In 1937, Rev. Gilbert V. Hartke (1907-1986), a Dominican priest, founded the University's Speech and Drama Department. He brought in professional actors, directors, and playwrights to train and inspire students. The Department’s reputation grew, as did interest in their productions. Leaving behind a rich legacy, Hartke retired as department head in 1974.

Today, the Department of Drama, part of the newly established Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art, continues to train students for successful careers in the theater.  Four or five productions each year draw audiences from around the metro-DC region and garner critical acclaim.

This exhibit highlights the work of the Costume Shop, an integral component of both the Department’s teaching and performance programs.  The Costume Shop staff, under the direction of its designers, Gail Stewart Beach (Associate Professor) and Julie Cray-Leong (Costume Shop Manager), has outfitted most of the Department’s plays.  Equally important, the Shop has served as a training ground for student workers who learn the ins-and-outs of clothing construction and fit as they execute the designs created by Beach and Cray-Leong.

This exhibit was coordinated with the Drama Department and we thank them for this fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into their web of creativity and activity.