School of Theatre
Succeed around the globe
Award-winning faculty whose experience spans the world provide individualized instruction, giving students the extra edge they need to succeed. Preparation that extends beyond skills and experience – that’s what you’ll find in the School of Theatre.
The School of Theatre offers undergraduate and graduate degrees covering a range of areas, including Acting, Musical Theatre, Stage Management, Theatre Design and Technology, and Directing.
Live theatre at Centre Stage
The School of Theatre houses Penn State Centre Stage (PSCS), the professional theatre training program in Central Pennsylvania. PSCS presents theatrical masterpieces and new gems – including a series of livestreamed virtual performances – by emerging masters.
Penn State embraced my vision for a cross-disciplinary education that combined electrical engineering with theatre and stage lighting.
Inter-College Bachelor of Philosophy, 2005
Andrew Giffin – a Schreyer Scholar who earned a inter-college Bachelor of Philosophy incorporating studies in Theatre Design and Technology plus Electrical Engineering – is the associate lighting designer for the rock band, Phish, and is widely considered as the top lighting programmer in the industry. Andrew has designed and programmed light shows for musicians such as Pearl Jam, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber in addition to his work on music award shows, theatre productions and sporting events.
Studios, Labs and Venues
Theatre Arts Production Studio (TAPS)
Penn State Downtown Theatre
Theatre Lighting Lab
Head of Musical Theatre
John Simpkins is head of Musical Theatre and the Nagle Family Endowed Chair at Penn State. He is also a professional director who recently directed the world premiere of Tony-nominated Joe Iconis’ Love in Hate Nation, which was commissioned by Penn State Musical Theatre as part of its New Musicals Initiative.
His recent new musical credits include the World Premiere of Legendale (music by Andrea Daly, words by Jeff Bienstock) at Fredericia Teater in Denmark and the subsequent American Premiere at Human Race Theatre Company. Recent new plays include the World Premieres of Raging Skillet (by Jacques Lamarre) at Theaterworks Hartford, The Bus (by Jim Lantz) at 59E59 Theaters and For Better, For Worse (by Reed Arnold). Regionally, he has directed at Sacramento Music Circus, Lyric Theatre Oklahoma, North Carolina Theatre, the Engeman Theatre, and Sharon Playhouse (where he also served as Artistic Director).
News from A&A
College of Arts and Architecture to honor Alumni Award winners on Oct. 5
The College of Arts and Architecture will honor its 2023 Alumni Award recipients on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 5 p.m. at the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center, 146 S. Allen