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

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 (Indoor Theatre, Outdoor Theatre, and Black Box Theatre). 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 Our Town, 1984, The Hot L Baltimore, Suburbia, and Boys in the Band.

For the last two years, we have also worked in tandem with the BC Choir and Orchestra programs to produce a summer musical. Similar to the Kern Shakespeare Festival, the summer musical offers the opportunity for Bakersfield College students to work with seasoned community actors, professors, and alumni. In 2017, we produced Into the Woods, followed by Parade in 2018.

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 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 Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Next year (Fall 2019) will mark the 35th annual Shakespeare Festival and will feature the plays Henry V and Twelfth Night. The festival includes a mix of experienced community actors and alumni alongside Bakersfield College students. The Kern Shakespeare Festival was founded by former Bakersfield College theatre professor Randy Messick.

This year (2018) marked the first time Bakersfield College has hosted the Peg Pauly High School Shakespeare Festival. Students from a dozen local high schools competed with ensemble scenes, duo scenes, trio scenes, and monologues and were adjudicated by Bakersfield College theatre professors and seasoned community actors. We look forward to hosting the 50th annual festival next October.


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