The roots of the present theatre program are seen in the occasional extracurricular student productions held in the years prior to the founding of the university. The theatre (then drama) program of the English Department receives a strong stimulus with an outdoor production in 1922 of Milton's Comus under the direction of Professor Frederick Pottle, who later becomes a well known literature scholar at Yale. This outdoor performance is held in a natural amphitheater at the rear of Hamilton-Smith (then the library). The first theatrical production in UNH’s heritage took place in 1866 in Dartmouth, NH. At that time, UNH was called New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts. The College moved to Durham in 1893 and became known as New Hampshire College (NHC). From that time until 1923 the College produced two to three extra curricular shows a year.
The University of New Hampshire is founded and Professor of English William G. Hennessy is appointed as faculty director and advisor of the new student theatre organization Mask and Dagger. As his first production, Professor Hennessy selects the play, Dulcy. It is a great success and the development of the educational theatre program begins at UNH. Recorded in the UNH archives, Hennessy recalled directing theatre productions in New Hampshire Hall. There, the "theatre" had "two sawhorses covered with loose planks, a wire and a curtain." During Hennessy’s tenure, World War II left him with a dearth of male performers, so he went to town and cast men’s roles right off the street.Early course offerings are limited to dramatic literature such as Shakespeare and other periods of English Drama. A former actor in Boston, Professor Hennessy develops a strong program, largely of standard plays, staging them in the Community House of the Durham Community Church, in Murkland Hall, and the Armory (now the front section of New Hampshire Hall). Professor Hennessy will retire as Drama Director in 1944, but will continue teaching dramatic literature until retiring in 1961.
Richard's Auditorium stage in the newly constructed Murkland Hall is available for use for dramatic productions. Professor Edmund Cortez joins the faculty of the English Department and institutes a course in radio speaking and microphone technique. In the 1940's and 50's he and Professor Joeseph Batcheller developed courses and workshops in television and radio broadcasting.
New Hampshire Hall is remodeled and enlarged to include a stage, two dressing rooms, a shop and storage space for the UNH drama program. The first Mask and Dagger production in the new theatre is Tovarich.
With the progression of the second World War, productions are difficult to stage and cast due to the scarcity of male students. However, the student organization "Mike and Dial" provides students with applied radio experience including announcing, writing, performing, and technical work. The studio is located on the third floor of Thompson Hall with transmitter facilities provided by WHEB/Portsmouth. Eventually this system evolves into the University's radio station WMDR, now WUNH.
In 1944 Professor Joseph D. Batcheller comes to the University of New Hampshire and stresses the training of undergraduates for careers in high school directing. For the next fifteen years, Professor Batcheller supports and helps build the annual New Hampshire High School Drama Festival which are held annually at the University of New Hampshire until the early 1970's. Under Hennessy and Batcheller’s dedicated tutelage, what had once been an English literature course expanded to include Directing, Acting and Experimental Theater.
In 1949 Lost: Boundaries produced by Louis de Rochemont and starring Mel Ferrer, is filmed on the UNH campus. A number of faculty, staff, and students appear in the film including Professors Hennessy and Batcheller. The film is later named a "land mark in the civil rights movement."
WENH-TV goes on the air following an eight year effort to establish an educational television station in New Hampshire. The studios are located in the basement of the new Memorial Union Building with transmitter facilities on Saddleback Mountain in Northwood. The station operates on VHF Channel 11.
In 1955, Theater, Music and Art found a champion in Eldon L. Johnson who served as president of the University until 1961. A strong advocate for public education, Johnson felt that UNH was neglecting fundamental problems and producing "better doctors than men, better lawyers than citizens, better scientists than human beings." To produce well-rounded students, he sought the help of many generous donors such as Harriet and Isabel Paul and a state matching grant to build the Paul Creative Arts Center (dedicated in 1960). That same year Professor Batcheller was appointed head of Speech and Drama and the department officially began. John C. Edwards was hired as the Director of Theatre and Gil Davenport was hired as the Technical Director/Designer.
The Isabel and Harriet Paul Creative Arts Center is completed and the new Department of Speech and Drama separates from the English Department. Professor Batcheller serves as chair until 1972. The new department is comprised of the traditional areas of Drama and Rhetoric, but also includes a program in Speech Therapy. The first University Theatre Season includes: The Crucible, Teahouse of the August Moon, The Trojan Women, and Blithe Spirit.
John Edwards is hired to teach acting and directing. University Theatre Productions include: Dark of the Moon, She Stoops To Conquer, Noon Wine and The Birds.
Gilbert Davenport arrives to develop the areas of stage and costume design. Professors Edwards, Batcheller, and Davenport institute the Durham Summer Theatre, which continues until the summer of 1982. The first productions for this professional repertory company include: End Game, Richard III, Dubliners and The Imaginary Invalid. University Theatre Productions for this season include: The Pickwick Papers, J.B., Evidence of William Blake, Much Ado About Nothing and Look Homeward Angel.
University Theatre Productions: Brave New World, The Enchanted, King Lear, and Candide. The Children's Theatre Production for this year is Many Moons.
University Theatre Productions: Charley's Aunt, Tortilla Flat, The Merchant of Venice, and The Glass Menagerie. The Children's Theatre Production for this year is Midsummer Night's Dream.
Theatre Resources for Youth (TRY) is formed by Judith Kase Davenport to bring touring children's theatre and teacher workshops to the state of New Hampshire. University Theatre Productions this year include: Electra, The Ticket of Leave Man, Juno and the Paycock and Brigadoon. The Children's Production for this year is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
University Theatre Productions: To Clothe the Naked, Rhinoceros, King John, Tartuffe, and Tiny Alice. The Children's Theatre Productions for this year are Reynard The Fox, and The Emperor's New Clothes.
Professor Raymond Bernier joins the department and expands the areas of Stagecraft, Lighting, and Properties Management. University Theatre Productions include: The Odd Couple, Antigone, The Caretaker, The Threepenny Opera, and The Private Ear and the Public Eye. The Children's Theatre Production for this year is Man in the Moon.
University Theatre Productions: We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Born Yesterday, Measure for Measure (What's Mine is Yours), Camino Real, Medivial Dance, Not Enough Rope, and The 101st. The Children's Theatre Productions: The Great Cross Country Race and Hansel and Gretl.
Professor Carol A. Lucha (Burns) joins the department, promoting and building the areas of Musical Theatre, and Children's Theatre. Professor Lucha-Burns later co-designs "The Little Red Wagon" touring troupe and becomes the artistic director of Theatre Resources for Youth. University Theatre Productions for this season include: The Madwoman of Chaillot, Randolin, The Monk, Gaslight/Angel Street, Desire Under the Elms, and Under Milkwood. A musical Revue Romberg to Rock is produced and the Children's Theatre Production for this year is Half Past Wednesday.
In 1969 the legislature approved $810,000 for the expansion of the Paul Creative Arts Center. Edwards and Batcheller established The Durham Summer Theatre, repertory style theater.
TRY officially joins the department of Speech and Drama and Susan Goldin is hired as Managing Director. The Little Red Wagon touring Children's Theatre program launches a summer season of separate productions. University Theatre Productions for this season include: The Boy Friend, Guests, The Skin of Our Teeth, and The Brothers. The Children's Theatre Productions for this year are Trudy and the Minstrel and Aesop's Fables. There are several musical revues: Showbiz-Nostalgia of the Twenties, Show Stoppers, Sounds of the Silver Screen and a touring version of Romberg to Rock as a benefit for New Hampshire Public Television.
University Theatre Productions include: Marat/Sade, The Decameron, Babes in Arms, The Lion In Winter, and A View From the Bridge. The Children's Theatre Productions for this year are Taradiddle Tales and The Kettle King.
Professor David Magidson joins the department of Speech and Drama and initiates a playwriting course. University Theatre Productions include: Moonchildren, The House of Blue Leaves, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad, A Flea in Her Ear, and Night Must Fall. The Children's Theatre Production for this year is A Fizzlewit Here, A Fizzlewit There. TRY produces year-round children's tour.
The first Undergraduate Prize Productions are held in January and this season's University Theatre Productions include: Moby Dick (from summer), The Kitchen, The Miser, Mau-Mauing, The Flak Catchers, The Bacchae, and Incircles. The Children's Theatre Productions for this year are: Due to a Lack of Interest Tomorrow has been Cancelled, Creative Collage, and Fractured Fairy Tales. TRY produces a four seasons Little Red Wagon tour.
This year the Dance Division, formerly part of the Department of Physical Education, joins Speech and Drama. UNH hosts the New England Theatre Conference's annual convention. University Theatre Productions this season include: The Time of Your Life, The House of Bernarda Alba, The Body and the Wheel, Dames at Sea, The Knowledge and the Dream, Children and Their Birthdays, Lenny, and the first official University Theatre Spring Dance Concert. The Children's Theatre Production this year is Revolutionary Romp. TRY produces four Little Red Wagon Tours and is selected to represent the New Hampshire Arts Community at the National Bicentennial Celebration in Washington D.C.
In 1974, Dance, formerly a part of the women’s Physical Ed, joined the department. Jean Brown, the teacher of Modern Dance became a catalyst for bringing Theatre Dance (Jazz and Tap) and Ballet to the department. Jean Mattox and Larry Robertson were hired to expand both programs. Upon the death of Jean Mattox, Gay Nardone joined the faculty and became chair in 1999.
TRY expands to include the CARAVAN program, Jean Mattox begins teaching Jazz/Theatre Dance classes and choreographing for the Department of Speech and Drama's Dance Program. The University Theatre Season includes: Jacques Brel is Alive and Well in Paris(from summer), Guys and Dolls, Our Town, I Remember Mama, Sticks and Bones, and the Spring Dance Concert. The Children's Theatre Productions this year are Bonanza Week (Peanut Butter Players), and Seltza's Sensational Showdown. TRY also conducts summer, fall, and spring Little Red Wagon tours.
The Department of Speech and Drama is renamed the Department of Theatre and Communication. UNH hosts the American College Regional Theatre Festival and this season's University Theatre Productions include: I Do I Do (from summer), Tobacco Road, As You Like It, The Cherry Orchard, Two By Two, and The Dance Concert. The Children's Theatre Productions this year are Bonanza Week (Peanut Butter Players) and Driswold the Woeful Dragon. TRY presents over three hundred performances this year through its Little Red Wagon and CARAVAN touring programs.
University Theatre Productions include: Celebration (from the summer), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Scarlet Letter, The Shadow of Dracula, The Matchmaker, and The Dance Concert. The Children's Theatre Productions for this year are King Size and His Servants in Disguise and Bonanza Week (Peanut Butter Players). TRY produces year-round touring programs.
Professor Charles Robertson begins teaching Ballet for the Dance. University Theatre Productions are: Scapino, Pippin, Major Barbara, Mystery Play, and The Dance Concert. The Children's Theatre Production for this year is Bonanza Week (Peanut Butter Players) TRY conducts Summer and Winter/Spring tours of the Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN.
A Children's Theatre Playwriting Award is created and named in memory of Anna Zornio, a student, who died in 1978, with a keen interest in drama for children. The Theatre season includes: Benchley Inside Himself, High Button Shoes, London Assurance, Caucasian Chalk Circle, and The Dance Concert. The Children's Theatre Productions for this year are Bonanza Week and Rockin Rapunzel at the Disco Deli.
This year's University Theatre seasons includes: Gypsy, Voices, Russian Nights, Hamlet, What The Butler Saw, and The Dance Concert. The Children's Theatre Productions for this year are Bonanza Week (Peanut Butter Players) and the first Anna Zornio Playwriting Award Winner, Medieval Misfits and a Little Hocus Pocus. TRY produces Summer and Spring Little Red Wagon and CARAVAN tours.
Professor Jean Mattox, Jazz/Theatre Dance Instructor, dies following a long illness, and a scholarship is established in her honor. UNH hosts the New England Theatre Conference annual convention and the American College Regional Dance Festival. This year's University Theatre Season includes the following: The Mikado, Mound Builders, Oediupus Rex, Whose Life is it Anyway? and The Dance Concert. The Children's Theatre Productions for this year are Pinocchio and Bears, Birds, Boas, and Elephants (Zornio winner). TRY produces Summer and Spring Little Red Wagon and CARAVAN tours.
Dance Instructor Gay Nardone begins teaching Theatre Dance for the Department. University Theatre Productions for this season include: She Loves Me, Veronica's Room, Candide, The Chalk Garden, and The Dance Concert. The Children's Theatre Productions for this year are Aladdin (Zornio Winner) and Bonanza Week(Peanut Butter Players). TRY produces Summer and Spring Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN tours.
University Theatre Productions are: The Fantastiks, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All to You, The Indian Wants the Bronx, The Taming of the Shrew, Black Rain and The Dance Concert. The Children's Theatre Productions for this year are Majestic Madness (Zornio winner)and Bonanza Week (Peanut Butter Players). TRY produces Summer and Spring Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN tours.
The Theatre Department hosts the American College Regional Theatre Festival. University Theatre Productions for this year are: Working, Loot, The Visit, The Servant of Two Masters, and The Dance Concert. The Children's Theatre Productions for this year are Brewstopher (Zornio winner) and The Arkansaw Bear. TRY produces Summer and Winter/Spring Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN tours.
The Anna Zornio Children's Theatre Playwriting Award is expanded to a nationwide contest. For the second year in a row, UNH hosts the American College Regional Theatre Festival. University Theatre Productions this year include: The Homecoming, Under Milkwood, The Crucible, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and The Spring Dance Concert. The Children's Theatre Productions for this year are Wiley and the Hairyman and Bonanza Week(Peanut Butter Players). TRY produces Summer and Spring Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN tours.
Technical Director Raymond Bernier dies in September following a long illness. UNH hosts the American College New England Regional Dance Festival in the winter. The University Theatre Productions for this year include: The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus, Follies, Temptations, The Dance Concert, and What Men Don't Tell Women. Children's Theatre Productions for this year are: The Princess From The Sea (Zornio winner) and Matt and Lulu. TRY produces The Little Red Wagon and CARAVAN tours.
This year sees the passing of Dr. Joseph Batcheller whose guidance and vision shaped and influenced the educational theatre program at UNH for forty years. Guest artist Tony Kushner (Angels in America) directs Mother Courage in the Spring. University Theatre Productions include: Runaways, The Dining Room, In The Shadow of the Glen/The Well of Saints, The Dance Concert, and Mother Courage. Children's Theatre Productions include: Amahl and the Night Visitors and The Starship Orion Discovery (Zornio winner). TRY produces The Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN. Showcase presentations include a mini-musical production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Professor David Richman joins the Theatre Faculty as Theatre Historian. Daniel Raymond is hired as the Department's first permanent full-time Assistant Technical Director and Ruth Grossen becomes the Department's new Costumer. A senior project, The Actor's Nightmare, is sent out as an experimental ARTSReach tour. University Theatre Productions include: No, No Nanette, Wild Kingdom, Baby With The Bath Water, The Dance Concert and Macbeth. Children's Theatre Productions include: The Ice Wolf and Medieval Masquerade or The Tale of Aradian and Theone (Zornio Winner). TRY produces The Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN. Showcase presentations include a mini-musical production of The Most Happy Fella.
TRY tours the first Spring ARTSReach production, selecting Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors. Dance Professor Jean Morris Brown, who has taught at UNH for 25 years, dies in June. University Theatre Productions include: The Foreigner, The Orsteia, Die Fledermaus, The Comedy of Errors (touring production) The Dance Concert, and The Lower Depths. Children's Theatre Productions include: The Phantom Tollbooth and Journey Towards The Light (Zornio winner). There is also a small musical production of Goblin Market. TRY produces The Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN with Summer and Spring tours, and tours ArtsReach.
UNH hosts the America College Theatre Festival. University Theatre Productions include: Into the Woods, The Trial, A Lie in the Mind, The Hypochondriac (sic), Odyssey (ARTSReach touring production), The Dance Concert and All's Well That Ends Well. Children's Theatre Productions are: A Tree With Arms (Zornio winner) and Of Cabbages and Kings and Differences We Sing. TRY produces The Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN with Summer and Spring tours. One hundred alumni return to campus to perform in the Friends of Musical Theatre fundraising production of Razzle Dazzle which honors 20 years of musical theatre classes at UNH.
David Ramsey joins the Department of Theatre and Dance as Technical Director. University Theatre productions include: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Front Page, Hedda Gabler, The Merry Wives of Windsor (ARTSReach production), The Dance Concert and Alcestis. Children's Theatre productions are: The Book Dragon (Zornio winner) and Step on a Crack. TRY produces The Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN with Summer and Spring tours. The Friends of Musical Theatre fundraiser alumni show is Jerry's Girls.
Carol Fisher is hired and develops the puppetry program. University Theatre Productions include: Tit For Tat (Measure for Measure), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Dance Concert and Assassins. There is a Children's Showcase Production and the Children's Theatre Production in the fall. The Anna Zornio winner is The King Stag. TRY produces the Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN. The Friends of Musical Theatre alumni fundraiser show is Nunsense.
The faculty in Theatre Education begin Summer Workshops for Teachers. Faculty travel to London to lay the groundwork for a new program called "The UNH Theatre London Experience". University Theatre productions include: You Can't Take it With You, Tartuffe, The Twenty-First Annual U.P.P.'s, UNH Dance Theatre, A Midsummer Night's Dream (ArtsReach touring production) and Once Upon a Mattress, University productions for young audiences include: The Secret of the Mystical Prism, and the Anna Zornio Award winning play Tortoise Vs. Hare. TRY produces spring and summer tours of The Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN. The Friends of Musical Theatre alumni fundraiser show is Elementary, My Dear Watson. by alums Rick and Meg Bienick.
Joan William Churchill is hired as head of the Design Area. She is now the Department's principle scenic and costume designer and also teaches courses in the technical and design areas. Sarah Jane Marschner is hired to build the Introduction to Theatre course. Nancy Saklad creates a staged reading series entitled "Theatre A-La-Carte." This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of TRY's Little Red Wagon program. University Theatre productions include: Me and My Girl, Charley's Aunt, The Twenty-Second Annual U.P.P.'s, UNH Dance Theatre, The Rimer's of Eldritch, and The Adding Machine. University Theatre for Young Audience productions include: the Anna Zornio Award winning play Creature Concert, and The House at Pooh Corner. The Theatre A-La-Carte Series presents Loveletters, Letters Home, R.U.R, and A Puppet Party. TRY produces spring and summer tours of The Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN and also produces a weeklong Little Red Wagon 25th Birthday Celebration which includes performances by TRY alums. The Friends of Musical Theatre grows into ArtsFuture and produces the fundraiser, UNH on Broadway, in New York City. The department awards Marcy Carsey with the first ArtsFuture Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award.
A scholarship is established to honor Joseph D. Batcheller. Gilbert "Dav" Davenport retires. University Theatre productions include: The Glass Menagerie, The Wizard of Oz, The Twenty-Third Annual U.P.P.'s, UNH Dance Theatre (which includes a children's production of Peter and the Wolf), Romeo and Juliet (ArtsReach touring production) and The Matchmaker. The University Children's Theatre presents Charlotte's Web. The Staged Reading Series presents Lettice and Lovage, King Lear and On Tidy Endings. TRY produces spring and summer tours of The Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN. The ArtsFuture Alumni fundraiser is 1776.
David Kaye and Julie Brinker join the Department to build the Performance and Theatre Education areas. University Theatre season includes Picnic, Fiddler on the Roof, On The Line, 1997 UNH Dance Company Concert (featuring Pinocchio), Dancing at Lughnasa, and The Rivals. The Little Red Wagon/CARAVAN produces a summer tour. ArtsFuture alumni fundraiser is Playing the Polyester Decade by alum, John Garand.
The summer sees the first fielding of the department's softball team. The Department adopts a faculty governance structure. University Theatre season includes Lysistrata, Into The Woods, Happy Days, 1998 UNH Dance Concert, Rumplestiltskin, and De Donde. TRY produces the traditional Little Red Wagon and received a grant for alumni, John Garand and Deena Clevenson to write and tour a sustainability musical Blunderland. The show was performed as part of the ArtsFuture summer fundraiser.
University Theatre season includes Pippin, An Enemy of the People, Pippi Longstocking, Moby Dick, 1999 Dance Company Concert, and Julius Caesar.
University Theatre season includes Antigone, The Boyfriend, The Basset Table, 2000 Dance Company Concert, Farther Along and Jungle Book. The first Musical Theatre ArtsReach tour Ragtime to Rap traveled throughout New England.
Deborah Kinghorn joins the department. Renovations to the Johnson Theatre rigging system are completed. University Theatre season includes Blood Brothers, The Servant of Two Masters, Simple Simon's Secret, The Memorandum, 2001 UNH Dance Concert and The Merchant of Venice. UNH hosts the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for New England-Region 1. Blood Brothers is preformed at the festival and Theatre & Dance major Lindsay Joy is selected as a finalist for her 10-minute play. She becomes one of eight nation-wide. Lindsay later goes on to win the award at the national festival in Washington DC. The ArtsReach tour Shakespeare 2001, sponsored by TRY, travels to high schools throughout New England. TRY produces "The Red Wagon Ocean Adventure" and "Wiley and the Hairy Man" for its annual New England tour.
University Theatre season includes Gypsy, Arms and the Man, Kindertransport, The Good Person of Szechwan, 2002 Dance Company Concert, and Western Trail. The ArtsReach tour Now That's Funny traveled throughout New England
University Theatre season includes Cymbeline, Twelve Angry Jurors, The Frog Prince, Lend Me A Tenor, 2003 Dance Company Concert and Follies. The ArtsReach tour The Frog Prince traveled throughout New England.
Prof. Raina Ames joins the department and becomes the new Director of Theatre Education. The University Theatre season includes No, No Nanette, Tartuffe, The Cure at Troy, Rake's Progress, 2004 Dance Company Concert and The Dancing Spider. The ArtsReach tour History High Notes travels throughout New England.
This year sees the passing of Ruth Grossen, an Instructor and the department's Costume Shop Supervisor for the last 15 years. Arthur Lessac, one of the most highly regarded teachers of voice, speech, singing and movement in the world, visited the department in April and conducted several workshops with students. The University Theatre season includes Titanic, The Musical, Copenhagen, A Chorus of Disapproval, Much Ado About Nothing, 2005 Dance Company Concert and And Then They Came For Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank. And Then They Came For Me also toured throughout New England as part of the annual ArtsReach tour.
Stephanie Patrick-Chalfant joins the department as it's new Costume Coordinator. In August, Prof. Kaye and Prof. Richman, along with over a dozen THDA students, presented the play The Tempest on Appledore Island. This special performance was sponsored by the UNH Theatre & Dance Department, Cornell University, and the Shoals Marine Laboratory. The University Theatre season includes A Little Night Music, A Murder Is Announced, All My Sons, The Palestinian, 2006 Dance Company Concert and The Nastiest Drink in the World (Anna Zornio Award Winner). The ArtsReach tour Peter and the Wolf travels throughout New England. Hala Nassar, a Palestinian Theatre and Arab Literature Scholar, speaks to UNH students in conjunction with "The Palestinian." "The Palestinian" is also performed at Yale University. Michael O'Malley, a 1988 graduate of UNH and the Theatre & Dance Department, gives the keynote address at the 2006 UNH Commencement Ceremony. O'Malley also conducts a Q&A with current THDA majors.
After 38 years in the department, Carol Lucha-Burns retires in January. Prof. Lucha-Burns touched hundreds of students during her tenure in the department. Nancy Pearson joins the Department in November as its new Director of Marketing & Communications. The University Theatre season includes Seussical, Hamlet, X-Factor, The Greek Trilogy Project, 2007 Dance Company Concert and Adaptation. The Greek Trilogy Project included all three campus within the University System of New Hampshire (UNH, Plymouth State University, and Keene State College). Each campus performed one of the trilogy pieces, and the entire trilogy was performed at each campus. As part of this event, author and noted professor of Classics Dr. James Arieti conducted a lecture entitled "SPOILS OF WAR." The lecture focused on the plays The Trojan Women, Agamemnon and Electra. The Aerial Dance Program is featured in many local, national, and international media outlets, including CBS news, Le Devoir (a Canadian newspaper), and CBC Radio (Canadian Public Radio.)
Matt Nesmith joins the department as its new director of Musical Theatre. The University Theatre season includes A Doll's House, All Shook Up, Midwives, Shakespeare In Hollywood, 2008 Dance Company Concert and Ubu Roi. On October 13, 2007, three former UNH Department of Theatre and Dance Alums returned to UNH to help raise money for the Carol Lucha-Burns Musical Theatre Endowment Fund as part of UNH’s 70’s Decade Reunion Event. Many Theatre and Dance alums attended; all told, there were nearly 200 people in the audience. Students & Faculty participate in the Kennedy Center ACTF Region 1 Festival in Fitchburg, MA. UNH's production of MIDWIVES was presented the KCACTF Region I Social Impact Award. The Double Edge Theatre Company conducts a two-day intensive workshop with students. In February, they perform "Republic of Dreams" in the Hennessy Theatre. The department has it's first reception honoring student scholarship and fellowship recipients. Prof. David Richman gives the keynote address at the annual University Honors Convocation.
Joan Churchill retires after 14 years of service to the UNH Theatre & Dance Department. The Hennessy Theatre is converted into an experimental, black box theatre. The University Theatre season includes Little Women, A Winter's Tale, I C No Arrlechino, The Boy Who Stood Still, 2009 Dance Company Concert and Shoulders. Students & Faculty participate in the Kennedy Center ACTF Region 1 Festival in Fitchburg, MA. UNH's production of I C No Arrlechino is invited to the festival as a regional selection and Ubu Roi received the KCACTF Region I Special Merit Award for Outstanding Ensemble.
The University Theatre season includes Curtains, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Tintypes, 2010 Dance Company Concert and Trojan Barbie. UNH hosts Kennedy Center ACTF Region 1 Festival.
UNH celebrates all arts on campus with "Arts for Life", a year-long celebration of the arts at UNH. The celebration coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Paul Creative Arts Center. Szu-Feng Chen joins the design faculty of the department. The University Theatre season includes Rent, Voices of Terezin, Hamlet in 7 Years, Staged Readings in Rep: The Season of Lust and Betrayal, 2011 Dance Company Concert and Museum.
In the spring, the department presents the world premiere, “Song of the Pharaoh” by acclaimed Ghanaian playwright and visiting scholar, Mohammed Ben-Abdallah. Commissioned for the UNH Department of Theatre & Dance, “Song of the Pharaoh” was made possible by Cultural Stages: The Woodward International Drama and Dance Initiative, whose aim is to broaden and deepen the understanding of International cultures through drama and dance. Mohammed Ben-Abdallah has joined the faculty of Theatre & Dance this spring to teach an undergraduate course in playwriting, and was on-hand during the rehearsal process. The University Theatre season includes Company, Three Sisters, The Spoon River Anthology, The Memory of Water, the 2012 Dance Company Concert and Song of the Pharaoh.
The University Theatre season includes Macbeth, Avenue Q, Old Times, Spring Awakening, the 2013 Dance Company Concert and the J.C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays.
C. Larry Robertson retires after 36 years of service to the UNH Theatre & Dance Department. The University Theatre season includes Our Town, Anything Goes, eStranged, Sila (Winner of the 2012 Woodward International Playwriting Prize), the 2014 Dance Company Concert and the J.C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays. The Studio Musical Series begins with its inaugural production of Next To Normal.
Dan Raymond retires after 27 years of service to the UNH Theatre & Dance Department. Assaf Benchetrit joins the Dance program. The UNH Marine Docents and N.H. Sea Grant/UNH Cooperative Extension team up with the UNH Department of Theatre and Dance to write, produce and perform a new puppet musical that focuses on changes in the Gulf of Maine entitled What's All the ComOcean?. The production tours throughout New England as part of the Little Red Wagon series. The University Theatre season includes The Comedy of Errors, Chicago, A Shayna Maidel, Keep on Walkin' (Winner of the 2012 Anna Zornio Children's Theatre Playwriting Award), the 2015 Dance Company Concert and the J.C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays. The Studio Musical Series production is Dog Fight.
Lih-Hwa Yu joins the department's design and theatre technology faculty. David Kaye receives the 2016 Limberg Award; an award given out by the College of Liberal Arts annually "to recognize one truly outstanding scholar and teacher within the College." Through funding from Cultural Stages: The Woodward International Drama and Dance Initiative. members of Papermoon Puppet Theatre from Indonesia visit the department to teach a class in puppetry and mask making and also to work with UNH students to create the theatrical piece Sematakaki. Underling Productions, a theatre company founded by UNH alumni, visit UNH to perform Twelfth Night and conduct workshops with THDA students. The Johnson Theatre hosts a presidential primary debate sponsored by MSNBC. David Kaye's play How I Brought Peace to the Middle East: A Tragicomedy wins the 2014 Spotlight Award for Best Original Script and is an official selection for the prestigious United Solo Festival in NYC. The UNH Symphony Orchestra and UNH Theatre & Dance Department collaborate on a presentation of excerpts from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. The University Theatre season includes Dead Man's Cell Phone, Big Fish, Sematakaki, The Crucible, the 2016 Dance Company Concert and the J.C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays. The Studio Musical Series production is Little Fish.
In collaboration with the Confucius Institute, faculty and students from the Dance program travel to Chengdu China to perform and conduct workshops. Through funding from Cultural Stages: The Woodward International Drama and Dance Initiative, Algerian theatre company Istijimam visited UNH to perform. The UNH Symphony Orchestra and UNH Theatre & Dance Department collaborate on a presentation of Peter and the Wolf. The University Theatre season includes Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, A Man's World, The J.C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays, Oedipus at Colonus, the 2017 Dance Company Concert and 7 Boxes of Books (part of the University's 150 celebration). Odeipus at Colonus is presented as part of the Oedipus Cycle, a collaboration with Plymouth State University and Keene State University. The Studio Musical Series production is First Date. The Little Red Wagon Tour presents Luna Goes to Mars and Villains Varmints and Valor.
Sarah Marschner retires after 24 years of service to the UNH Theatre & Dance Department. David Richman is awarded the Jean Brierley Award for Excellence in Teaching. Students perform dance, dramatic and Musical Theatre pieces at the UNH 150th Celebration at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH. The UNH Symphony Orchestra and UNH Theatre & Dance Department collaborate on a presentation of Reminiscence. The University Theatre season includes Bone Bridge (winner of the 2016 Woodward International Playwriting Prize), Shrek, The J.C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays, Pericles, the 2018 Dance Company Concert and Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play. The Studio Musical Series production is Lizzie. Staged readings of Honor Killing and Hotel Jerusalem (finalists for the Woodward Internation Playwriting Prize) are presented. The Little Red Wagon Tour presents Fabled: A Journey Through the World of Aesop and Treasure Island.
This year sees the passings of faculty emeritus Prof. John Edwards and Costume Shop Coordinator Stephanie Patrick-Chalfant. Nina Morrison joins the department in the areas of introductory theatre and playwriting. Victoria Carot joins the department as Costume Shop Coordinator. David Kaye's one-person play How I Brought Peace to the Middle East: A Tragicomedy is performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. The University Theatre season includes If/Then, Dancing at Lughnasa, The J.C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays, The Imaginary Invalid, the 2019 Dance Company Concert and Momotaro: Peach Boy Hero (winner of the 2017 Zornio Children's Theatre Playwriting Award.) The Studio Musical Series production is Ordinary Days. The Little Red Wagon Tour presents Fabled: A Journey Through the World of Aesop and Treasure Island.
Through funding from Cultural Stages: The Woodward International Drama and Dance Initiative, members of the Kaso Jogi Theatre Troupe from Japan work with UNH students to produce the English-language premiere of The Gate. Students also participate in workshops by The Pantos Dance Company, Choreographer Robin Marcotte, Casting Director Arnold Mungioli, and performance artist Avner the Eccentric. The department participates in a UNH Performing Arts Showcase at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, NH. The University Theatre season includes Bright Star, The Odyssey, The J.C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays, and The Gate. The department is forced to cancel the remainder of the season, including the spring and summer touring productions, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Unable to be presented in-person, the preparation that goes into The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is refocused into a new devised work. The result, The Curious Incident of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is presented as a live streaming performance.
Thomas Alsip joins the department as Director of the Musical Theatre program. Professors Deb Kinghorn and David Ramsey, along with Theatre Events Manager Robert Henry and Administrative Assistant Chris Peabody, retire after a combined 110 years of service to the University. Despite the continued effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the department adapts so it can continue to bring theatre and dance to the UNH campus. We The People, a devised theatre piece, is performed to a small in-house audience as well as streamed online. A fully produced film of A Midsummer Night’s Dream gives student actors and technicians valuable training on working on a film set. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is presented live-to-tape and streamed online. The J.C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays are presented as play readings streamed live. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is presented to a live audience as a concert performance. Hecuba is presented outside in the Paul Creative Arts Center courtyard.
CJ Sneath and Catie Sneath join the department as Technical Director and Manager of Theatre Events respectively. Students participate in a workshop in Standardized Patient Training. Actor and alumnus Maryann Plunkett talks to students about her career on stage and screen. Priyanka Shetty brings her one-woman show The Elephant in the Room to the UNH campus. Students from the Department of Music and Art add their talents to a fully produced film version of She Kills Monsters. In addition, the University Theatre season includes Twelfth Night, The J.C. Edwards Undergraduate Prize Plays, Into the Woods, the 2022 Dance Company Concert and Salim Salim (winner of the 2021 Woodward Playwriting Prize.) Play readings of the competition's two runner-up plays, Meyerhold and The Shaking Earth, are presented live to a streaming audience.