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Lectures and Performances

The performing arts at Transylvania

The Transylvania theater department produces two to three stage productions each year — in addition to Theater Guild and senior seminar productions. Check the theater calendar for a schedule of upcoming shows.

Vocal and instrumental groups give a wide variety of performances throughout the year, ranging from intimate chamber recitals to large-scale concerts. Check out the music calendar for more information.


Performances are typically held in one of the three venues listed below.

  • Haggin Auditorium, a proscenium-style theater, is the main stage of the Mitchell Fine Arts Center. It seats 1,050 and hosts the largest events, such as Kenan lectures and public forums.
  • Carrick Theater, also in the Mitchell Fine Arts Center, is a 250-seat thrust stage.
  • Lucille C. Little Theater, a studio theater that seats 250, is located next door to the Mitchell Fine Arts Center. The Little Theater is a flexible, black-box space that can easily reconfigure into a variety of stage layouts.

Lectures open to the public

Scholarly lectures provide a forum for the campus community and citizens of central Kentucky to consider current topics of interest and importance.

  • William R. Kenan Jr. Lecture Series — Funded by a grant from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, the Kenan Lecture Series brings top speakers and well-known experts to Transylvania. Speakers have included Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, authors Kurt Vonnegut and Joyce Carol Oates, historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Shelby Foote, arts advocate Beverly Sills, former president of Ireland and U.S. commissioner for human rights Mary Robinson, and actress Mary McDonnell. See our calendar for upcoming Kenan lectures.
  • Creative Intelligence Series — Transylvania’s Creative Intelligence Lecture Series celebrates the activities of people working at the leading edge of their fields. The name of the series comes from the notion that intelligence takes a variety of formats and that creativity can be found in the word of artists, scholars, community activists, and others who look at the world in fresh ways. See our calendar for upcoming Creative Intelligence lectures.
  • John Marshall Harlan Lecture Series — Established in 2011, the John Marshall Harlan Lecture Series is named for the associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court (1877-1911) and 1853 graduate of Transylvania’s law department. The first year’s lecturers are William Wiecek, legal and constitutional historian and professor of public law and legislation at Syracuse University, and Akhil Reed Amar, professor of law and political science at Yale University. See our calendar for upcoming Harlan lectures.
  • The Ernest Woodruff and Susan Mitchell Delcamp Visiting Writers and Artists Series — Each year, Transylvania’s Music and English programs bring distinguished writers and performers to campus for workshops with students and public presentations. Read more about the endowment and distinguished participants.

Many other talks and lectures are open to the public throughout the year and may be viewed on the Transylvania calendar.

Henry Clay Tribute Speakers of the House pay tribute to Henry Clay
The Role of the Speaker of the House: A Tribute to Henry Clay – This event on June 24, 2011 brought together Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner and former Speakers Nancy Pelosi and Dennis Hastert in a moderated discussion on the history and natures of the Speaker position. John Harwood of CNBC moderated the discussion that attracted a capacity audience to Transylvania’s Haggin Auditorium. The entire program was broadcast on C-SPAN.

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