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Department of Theater

"Haunted City" studies race in Philadelphia
For his new book, professor Christian DuComb took on a dual role as performer and researcher. READ MORE about DuComb's work.
Theater Faculty
Theater Faculty
Compelling instruction and professional performance and direction. Meet our theater faculty.
Tanya Calamoneri Leads Dance
Tanya Calamoneri Leads Dance
Colgate's theater program now offers a full slate of dance courses. READ MORE about dance at Colgate
Academic Program in Theater
Academic Program in Theater
Our course offerings will challenge your knowledge and assumptions and engage your desire to learn.  READ MORE about the academic program in Theater
Student Theater
Student Theater
You have many curricular and extracurricular opportunities to get involved with theater on campus.  READ MORE about student theater opportunities
Latest News
Latest News
There is plenty going on in the Colgate theater community. ALL THEATER NEWS
Tour the Theater
Tour the Theater
Brehmer is a proscenium theater with a capacity of 336. Tour the theater with this 360-degree panorama!
Act, dance, direct, design, and study theater with our extraordinary faculty.

Our Mission

When we “get into the skin” of another human being (in life or in theater), we learn something both about the other person and about ourselves.

In Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, when Perdita puts on a costume for a festival, she says: “Sure, this robe of mine / Does change my disposition.” Playing a role transforms her, even after the festival is over. By studying and making theater, Colgate students act out a variety of perspectives on the world in order to better understand it.

Theater sharpens logic and intuition, and personalizes knowledge through the practice of patience and empathy. By teaching students to act, direct, design, and write for the theater, our courses develop skills in leadership and collaboration that apply to any field of endeavor. Theater students learn to problem solve and self-start through immersion in the challenging, unpredictable, and exhilarating reversals of the creative process.

MORE ABOUT MAJOR AND MINORThe theater department offers both a major and a minor in theater.

Department News

Syracuse and Colgate Universities Stage Medieval Christmas Pageant
Katherine McGerr - Syracuse Drama Department / 310.443.3180 /

Christian DuComb - Colgate Theater Department / 315.228.7993 /

HAMILTON, NY – On Saturday, December 2, students from the Syracuse University Department of Drama will perform the medieval Second Shepherds’ Play in the Hall of Presidents, on the second floor of Colgate’s Student Union.  The play dramatizes the angels’ message to the shepherds on Christmas Eve, but it’s hardly a simple announcement.  The author uses humor to speak to key issues of community -- unrest, fragmentation, thievery, charity, and reconciliation -- that are as relevant today as they were in the fifteenth century.  With music, puppetry, and a fresh, modern-language translation, this performance will get the whole family into the holiday spirit. 


For those with a scholarly bent, the show will be followed by an afternoon symposium with faculty and students from Syracuse, Colgate, Cornell, the University of Rochester, and farther afield to discuss the Second Shepherds’ Play.  According to Lynn Staley, Professor of English at Colgate, “this is a symposium where anyone can offer ideas, where we can talk about the issues raised by the performance.”  The performance and symposium are co-sponsored by the Colgate Arts Council and the Central New York Humanities Corridor, with the goal of engaging scholars and the general public in meaningful dialogue about the arts and humanities.  


There will be two additional performance of the Second Shepherds’ Play on Tuesday, December 5, in the Loft Theater at Syracuse Stage.  Katherine McGerr of Syracuse University directs the show, with music direction by Hannah Shaffer and puppet design my Carmen Maria Martinez.  The text is based on an adaptation of the Second Shepherds Play by Lister M. Matheson, William G. Marx, and Robert L. Kinnunen.


Fact sheet for The Second Shepherds’ Play

December 2, 10:30 a.m., Hall of Presidents, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY.

Immediately followed by lunch and symposium.


December 5, 7:00 and 9:00 p.m., The Loft Theater, Syracuse Stage, 820 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY.



Directed by Katherine McGerr

Music Direction by Hannah Shaffer

Puppet Design by Carmen Maria Martinez

Featuring the work of students from the Syracuse University Department of Drama



Get into the holiday spirit with a performance of the medieval Second Shepherds’ Play, a funny (and surprisingly timely) dramatization of the angels’ message to the shepherds on Christmas Eve.


To request photos, interviews, and more information, please contact Katherine McGerr,

New Publication

Haunted City: Three Centuries of Racial Impersonation in Philadelphia

(Theater: Theory/Text/Performance)
Paperback – July 28, 2017 by Christian DuComb (Author)

Haunted City by Christian DuCombHaunted City explores the history of racial impersonation in Philadelphia from the late eighteenth century through the present day. The book focuses on select historical moments, such as the advent of the minstrel show and the ban on blackface makeup in the Philadelphia Mummers Parade, when local performances of racial impersonation inflected regional, national, transnational, and global formations of race.

Available today:

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Success after Colgate

Colgate alumni who majored in theater are pursuing careers in a variety of fields. Check out just a few of the possibilities out there for our majors. READ MORE about success after Colgate

Upcoming Events

Past Event

Paul Hackenmueller presentation
Paul Hackenmueller Presentation
Theater & Opera
The Santa Fe Opera: The Golden Cockerel Opera Philadelphia: Carmen, La Traviata Bucharest National Opera: La Traviata The Dallas Opera: Becoming Santa (World Premiere), The Golden Cockerel  Gotham Chamber Opera: Baden Baden 1927  Boston Lyric Opera: Werther, I Puritani, Tosca Pittsburgh Opera: Rodelinda Opera Omaha: La Boheme, Tosca Opera Colorado: Romeo & Juliet, Rusalka Minnesota Opera: Rusalka Palm Beach Opera: Orfeo et Euridice. Broadway: (Assoc) Disgraced, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Superfly, the new musical, Fela!, Desire Under the Elms, A Bronx Tale, Mauritius, The Frogs, Aida, and Martin Guerre. The Guthrie Theater: Confluence, An Evening of One Acts, Short Stories, An Evening of Short Plays, Seven Eleven, I Keep Walking on Sinking Sand, A Long Walk Syracuse Stage: Caroline or Change GEVA: A Christmas Carol Alliance Theater: Ghost Brother’s of Darkland County, Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel (Associate) Merrimack Repertory Theater: God of Carnage, Tally’s Folly, Fabuloso, Mrs. Whitney, Half ‘n Half ‘n Half, Homestead Crossing Juilliard School: John Barton’s The Greeks: Part One Children’s Theater Company: The Sneetches, The Wizard of Oz Perseverance Theater: Treasure Island, Skin of our Teeth Berkshire Theater Group: Same Time Next Year, No Wake, Finian’s Rainbow, Homestead Crossing Portland Stage: Homestead Crossing McCarter Theater Center / Princeton University: Troy: After & Before People’s Light & Theater Company: Sleeping Beauty, Biloxi Blues, Tale of Two Cities, Cinderella, Treasure Island: A Musical Panto, Twelfth Night Theater Latte Da: Parade Off-Broadway: Happy Birthday, TACT; Cloud Tectonics, Culture Project; Walk Two Moons, Lortel; Jump/Rope, Square Peg Productions; Peter Pan, The Great American War Machine, Irondale Ensemble; Carrie, PS122.

Artist Performances
Katy Perry, Michael Buble, Bruno Mars, Norah Jones, Courtyard Hounds, Tony Bennett, Beyonce, John Legend, James Taylor, Alison Kraus, No Doubt, Taylor Swift, B.O.B., Pearl Jam, Faith Hill, Matisyahu, Shakira, Justin Timberlake, Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, Black Eyed Peas, Luke Bryan, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Lionel Ritchie, Jon McLaughlin, Billy Ray Cyrus, K’naan, Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Hudson, Jackie Evancho, Gloria Estefan, & The Fray.

Corporate Clients
Target Stores, Carlson Companies, Boston Scientific, Starkey Inc., Helms Briscoe, & Cargill.

M.F.A. New York University Tisch School of the Arts; B.A. University of Minnesota

Most Recent Productions

Belleville by Amy Herzog, directed by Adrian Giurgea

Belleville, by Amy Herzog, a full length drama brings to life young Americans Zack, and Abby, who have the perfect ex-pat life in Paris: a funky bohemian apartment in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Belleville; a stable marriage; and Zack’s noble mission to fight pediatric AIDS. But when Abby finds Zack, at home one afternoon when he’s supposed to be at work, the questions and answers that follow shake the foundations of their seemingly beautiful life.

Starring Fiona A. Boateng, Jonathan Burton, Tariro Chinyanganya, and Abdel Aziz B. Sanogo.

Directed by Adrian Giurgea; scenic design by Marjorie Kellogg; costume design by Fiona A. Boateng; lighting design by Haoqi Xia; and technical direction by Joel Morain.

Belleville is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

Department Contacts

ChairApril Sweeney
Administrative assistant: Jacqueline Old Coyote-Logan (
Office: Dana Arts Center
Phone: 315-228-7639
Dept. Fax: 315-228-7002