Francis Marion University Theatre – Current Season

The Fine Arts Department’s co-curricular production company, The University Theatre, offers three major productions each year and as many as 12 student directed experimental theatre productions. Each year more than 150 students from across the campus participate in The University Theatre’s productions. The productions act as the laboratory for the theatre majors and minors while serving the entire campus and community. Student actors and technicians learn to sustain high standards of performance through exposure to a large and demanding audience.
(Click here for University Theatre Complete Production History)

Fall Production

Next to Normal by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt

Francis Marion University Theatre
Director: Prof. A. Glen Gourley
Choral Director: Dr. Fran Coleman
Conductor: Dr. Terry Roberts
Fine Arts Theatre, Hyman Fine Arts Center
7:30 pm, October 26-28, 2023

Next to Normal is the story of Diana Goodman and her family. Traumatized by the death of her infant son from an undiagnosed intestinal obstruction, Diana has lived with bipolar depressive disorder and delusional episodes for the past seventeen years. The illness has affected everyone in her life and has nearly torn her family apart on several occasions. With subject matter rendered achingly recognizable by Brian Yorkey, and a dynamic, energetic pop-rock score by Tom Kitt, Next to Normal is a show that enables a small group of actors to showcase powerhouse vocals while exploring pressing contemporary issues of trauma, loss, mental health treatment, and the meaning of family.

RESERVATIONS: This performance is free and open to the public. No reservations, general admission.

Trigger Warnings: This show contains foul language and themes of death, grief, drug use, sex, mental health, electroshock therapy, neglect, emotional abuse, and suicide. Due to these themes and situations, this show is not recommended for audiences under 17.

Winter Production

No Winter Production for 2023-2024


Spring Production

The Sweet Abyss by Jon Tuttle

Francis Marion University Theatre
Director: Dr. L. Dawn Larsen
Fine Arts Theatre, Hyman Fine Arts Center
7:30 pm, April 11-13, 2024

With “The Sweet Abyss,” audiences are introduced to Cass, a woman who is dealing with an overprotective boyfriend, health issues and her defiant daughter, Dori, according to the theater’s press release on the play. Cass gets the solace and companionship she needs from her cat. But when her cat becomes ill, she is overcome by grief and must find her way to comfort again. What follows is Cass’ personal journey and rebirth as she leaves her home and spends time with a unique psychiatrist and even a blind ‘communicator’ who claims to be able to look through Cass’ cat’s eyes in the afterlife.

“The play is built as a journey through grief,” Tuttle said. “It’s really about facing mortality and recovering from grief, but it’s not a total downer. I don’t know why, but I can’t seem to not write comedy. So yes, there are plenty of laughs to be had.”

Dr. Jon Tuttle is Director of FMU’s Honors Program, a Board of Trustee’s Research Scholar, and a specialist in Modern and American Drama, Playwriting and the literature of the Vietnam War. His own plays, which include The Hammerstone, Drift, Holy Ghost, The Sweet Abyss, The Palace of the Moorish Kings, and Boy About Ten, have been produced at Trustus Theatre (where he is Playwright-in-Residence) and at theaters across the country. His plays also have been published individually and in the collections The Trustus Plays and Two South Carolina Plays.

RESERVATIONS: This performance is free and open to the public. No reservations, general admission.

Past Productions

Click here to view The University Theatre’s production history.