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The First Stop for Game-Changing Artists

Hamilton’s Tony-nominated set designer David Korins created some of his first sets for an evening of one-act plays at UMass Theater. Welcome to Night Vale podcast actor and Neo York Neo-Futurist Meg Bashwiner cut her acting teeth playing a kitchenmaid in one of our productions. Ben Stanton (Fun Home, Spring Awakening) and Justin Townsend (American Psycho, The Humans), both Tony-nominated lighting designers, once spent a semester rounding out their understanding of the craft of theater by working in our scene shop together.

Our current students share their work ethic, dedication to the craft, and intelligence as artists, and we expect that in just a few short years, they, too, will be re-shaping the national theater community.

The performers, artists and technicians running the show now at UMass will be the ones who tell the stories that reflect on our changing world and its connections to the past and future.

Come to a performance and be part of the crowd as they begin their artistic journey.

The Misanthrope


Written by Molière, adapted by Constance Congdon ‘82G
Directed by Mary Corinne Miller

Rand Theater
Wednesday, October 19, 2016, Half-Price Preview at 7:30 pm
Friday, October 21, 2016, Opening Night at 7:30 pm
Saturday, October 22, 2016, Performance at 7:30 pm
Wednesday, October 26, 2016, Student Matinee at 10:00 am
Thursday, October 27, 2016, Performance at 7:30 pm
Friday, October 28, 2016, Performance at 7:30 pm
Saturday, October 29, 2016, Performance at 2 pm
Saturday, October 29, 2016, Performance at 7:30 pm

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Why put on a comedy written 350 years ago? Because these characters are still funny today — we see them on our TV screens in many contemporary comedies. Alceste is the neurotic introvert who simultaneously craves isolation and connection. His object of desire is Célimène, a social butterfly who carefully curates her image in a way any Instagram star would envy. She’s got Alceste and the painfully hip Oronte on the hook, along with countless others, while her best frenemy, Arsinoé, attempts to manipulate the situation so she can win Alceste for herself. Come enjoy a backstage pass to a live studio taping of the comedy “The Misanthrope” and see how pointedly Molière’s snarky observations about love and friendship translate to relationships played out in the context of our screen-obsessed modern-day world.


refugee image

Written by Milan Dragicevich
With music by Tim Eriksen
Directed by Nikita Milivojević
Curtain Theater
Wednesday, November 30, 2016, Half-Price Preview at 7:30 pm
Friday, December 2, 2016, Opening Night at 7:30 pm
Saturday, December 3, 2016, Performance at 7:30 pm
Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Performance at 7:30 pm
Thursday, December 8, 2016, Performance at 7:30 pm
Friday, December 9, 2016, Performance at 7:30 pm
Saturday, December 10, 2016, Performance at 2 pm
Saturday, December 10, 2016, Performance at 7:30 pm

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Two sisters gaze across an endless stretch of barren desert at the El Shatt refugee camp, while a war rages across Europe.  In the hollows of southern Appalachia, an idealistic guitar-strumming activist fights to preserve a way of life. On the streets of embattled Belgrade, a hustler struggles to survive in the underground markets of a desperate people.  What binds them together?  Where is home?  When we cross borders, what do we become?  This new play with music jumps across time and place, with a multigenerational story of displacement, capricious destiny, and the search for identity.

The Rand Lecture

Nikita Milivojevic

We invite all community members to join us Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. in the Rand Theater in the UMass Fine Arts Center for the Rand Lecture with Serbian director Nikita Milivojević.

Though officially billed as a lecture, the event will be more of a free-wheeling conversation, as Milivojević and Dragicevich discuss his work as an artist in Serbia, including Milivojević’s personal experiences creating theater in that war-torn country during the 1990s. They’ll also examine the role of the performing arts during civil unrest, turmoil, war, and economic sanctions, and how one goes about founding the first international Shakespeare festival in Serbia, as Milivojević did, in the aftermath of those experiences.

Post-show Talks

Please join us in the Curtain Theater immediately after the show on select nights for FREE post-show conversations with some of the artists involved in the show, as well as another conversation on the theme of refugees.

Dec 3 — A conversation with writer and faculty member Milan Dragicevich and Serbian director Nikita Milivojević
Dec 7 — Composer Tim Ericksen (Cordelia's Dad, Northampton Harmony) talks about the music he created for Refugee
Dec 9 — A conversation about refugee resettlement in the Pioneer Valley with community members who assist refugees, as well as a guest awaiting resettlement in the Pioneer valley.


hedda image

Written by Henrik Ibsen, translated by Eva Le Gallienne
Directed by Christina Pellegrini
Rand Theater
Wednesday, February 22, 2017, Half-Price Preview at 7:30 pm
Friday, February 24, 2017, Opening Night at 7:30 pm
Saturday, February 25, 2017, Performance at 7:30 pm
Wednesday, March 1, 2017, Performance at 7:30 pm
Thursday, March 2, 2017, Performance at 7:30 pm
Friday, March 3, 2017, Performance at 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 4, 2017, Performance at 2 pm
Saturday, March 4, 2017, Performance at 7:30 pm

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Groundbreaking at the time of its premiere, yet condemned for its portrayal of a “vicious, heartless, cowardly, unmoral, mischief-making vixen,” Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler has since come to be regarded as one of the most dimensional character portraits in theatrical history. Set within the 24 hours after Hedda and her husband return from their honeymoon, the play’s desperate, thrilling momentum puts us face-to-face with Hedda the woman: in all her biting wit, ironic humor, violent desperation and simmering rage.


Join us on Opening Night, Feb. 24, after the show, for a free Stag Party in the Fine Arts Center Atrium. There will be games, a photo area, snacks, and punch. Hedda wishes to be a "fly on the wall," at an event traditionally only men could attend, but at our party all are welcome.

Also: Feb. 25 — stay after for a talk about postering and slogan in women's rights movements, and March 3, stay for a discussion with the cast about devised theater.

UMass New Play Lab 2017

Produced by Claudia Nolan and Ifa Bayeza
Directed by Ifa Bayeza
Curtain Theater

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New works are the lifeblood of the American theatre. As a part of UMass’ long tradition of fostering and presenting new works to central Massachusetts, the theatre department sponsors a Play Lab every year.  Play Lab's mission is to help develop plays with bold and fresh forms that give voice to underrepresented communities and stories. Through an intensive selection process, we pick one new script that speaks to our campus community, and offer the playwright the thing they need most: a roomful of talented artists who dedicate a fortnight to helping them polish their rough gem into a diamond. Audience members are vital to this endeavor because their feedback helps shape the future of these new plays. Come be part of a community that fosters new work.

This year's plays:

life defying acts

LIFE DEFYING ACTS by Pam Dickler: A tale of two sisters caught in throes of America’s epidemic wave of juvenile depression and young adult suicide, the toll and atonement, recrimination, recovery.

Thursday, March 30, 2017, Opening Night at 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 1, 2017, Performance at 7:30 pm
Thursday, April 6, 2017, Performance at 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 8, 2017, Performance at 2 pm


i love sean

I LOVE SEAN by Sarah Einspanier: Who am I outside of a relationship? How do we connect, communicate when words are underwater? An absurdist modern Karaoke satire on the pursuit of love.

Saturday, April 8 at 5:30 pm

Meet the Playwrights

pam dickler



Originally from Bucks County, PA, Pam has been a part of Chicago's thriving theater community for many years. Her plays include the drama Life Defying Acts; the comedies Fugue in a Cold State and Looking Into It; and the children's musical, The Little Turtle, a parable on homelessness. Her one-act Promising premiered in the East Village Festival at New York's Metropolitan Playhouse, and her 10-minute comedy shorts Philbert Eats a Nut and Someone Has to Die Tonight, Indeed He Does were selected for Stage Left Theatre's DrekFest at ComedySportz.

Pam was a contributing writer for The Arab-Israeli Comedy Hour at Chicago's iO (formerly ImprovOlympic) and general managed the off-Broadway production and national tour of Miss Abigail's Guide... for Davenport Theatrical Enterprises.  As a producer/director, she had the pleasure of working with Tony-nominee Herb Schapiro, helping to shape his world-premiere of The Love Song of Saul Alinsky, which included weekly panel discussions with such luminaries as (then) Senator Barack Obama, Studs Terkel and Monsignor Jack Egan. As the founding managing director of Terrapin Theatre, she produced ten seasons of award-winning world-premieres, and directed such plays as Laurel & Hardy Sleep TogetherThe Inspector General, and From Thought to Finish. Pam received her BFA in theater from Syracuse University, where she later served on the College of Visual and Performing Arts' inaugural Advisory Board. She is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.


sarah einspanier


Sarah Einspanier is a playwright from Dallas, TX, currently living in Brooklyn. Select credits include Cherry Lane Mentor Project with Sheila Callaghan, Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writer’s Group, Horton Foote Scholar at Sewanee Writers’ Conference with Naomi Iizuka, resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm, and two-time honorable mention on the 2016 Kilroys List. She is a member of Ars Nova’s Play Group, the New Georges Jam, and RADY&BLOOM collective playmaking. Currently working on NATURE WHATEVER, as part of a New Georges Special *Water* Residency (upcoming showings at 3LD, June 2017). BA: Northwestern University.



The Happiest Song Plays Last

happiest song plays last

Written by Quiara Alegría Hudes
Directed by Jennifer Onopa
Rand Theater
Wednesday, April 5, 2017, Half-Price Preview at 7:30 pm
Friday, April 7, 2017, Opening Night at 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 8, 2017, Performance at 7:30 pm
Wednesday, April 12, 2017, Performance at 7:30 pm
Thursday, April 13, 2017, Performance at 7:30 pm
Friday, April 14, 2017, Performance at 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 15, 2017, Performance at 2 pm
Saturday, April 15, 2017, Performance at 7:30 pm

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There’s power in traditions, in the songs sung and the food served at gatherings and the way they can bind families and communities together across time and distance. Iraq war veteran Elliott is in Jordan to film a war movie and finds himself connecting with his costar Shar, against the backdrop of the Arab Spring. When he calls home, he speaks to his cousin Yaz, a music professor, who has opened her new home in Philadelphia to feed neighbors in need and struggles against a system that neglects the poor and the sick. Hudes’s play is a complex mixture, balancing epic historical events with intimate life moments, all of them connected through the wonders of modern technology and the richness of Puerto Rican cuatro music.

Please join us after these performances for conversation about the show:
April 8th, Talk-Back with Cast
April 13th, Veterans @ UMass
April 15th (post-matinee), Latinidad and the Performing Arts

Press release in Spanish

Ta’zieh — Between Two Rivers

tazieh image

Conceived by Nikoo Mamdoohi, Ifa Bayeza, and Q-Mars Haeri
Adapted and written by Ifa Bayeza
Directed by Nikoo Mamdoohi
Procession begins outside the main entrance to the Fine Arts Center; performance is at the Campus Center Plinth (above the Blue Wall)*
Thursday, April 27, 2017, Opening Night at 5:30 p.m.
Friday, April 28, 2017, Performance at 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 29, 2017, Performance at 2 pm
Sunday, April 30, 2017, Performance at 2 p.m.

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Using poetic text, music and spectacle, this Iranian traditional drama has evolved into a worldwide event that brings people together to work through social and community struggles.  Ta’zieh’s core elements resonate as we wrestle with our own complicated geopolitical landscape. This ancient mythic practice addresses tragedy and conflict in our own time. In an unprecedented outdoor performance, Tazieh will begin as a procession through the Umass campus with trumpets and drums.

*in case of rain, performances will be in the Curtain Theater; procession will still proceed from the Fine Arts Center entrance.



Seating for all mainstage shows is general admission.

Tickets are $16 regular admission, $8 for Five-College and high school students/seniors for all shows except the UMass New Play Lab, which are $4 and $8.

Subscribe to the UMass Theater and receive a 20% discount on tickets and a guaranteed spot in the audience; never worry about shows selling out again!

Group pricing is available for on and off-campus organizations.

Box office: 1-800-999-UMAS or 413-545-2511


Order the full season or a mini-subscription of 3 shows at a discount of 20% per individual subscription, or 25% for a couples subscription.

20 for 20: Buy 20 or more tickets, and get 20% off. Call the box office at 1-800-999-UMAS or 413-545-2511.

More than the mainstage!

Creativity isn’t limited to our mainstage. Our students also learn by collaborating across disciplines to produce groundbreaking pieces that explode conventions about theater, perform cutting-edge works they create from scratch, and mount brand new takes on old works.

Most of these works are free and open to the public, so if you’ve got an appetite for the new, visit our facebook page for announcements of independent student work.

Learn more

Talk about our shows!

Inspired, thrilled, confused, or even angry about what’s happening onstage?

Our scholars want to talk with you about what you’re about to see, to offer you a chance to reflect on what you experienced, and to let us know what you thought. Pre- or post-show events are offered on most nights of each production’s run. Share your emotional reaction with the artists, hear from community experts, or learn little-known facts about theater-making; each night will offer something for audiences.

Please see our website and facebook for the schedule of events as each production nears. Free and open to all.


Auditions for mainstage productions are open to all comers. Information is updated as it becomes available.

Learn more about auditions

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