Bakersfield College

Actors on stage

Theatre Arts


The Bakersfield College Theatre Program offers an Associate of Arts for Transfer (AA-T) degree in Theatre Arts, with classes in:

  • Theatre Studies
  • Acting
  • Stagecraft
  • Costume Design
  • Shakespeare
  • Technical Theatre
  • Film Studies
  • Script Analysis

The program currently serves more than 100 students pursuing a degree in Theatre.

Each year, we produce six full-fledged theatrical productions in our three performance spaces. The first two plays run in repertory during our annual Kern Shakespeare Festival, followed by a more contemporary play at the end of the fall semester. In the spring semester, we mount two additional productions. Recent plays include The House of Bernarda Alba, The Wolves, Our Town, 1984, The Hot L Baltimore, Suburbia, and Boys in the Band.

Every summer, we also work in tandem with the BC Choirs and Instrumental Music programs to produce a summer musical. The summer musical offers the rare opportunity for Bakersfield College students to perform alongside a live pit orchestra, in addition to learning from seasoned community actors, professors, and alumni. Recent musicals include Into the Woods, Parade, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Seussical.

All productions include open auditions for any student able to enroll in the Theatre Acting Lab (B27). Students do not have to be theatre majors in order to audition for a play.

Under the mentorship of our Technical Director, Kevin Ganger, we also offer a wide range of opportunities for technical theatre, including training in sound, lighting, scenic design and construction, prop design and construction, and run of show.

For more information about the program, please contact Professor Kim Chin at or Professor Brian Sivesind at

Kern Shakespeare Festival

The Bakersfield College Theatre Program produces the Kern Shakespeare Festival, a regional tradition every fall, usually comprised of two plays by William Shakespeare. The plays are performed in repertory, with many actors appearing in both plays. Recent productions include A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead.

2022 marks the 38th annual Kern Shakespeare Festival and will feature the plays Romeo and Juliet and Love’s Labour’s Lost. The festival includes a mix of experienced community actors and alumni alongside Bakersfield College students. The Kern Shakespeare Festival was founded in 1985 by former Bakersfield College theatre professor Randy Messick.

Bakersfield College also hosts the annual Peg Pauly High School Shakespeare Festival, another longstanding local tradition previously hosted by Foothill High School. Each year in the Fall, students from high schools compete with ensemble scenes, duo scenes, trio scenes, and monologues adjudicated by Bakersfield College theatre professors and seasoned community actors. Created in 1969 as the Foothill Shakespeare Festival by drama teacher Peg Pauly, the annual display of local talent was renamed in 2017 and then moved to BC the following year. 2022 will mark the 53rd anniversary of the festival.

For more information, please contact Brian Sivesind, Artistic Director of the Kern Shakespeare Festival, via email (link above).