Recognized as one of the best in the region, Tatnall’s theater program encourages students to fully engage with new disciplines, cultures, and the world beyond the Tatnall campus as they enthusiastically bring stories to life.

At Tatnall, theatrical productions are about so much more than just receiving accolades from entertained audiences. Instead, the program pushes students to become comfortable in front of large audiences, explore new roles, and build a camaraderie with a production’s cast and crew. Theater spans all four divisions and helps emphasize collaboration, problem-solving and creative-thinking, giving each student, either on stage or behind-the-scenes, the chance to continue to develop and broaden their interest in the arts. 

Annual Productions

  • Early Childhood Play "The Wide Mouthed Frog"
  • Lower School "Greek Day"
  • 6th-Grade Play: View photos from "The Wizard of Oz" 
  • 8th-Grade Play: View photos from "Willy Wonka"
  • Playbill: View photos from Playbill 2016, "Bring It On: The Musical"
  • Showcase: View photos from Showcase 2017, "The Women of Lockerbie" 
  • Showcase 2018 - Flaming Idiots!
  • Drama Club Production


For over 50 years, Showcase, Tatnall’s advanced theater class, has produced challenging and engaging shows while providing intensive training to more than one thousand students in all aspects of production. Known in the Wilmington community for its high-quality and demanding curriculum, Showcase has long embodied the belief that theater has the ability to transform, educate, entertain, and enlighten.

A cornerstone of the arts program, Showcase is the only theatrical experience at Tatnall that carries full academic credit as an upper-level elective. Each year, Bruce Chipman, Ph.D., Showcase Director for 47 years, and Rick Neidig, Technical Director for more than 35 years, select the student company and play, before guiding students in learning several theatrical skills, including acting, set design and construction, technical matters and publicity.

Showcase isn’t just about putting on a play each year. Instead, it’s about creating an ephemeral collaborative community full of learners and problem-solvers, and pushing toward a team goal. 

Showcase 2020---PLAY ON! is a contemporary farce which takes place entirely on the stage of a very mediocre community theater. This is the hilarious story of a theatre group trying desperately to put on a play in spite of maddening interference from a haughty author who keeps revising the script. Act I is a rehearsal of the dreadful show, Act II is the near disastrous dress rehearsal, and the final act is the actual performance, in which anything that can go wrong, does. When the author decides to give a speech on the state of the modern theatre during the curtain calls, the audience is treated to a madcap climax and a thoroughly hilarious romp. Even the sound effects and costumes reap their share of laughter.

Laird Performing Arts Center

Acknowledged as one of the finest performance venues of its size in the region, the Laird Performing Arts Center (PAC) opened in September of 2007. The building is named in honor of William Winder "Chick" Laird, one of the school's leading benefactors. The building includes the 471-seat Marvin Theater, whose name honors David and Nancy Marvin, former parents and current Tatnall grandparents. 

The 23,000 square foot PAC includes a 40-foot proscenium with a 38-foot deep stage (from the curtain), dressing rooms, full scene shop, multipurpose room and the following technical capabilities:
  • 288 dimmers
  • 236 light fixture inventory
  • 54 front of house lighting positions
  • 120 onstage overhead electric positions
  • 64 stage level electric positions
  • Clear-com communication to all technical positions, dressing rooms, shop and multipurpose room
  • separate light, sound and follow spot booths
  • full-fly capabilities
  • acoustically designed wall configuration
  • state-of-the-art sound system with 10channels of wireless microphones
  • video projection capabilities with computer and video interface
"During my 47 years as director, Showcase has fulfilled the mission of educating, entertaining, and enlightening. As an audition-only collaborative and theatrical community, Showcase demands a great deal from each member. Enthusiasm and student 'ownership' are the trademarks of our theatrical company, which seeks to challenge students and the large school community with plays not usually produced at the high school level." 

- Bruce Chipman, Ph.D., Upper School English Department Chair Emeritus and Showcase Director