Our History

Our Mission: The purpose of this organization shall be to present theatrical entertainment and to provide the students of The Pennsylvania State University with educational experience in all phases of dramatic production; and in doing, hereby enhance the cultural diversity of its members and the University.

Check out our club constitution here


The Penn State Thespians was founded by Fred Lewis Pattee and John H. Leete in 1897. Now in its 120th anniversary season, Thespians is considered the oldest continuously running student organization at Penn State. Many of its alumni have gone to enjoy successful careers in the theatre community, including actor and dancer Gene Kelly, screenwriter Julius Epstein, actor Edward Binns, and director Mary Lou Belli

At its start, Thespians was an all-male club. During World War I, women began performing because the war draft left the club without some of its male talent. It was not until 1953, when women were allowed membership.