The College of Arts and Letters establishes professional resident theater company

Theater students have a chance to gain real-world experience with the College of Arts and Letters’ resident theater company, Theatre Lab.


Artistic Director Louis Tyrrell, Company Manager Lauren Palmieri and Associate Artistic Director Matt Stabile of Theatre Lab. Mohammed F. Emran | Asst. Creative Director

Emily Creighton, Features Editor

Students are now able to get a taste of the professional stage on campus with Theatre Lab – FAU’s new professional resident theater company.

Headed by Louis Tyrrell, the artistic director and Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Arts , Theatre Lab will offer students interested in entering the world of professional theater and related arts a foundation to learn about their craft, as well as introduce the South Florida community to modern productions of American theater.

As a “cultural laboratory for learning, growing and expanding the horizons of knowledge,” according to Desmond Gallant, the chair of the department of theatre and dance who will serve as the producing director, this endeavor will bring in professionals to not only perform, but give students the opportunity to network and work side-by-side with them.

“We have a tremendous talent pool of theater professionals here in South Florida,” Tyrrell said. “We’ll bring them onto campus, and they’ll have the chance to interact with students who want to become them when they grow up.”

Among the professionals the program will bring in is American playwright, director and actor Israel Horovitz. Horovitz will read three of his short plays regarding politics in one of the program’s masterclasses. Theatre Lab will continue to host masterclasses and discussions with playwrights with the end goal of creating a playwriting program at FAU.

Other productions this season will include musicals as well as script-in-hand readings covering a variety of topics, ranging from women’s issues to the sciences. With these varying themes, Theatre Lab hopes to engage both the students and faculty of other colleges at FAU.

“If we do plays that touch on a spectrum of issues that touch on the curriculum on all of the 10 colleges in the university system, it’s an opportunity not only to enhance those curriculums, but bring the braintrust of faculty and students together to communicate on a vibrant and illuminating basis,” Tyrrell said.

Photo by Mohammed F. Emran
Photo by Mohammed F. Emran | Asst. Creative Director

Theatre Lab will also continue the “Young Artists & Writers Program,” an education outreach program for middle and high schoolers that began in August, to use “theater as a catalyst to discover a child’s personal voice through creative writing and performance,” as stated in the group’s press release.

This venture is sponsored by the Heckscher Foundation for Children and will be led by Theatre Lab’s Associate Artistic Director, Matt Stabile.

With a first-year budget of $500,000 funded by the FAU Foundation, Theatre Lab will run as a non-profit organization. Until a spot for a black box theater can be identified, it will work out of a designated area fitted with 150 seats on the ground level of the Boca Raton campus’s Parliament Hall.

Tyrrell hopes to attract an array of creative minds as the company comes to fruition, saying, “If you want to be entertained, if you want to think out of the box, if you want to hear brand new work in American theater – be a part of an artform that will offer edgy, contemporary, hip theater experiences that are otherwise unavailable in the area – come and be a part of Theatre Lab.”

Theatre Lab will host its first event on Oct. 17 and the season will run until mid-November.

Emily Creighton is the features editor for the University Press. If you would like to contact her regarding this article or others, email her at [email protected].