Students’ faces lit up in excitement when they entered the new Sullivan Studio Theatre for the first time, and Theatre Department Chair Marilyn Plotkins witnessed their enthusiasm from a front-row seat.

“It was a moment to appreciate how lucky we all are with our new home,” she said.

The state-of-the-art Sullivan Studio Theatre serves as the Theatre Department’s primary classroom, rehearsal, and performance space for plays directed and written by students.

The 50-seat venue on the Sawyer Building’s 11th floor is named in honor of the late Quinlan J. Sullivan, Jr., a Suffolk alumnus and generous contributor to the Theatre Department.


“I was in awe when I walked into the studio for the first time,” said senior Linnea Donnelly, whose talents include writing and directing. “I’m definitely looking forward to working in there, because everything is so new and easily accessible, and it will accommodate everyone.”

“It’s nice to come into a space that has all the resources you need to get your work done,” said senior Andrew Bourque, an actor, playwright, and director majoring in theater. “Today, theater arts is becoming more appealing to students because they are learning that it’s not only fun, but it teaches you important qualities like patience, collaboration, and working well under pressure.”

A growing theater program

The timing of the new studio theater’s opening is perfect, according to Plotkins, who has built a vibrant Theatre Department out of a one-person program during more than three decades at the University.

“This is a major boost in our program,” she said. “We have more freshman theater majors this year than in the past five years. We’re hoping that this new space will be a magnet for all of our current and future students.”

The Sullivan Studio Theatre will be busy throughout the academic year with six showcases, six spotlights, and two senior honors productions. The showcase plays feature student writers, directors, designers, stage managers, and actors. The Spotlight productions enable students to independently conceive, create, and share works-in-progress with others.

“This studio will be an excellent laboratory for students to prepare themselves in a professional setting,” said Jim Kaufman, managing director of the Theatre Department. “We feel it’s one of the best studio theaters in the city of Boston.”

Upcoming performances

Fall Showcase

October 6-9
Festival of student-written and directed one-act plays:

  • Salem – A chilling wind hurtles through a puritanical town bringing with it mischief, mayhem and magic. What could go wrong?
  • Déjà Vu – At a time of war, friends gather together one last time – before opening letters from the draft board.
  • queer – Adam and Steve and other LGBTQ voices that refuse to be silenced.

Spotlight Series

A yearlong series of new student work in development.

September 23: Just Alright – What will it take for Murphy to move beyond “just alright?”
October 14: 45 Reasons – Higher Ed Surprise! Stumbling through the unknown unknowns about making it in college
November 4: Sperm Soap on a Rope – A Yankee swap gone wrong, very awesomely wrong.

Detailed schedule