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Hello and welcome!  
Chair of the Drama Department, Professor Denise Walen

Welcome all to the Vassar Drama Department and the Experimental Theatre of Vassar College for the 2022/23 academic year. Seeing so many smiling, eager, maskless faces has been a delight and I've spoken with many of you about how lovely it is to actually see one another. Classes and productions have already begun and the department seems alive again with activity. You will notice that we have several new visiting faculty, a new costume shop manager, and a guest director. Please welcome them and take every opportunity to learn from their experience. We also have a number of wonderful workshops, lectures, and presentations planned for the semester, which are described below. I hope all of you will take advantage of these exciting opportunities. At the end of the newsletter, you'll see an obituary of Evert Sprinchorn who taught in the department for nearly 40 years. He was an extraordinary person and I think you'll find his journey inspiring.


First year student meet and greet with the faculty and staff!
Welcome class of 2026! 
(full list:

Advisor to set designers

Set Designer for PIPPIN



Omri Bareket is a multidisciplinary maker, educator, and activist with focuses in craftwork accessibility, emergency medicine, and food justice. He graduated from Vassar in 2019, where he was awarded for his work on technical theatre pedagogy. After Vassar, Omri worked as a technician in the NYC Broadway, Off-Broadway, and independent theatre spheres followed by a role as an experiential technical design lead on projects for Nike, Target, Macy’s, Spotify, and Verizon. Omri has since left this work to pursue the Built With Project, his research project focused on makerspaces and community-based craftwork aiming to make making things accessible. He has returned to Vassar several times in the last few years as a consultant to the Shiva Theater and adviser to the 2021 CAAD Summer Research Project: Design as Research. Omri lives in Brooklyn, where he works as a NYC 911 paramedic and uses his other time working with mutual aid organizations in Brooklyn to share and apply his skills in craftwork and medicine. Omri is delighted to be back in the Hudson Valley teaching this semester!

For more information: 


Guest Director for PIPPIN



Joey Caverly was born and raised in Royal Oak, Michigan. He graduated with a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Gallaudet University in 2011. Soon after graduation, he joined National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD) for two years: he directed The McWilliamses, and performed in several plays, including Journey of Identity (playing the character Laurent Clerc) and A Child’s Christmas in Wales (playing the character Dylan Thomas). Since then, he has directed several plays and performed both stage and screen. He directed William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in both American Sign Language and spoken English for Community College of Baltimore County Community Theatre. He has also performed the lead character, Billy, for three different productions of Nina Raine’s Tribes (SpeakEasy Stage Company, Studio Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre) and was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award (one of the country’s most prestigious cultural honors) for his Studio Theatre performances. In 2018, he was the understudy for the character Orin for the Studio 54 (Broadway) production of Mark Medoff’s Children of a Lesser God. Most recently, he appeared in two episodes of NBC’s Chicago Med (Season 4): in the premiere episode (“Be My Better Half”) (9/27/2018) and the finale episode (“With a Brave Heart”) (5/22/2019). He also wrote a short play, “Civil Engagement,” that was accepted for a 2019 production in Deaf Spotlight’s Short Play Festival (Seattle, Washington). Caverly sees a problem with most portrayals of deaf people on stage and screen: “That they’re the problem, they’re the issue in the story that needs to be fixed, and frankly I’m just not feeling that that’s the lens that the world needs to see.”

For more information:

Costume Shop Manager


Leigh Davis is a costume designer, seamstress, artist and performer based in the Hudson Valley. She is excited to be returning to the Vassar Community. Leigh began sewing at a young age by teaching herself through books. She quickly found a love for cosplay, which is a passion she continues to indulge today. She went on to obtain a degree in theater from SUNY Potsdam. Having worked in both film and theater, her work has spanned everything from vampire thrillers to sci-fi jukebox musicals. Her latest costume design work includes House of Darkness directed by Neil Labute, a suspenseful feature film. As well as surrealist music videos Butterflies and Guitars Are Better Than Synthesizers by Alex Toth. With a background in fine arts, she views costume as its own form of art that is integral to storytelling. She looks forward to diving head first back into her first love, theater, in the very place where she got her first professional costume shop experience.

Adjunct Instructor
DRAM 213-01 Stage Mgmt.
DRAM 213-51 Stage Mgmt.



Chelsea Gillespie is a stage manager, artist, and educator. In 2013, she began working in New York after receiving her BA in Theater and Dance from The College of Wooster. Since then, she has toured as a stage manager all over the world. Her past credits include stage manager for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II, Ailey Camp, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Bucknell University, Dance Africa, The Fringe Festival, Inversion Theater, Marymount Manhattan College, New York City Center, NJPAC, Parsons Dance, Satellite Collective, Spring Studios, The Stella Adler Studio of Acting, The Ailey School, and The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. In addition to her production work, Chelsea enjoys teaching and guest lecturing. In her classes she aims to push the boundaries of creative problem solving and help students find their own artistic methodologies. When she’s not working, she loves reading a good book or spending time with her family outdoors. She will be teaching DRAM-213, Introduction to Stage Management in Production this year at Vassar.


Adjunct Instructor

DRAM 221-01

Sources of World Drama


Joanna Gurin is a teaching artist, arts activist and playwright. She received a BA from Bard College where she double majored in Human Rights and Theatre. She completed her M.A. in Applied Theatre: Drama in Educational, Community and Social Contexts at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is a PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center (CUNY). She is a Writing Across Curriculum fellow at Brooklyn College, and has taught courses in the Brooklyn College Department of Theatre. As an applied theatre organizer and teaching artist Joanna has worked with The New Group, New York Theatre Workshop, Stella Adler Inside/Outside and The Young Storytellers Foundation. She has developed and facilitated workshops for participants around the world in cities such as New York, London, and Johannesburg. Joanna served as the first Playmaking Director for the Project Exchange, an initiative she cocreated with The 52nd Street Project to brings arts programming to young people in transitional housing. Joanna’s work has been published in the Teaching Artist Journal, and her workshops and research have been presented at forums around the world. Joanna’s plays have been produced in the Hudson Valley, New York City and New Orleans. Her research interests include affect, autonomy, community, and performer / audience safety. BA, Bard College; MA, Goldsmiths College University of London; PhD Candidate, CUNY Graduate Center.

DRAM 320-01 Scenography, DRAM 200-51 Experimental theater,DRAM 204-51 Theater Technologies: Stage Lighting



Brandon Stirling Baker is an award-winning lighting designer working internationally in the areas of theatre, opera, and dance. His work can be seen on stages throughout the United States and abroad including Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Guggenheim Museum, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Australian Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Opera Philadelphia, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Miami City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Houston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Philadelphia Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Semperoper Dresden, Staatsballett Berlin, and many others. Baker is best known for his extensive collaborations with Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Justin Peck where they have collaborated on over 27 premieres world-wide since 2010. Baker’s recent collaborations include new works by Savion Glover, William Forsythe, Sufjan Stevens, Jamar Roberts, Michelle Dorrance, Pam Tanowitz, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Shepard Fairey, Daniel Buren, Eva LeWitt, Alonzo King, and Benjamin Millepied. Mr.Baker received the prestigious Knight of Illumination Award (KOI-USA) in 2019, Lotos Foundation Prize in 2016, and Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU Residency in 2018. Mr.Baker was appointed Lighting Director of Boston Ballet in 2018. Prior to joining the Adjunct faculty at Vassar College, Baker served as a guest lecturer for educational programs throughout the United States including Yale, Boston University, New York University, California Institute of the Arts, Fordham University, and Ramapo College. Mr.Baker received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts, trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Scotland and the Yale School of Drama as a Special Research Fellow.
The Fall Productions are open to the Vassar community based on availability. Reservations are available two weeks prior to opening date.
San San Kwan lecture, - The event will be part lecture, part workshop, and will give students the opportunity to work with SanSan on their feet. The event is based on her new book, called " Love Dances: Loss and Mourning in Intercultural Collaboration." This work explores intercultural duets between artists of different backgrounds, with particular attention to "East"-"West" collaborations. Revisits the area of interculturalism by looking at duet form draws on personal experience and analyzes emotion. SanSan Kwan is an Associate Professor and Department Chair of Theatre and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley.
Her full bio can be found here:
Sep 30, 2022, Friday, 4:30pm Kenyon - Studio 2 (limited seating - first come/first serve)

BADA info session, (British American Drama Academy) High quality, modern actor training with a foundation in British theatre traditions.
Presented by Eunice Roberts, working with Shakespeare sonnets during Sources class with Joanna Gurin. Will meet with students afterwards at 2:45pm - 3:15pm the 3rd floor lobby faculty lounge. 
Oct 3, 2022, Monday, 1:30pm VCDF, room 309 

Grant Miller '11 presentation, The Curiosity Paradox
Access Art describes the ways marginalized people and communities creatively grow resources, design accessibility, celebrate joy and resistance, out-maneuver supremacy culture, and dream worlds beyond the impossible. In the process of defining Access Art, we have placed it against what we refer to as Standard Access. By placing these two ideas side-by-side, the resistance between them further defines the other. This is a conversation starter to provoke discussion and learning.
Oct 4, 2022, Tuesday, 7:00pm, Martel Theater, VCDF (open to students)
LAMDA Shakespeare Masterclass (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art)
Presented by Rodney Cottier Head of Lamda Drama School
The lecture is free-of-charge, runs 2.5 hours, and is geared to all levels of experience. All are welcome, and the more who attend, the merrier. No special preparation is required, but if possible, participants should have a copy of Shakespeare’s complete works (any edition).
Oct 5, 2022, Wednesday, Streep Studio/VCDF room 110, 3:00pm-6:00pm (open to students)
Jonathan Michael Square is the Assistant Professor at Parsons School of Design. Dr. Square is also a fellow in the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was previously a lecturer in the Committee on Degree in History and Literature at Harvard University.
Oct 27, 2022, Jonathan Square Lecture, Taylor Hall, 6:00pm (open to all - first come/first serve)
(first come/first serve)

Louis Blachman '23 will present a reading
followed by an intimate reception





presented October 9, 2022 at 2:00pm
The Powerhouse Theater
limited seating for drama department and special guests
(One of two recipients of last year's Marilyn Swartz Seven' '69 playwriting award) 

PLAY DESCRIPTION: At Four Seasons Total Landscaping—you know the one—a certain lawyer has just held a certain press conference for a certain president. In the following weeks, after the media frenzy has finally died down, an outsider arrives. A play about liberal hypocrisy, the consequences of meme culture, the fathers we choose to trust, and the rot in the walls.

BIO: Louis is a director, writer, and theater-maker from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the founder of Independent Productions at Vassar College, for which he directed The Aliens by Annie Baker, and Will Arbery's plays Heroes of the Fourth Turning and Plano. He is currently studying directing at the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. He dedicates this play to Peter Gil-Sheridan's wonderful teaching and mentorship.


The 2022-2023 Marilyn Swartz Seven '69 Annual playwriting competition submissions are now being accepted 

A message from
Professor Shona Tucker

"I am having a scrumptious time on my sabbatical working as the understudy to the lead female in “Death of A Salesman” on Broadway at the Hudson Theater.

It is looking at this classic in a very different and exciting way.

 141 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
MEET THE DMC (Drama Majors Commitee)
More about the results of the elections for new members coming soon! 

Mission Statement

The Drama Majors Committee (DMC) serves as a resource and support system for all members of the Drama Department. Acting as a bridge between the student body and the faculty, the DMC facilitates communication throughout the department. The committee also strives to build community through programming for faculty, drama majors, and all students involved in drama courses

Keira DiGaetano '23
Emma Skinner '24
Erin Mee '24


(left to right: Sophia Fredericks '26, Tim Nguyen '23, Joan Gerardi, Ana Leon Urrutia '26, Vi To '23, Alejandra Robins '24)

Meet the Vassar Drama Box Office Staff

Drama Department Staff: Joan Gerardi,

Publicity/Box Office/House Management

Drama Box Office Student Assistants: Alejandra Robbins '24, Tim Nguyen '23, Sophia Fredericks '26

Drama Department Photographer: Ana Leon Urrutia '26

Vassar Drama Ticket Fund Coordinator: Vi To '23 
Hours: Mon, Wed, Friday 11:00am - 1:30pm

Box Office hours: Monday - Friday 10:00am - 4:00pm in person at the Powerhouse
Call: (845) 437-5599

Evert M. Sprinchorn , PhD
Professor Emeritus of Drama (1956–1994)

EVERT MANFRED SPRINCHORN 1923-2022 Evert Manfred Sprinchorn, distinguished Scandinavian scholar and Vassar College professor emeritus, died peacefully on August 4, 2022, at age 98 at his home in Poughkeepsie, NY. He was born on October 7, 1923, in Jamestown, in upstate New York, graduated from Jamestown High School in 1941 as class valedictorian and left for Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, studying to become an actuary. His studies were interrupted when he served for three years with the U. S. Army’s combat engineers in World War II, including eight months on the front lines north of Marseilles, France. Sprinchorn graduated from Drexel with honors in 1948 but soon left mathematics for the arts. He moved to Brooklyn, NY, and went to Columbia University on the GI Bill to study acting. His deep fascination with playwright August Strindberg, then little known in the United States, led him to learn Norwegian and leave the stage for the page. He entered Columbia’s doctoral program and wrote his dissertation on Scandinavian drama from 1900 to 1950. Subsequently, he translated numerous Strindberg plays, essays, and fictional works and published his influential Strindberg As Dramatist with Yale University Press in 1982. He soon developed an equally fervent interest in Ibsen’s work, which years later culminated in his massive critical biography Ibsen’s Kingdom: The Man and His Works, published by Yale University Press in 2020, when Sprinchorn was 96. He was hired by Vassar College’s drama department in 1956, largely because of his acting experience. At the time faculty performed with students in The Experimental Theater. When Evert played opposite the young Meryl Streep it was already evident to him that Streep had outgrown undergraduate acting. “Being on stage with her was like being blasted with heat from the audience. She was technically perfect, but an actress with such a depth of soul. She was an artist, not a student,” he recollected earlier this year. His brilliance, dry wit, and magnificent storytelling will be greatly missed by his former students, colleagues, long-time close friends and family. A celebration of his life will follow in the fall. 
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Vassar College · 124 Raymond Avenue · Box 734 · Poughkeepsie, Ny 12604 · USA

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