soldier and His Wife; Mandragola; Of Thee I Sing; Phaedra


  • 1970-1971: Twelfth Night; Dark Mirrors and Bright Windows; The Dumb Waiter; Act Without Words I; Act Without Words II; A Sleep of Prisoners; The Maids; The Gradiges Fraulein; Man of La Mancha; Rainbow Sign
  • 1971-1972: You can't Take it With You; The Trail of the Catonsville Nine; Ernest in Love; The Miser
  • 1972-1973: Antony and Cleopatra; A Cry of Players; Brigadoon; The Trojan Women
  • 1973-1974: The Seagull; The House of Gernarda Alba; Anything Goes; The Alchemist
  • 1974-1975: Melody; The Beggar's Opera; Angel Street; Much Ado About Nothing
  • 1975-1976: Godspell; The Hot L Baltimore; Tonight at 8:30 (Fumed Oak, Red Peppers, Ways and Means); The Spanish Tragedy
  • 1976-1977: The Clouds; King Lear; Guys and Dolls; The American Dream; The Zoo Story
  • 1977-1978: Damn Yankees; Uncle Vanya; The Birthday Party; The School for Wives
  • 1978-1979: Carousel; Medieval Plays for Christmas; Woyzeck; The Constant Wife
  • 1979-1980: The Wild Duck; Measure for Measure; The Waltz of the Toreadors


  • 1980-1981: Company; Waiting for Godot; Oedipus Rex; She Stoops to Conquer
  • 1981-1982: The Importance of Being Earnest; Henry IV, Part I; Cabaret; The Elephant Man
  • 1982-1983: A Streetcar Named Desire; Tartuffe; Fiddler on the Roof; Of Mice and Men
  • 1983-1984: Sweeney Todd; The Playboy of the Western World, The Good Woman of Setzuan; Luann Hampton Laverty Oberlander
  • 1984-1985: Fade Out-Fade In; Major Barbara; Agnes of God; Epicoene
  • 1985-1986: Fool for Love-Savage Love; The Robber Bridgegroom; Goin' Home to Freedom; As You Like It
  • 1986-1987: Our Town; Hair; Brighton Beach Memoirs; Her House
  • 1987-1988: Crimes of the Heart; Three Sisters; Anything Goes; Coriolanus
  • 1988-1989: The Threepenny Opera; A Christmas Carol; The Country Wife; The House of Blue Leaves
  • 1989-1990: The Canterbury Tales; Becoming Memories; The Crucible; Medea


  • 1990-1991: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; A Lie of the Mind; Six Characters in Search of an Author; Romeo and Juliet
  • 1991-1992: All the King's Men; A Doll's House; Noises Off; The Wake of Jamey Foster
  • 1992-1993: Once Upon a Mattress; Top Girls; Twelfth Night; Death of a Salesman
  • 1993-1994: Guys and Dolls; Night Sky; Summer and Smoke; The Rivals
  • 1994-1995: Chicago; Our Country's Good; The Matchmaker; Helene
  • 1995-1996: A Fool for Love; The Dining Room; The Cherry Orchard; Walk Together Children
  • 1996-1997: Showboat; The Rose Tatoo; A Midsummer Night's Dream; Arcadia
  • 1997-1998: Crazy for You; Caucasian Chalk Circle; Blithe Spirit; Angels in America, Part I
  • 1998-1999: Much Ado About Nothing; The Hostage; The Beggar's Opera; Hedda Gabler
  • 1999-2000: The Fantasticks; The Servant of Two Masters; The Tapestry: A Play Woven in Two; Sylvia


  • 2000-2001: The Bacchae; The Misanthrope; Moon Over Buffalo; The Passion
  • 2001-2002: Kiss Me Kate; Good Night Desdemmona (Good Morning Juliet); Harvey; Vinegar Tom
  • 2002-2003: A Little Night Music; The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Earnest; The Piano Lesson
  • 2003-2004: The Skin of Our Teeth; Carnival; In the Garden of Live Flowers; Marat/Sade
  • 2004-2005: Batboy: The Musical; The Merchant of Venice; Alchemy of Desire/Dead-Man's Blues; The Madwoman of Chaillot
  • 2005-2006: A View From the Bridge; Pal Joey; Stop Kiss; Amadeus
  • 2006-2007: Gypsy; As Bees in Honey Drown; Ramayana (Rama's Journey); Orpheus Descending
  • 2007-2008: It's a bird... it's a plane... it's Superman!; Antigone; The Scams of Scapin; Mother Courage and Her Children
  • 2008-2009: Damn Yankees; The Seagull; When the Purple Settles; All's Well that Ends Well
  • 2009-2010: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie; Little Shop of Horrors; Eurydice; The School for Wives
  • 2010-2011: Table Manners; Oklahoma!; Rhinoceros; The Rover
  • 2011-2012: Travesties; Cabaret; Night of the Iguana; Ruined
  • 2012-2013: Come and Gone; Pippin; The Merry Wives of Windsor; Sitayana
  • 2013-2014: Dancing at Lughnasa; La Cage aux Folles; Coast of Utopia: Voyage; Clybourne Park
  • 2014-2015: Big Love; Three Penny Opera; Crowns; Spring Awakening

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

  • Playbills, 1891-1896 and undated, from plays staged at Cameron Hall at Eastern State Hospital with actors and actresses from the College of William & Mary and the local community. Virginia Cities Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.
  • Althea Hunt Papers
  • Howard Scammon Papers



Want to find out more?

To search for further material, visit the Special Collections Research Center's Search Tool List for other resources to help you find materials of interest.

Questions? Have ideas or updates for articles you'd like to see? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at or 757-221-3090.

A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.